Fashion & friends: Clothing, friends and philanthropy at benefit show

RANCHO SANTA FE — The weather was hot, but the outfits on the runway were hotter when The Country Friends once again fused philanthropy and fashion for the 2009 Art of Fashion fundraiser Sept. 24 at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe.
The 54th annual event will benefit Voices for Children, a nonprofit agency that promotes the rights of foster children in the courtroom, school and community through the use of court-appointed special advocates.
These trained staff members and volunteers support youngsters who are dependents of the county’s juvenile court.
For the fifth consecutive year, South Coast Plaza sponsored the fashion show, which featured designers such as Donna Karan, Emilio Pucci, Marni and Michael Kors. For the first time, men’s fashions were included in the runway show.
KUSI’s Sandra Maas served as the mistress of ceremonies for the event, which is considered one of the largest outdoor fashion shows in the country. The day began with luncheon on the lawn, was followed by the fashion show and concluded with an “après affaire” wine tasting and boutique shopping featuring clothing and accessories from participating designers.
The Country Friends was founded in 1954 by a group of Rancho Santa Fe women whose mission is to “help people to help themselves.” The group raises funds for human care agencies that help women, children and the elderly in San Diego County. Last year’s beneficiary was The Burn Institute. As part of its fundraising efforts, The County Friends also runs a consignment shop in Rancho Santa Fe.

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