The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe was the place to be for The Country Friends’ 63rd annual Art of Fashion Runway Show on Sept. 20 in partnership with South Coast Plaza. More than 400 guests took part in the day, beginning with a Moët & Chandon Champagne reception paired with hors d’oeuvres by the French Gourmet.
Before the runway show, guests perused the opportunity drawing items. Shopping boutiques also donated a percentage of their sales to the 50 San Diego-based charities which The Country Friends supports.
Following the reception, event emcees Catherine Garcia, and Mark Mullen of NBC 7 San Diego, welcomed guests at the fashion show and introduced the president of The Country Friends, Deborah Cross.
“The Country Friends mission is helping San Diegans since 1954 one hand at a time,” she said. “Over the years, we raised nearly 14 million dollars for San Diego-based charities, and we have a special emphasis on charities that focus on women, children, the elderly, the military, and those with disabilities.”
Cross went on to say that for the 50 nonprofits the organization is funding this year, those who were in attendance for the Art of Fashion, enabled The Country Friends to help these nonprofits even more. She also noted how the Art of Fashion is its primary fundraiser.
Cross then introduced the Art of Fashion co-chairs Tamara Lafarga-Joseph and Sarah Sleeper.
Lafarga-Joseph thanked everyone who made it possible for The Country Friends to support the dozens of nonprofits.
“We would like to extend our gratitude to South Coast Plaza, our incredible major sponsors, the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe for hosting us again and again, to all our sponsors, donors, patrons, committee members, and all of you here today,” Lafarga-Joseph said.
She pointed out how it had indeed been a pleasure and honor to work with the Art of Fashion Committee.
“What a competent, kindhearted and dedicated group of women,” she said.
Sleeper thanked Cross for placing her trust in both she and Lafarga-Joseph. Sleeper added how she loved every minute in planning for the Art of Fashion day.
“I wanted to give a special thanks to South Coast Plaza and The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, who worked so seamlessly to make today perfect,” Sleeper said. “And a big thank you to Aimee Fuller Hats designer extraordinaire who created the beautiful centerpieces you will see at the luncheon.”
More than 45 designer hats were available for purchase with proceeds going to The Country Friends.
Also taking the stage and saying a few words was Honorary Chair Maggie Bobileff, who also served as The Art of Fashion co-chair in 2017 along with her close friend Denise Hug. Bobileff had a long career in fashion, she said, adding she was fortunate to have met with famous designers over the years.
Bobileff described how being Honorary Chair for 2018 was a tribute that touched her heart. She also shared her battle with cancer during the last year.
“Frankly, and I don’t know if I would be here without all the support of my friends and family. Doctors are calling me now Miracle Maggie,” she said. “With modern medicine and thanks to the continued support of family, friends and the grace of the Lord, I plan to be here for many years to come.”
Bobileff shared that when going through a crisis in life, she was able to see life so much clearer.
“You see what is really important,” she said. “To me, that it is helping others and giving back to the community like The Country Friends has been doing for more than 60 years. I have been proud to be part of the organization of dedicated women for the past decade, as a member of the board of directors and Art of Fashion Committee.”
After a wave of applause for Bobileff, the runway show began featuring the collections of Max Mara, The Webster, Weekend Max Mara, Salvatore Ferragamo, Stella McCartney, Versace, Escada, Bally, Saks Fifth Avenue, Ralph Lauren, M. Missoni, Roberto Cavalli and Oscar de la Renta.
Following the Luncheon on the Lawn, guests continued to shop at the many boutiques who gave a percentage back to The Country Friends.