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Art of Fashion 2014: a breathtaking affair

RANCHO SANTA FE — Quite frankly, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week would have been impressed with the Art of Fashion Runway Show on Sept. 18 hosted by The Country Friends. The nonprofit, celebrating its 60th Diamond Anniversary put on a seamless event, punctuated with panache.

Once again, the outdoor picturesque venue was held at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe.

Leading the affair was Mistress of Ceremonies, Sandra Mass, news anchor of KUSI Television.

Prior to the runway show, champagne was abundant as well as the boutique shopping from vendors including Barbara Bui, Donna Karan, Jo Malone, Lanvin, MaxMara, Salvatore Ferragamo, TOD’s, and Versace.

The vendors generously gifted 10 percent of their proceeds for the day to The Country Friends.

While guests took their seats for the runway show, Mass welcomed the crowd.

“We are proud to partner with South Coast Plaza for the 10th year in a row,” she said, adding how it’s an international shopping destination.

Mass went on to recognize and thank The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe for their hospitality and involvement for so many years.

Mass then introduced The Country Friends president, Rhonda Tyron.

Tyron called it a special year filled with philanthropy and fashion for the last six decades while, “helping San Diegans one hand at a time.”  Tyron referred to the event program, asking guests to view the honor list of all the past presidents who served on The Country Friends.

“This 60th anniversary is to honor the women who came before me,” Tyron said.

It was also a moment to pay tribute those women who have passed.

Following Tyron’s speech, she introduced the Chair of the 2014 Art of Fashion event, Andrea Naversen.  She thanked everyone for their involvement with The Country Friends, highlighting how their grants enable them to help more than 30 nonprofit organizations in San Diego County.

She went on to recognize their sponsors, donors, and underwriters.

Naversen also thanked her diligent Art of Fashion committee.

“I’m forever grateful to their selflessness and service,” she said.  “Donna (Ahlstrom) has been my right hand.”

Once the music blared, the runway fashion show began. Attendees saw models wearing fall and winter designer trends including Barbara Bui, Canali, Donna Karan, Faconnable, MaxMara, M Missoni, Oscar de la Renta, Saks Fifth Avenue, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Versace.

Each designer created a unique, stylish synergy. Also sweeping the runway were luxurious gowns.

At the end of the fashion show, an “All Designer Finale” gave the audience the opportunity for one last glimpse of signature styles at the fashion forefront.

Following a savory luncheon on the lawn, prepared by executive chef, Todd Allison, the Après Affaire of fine wines, spirits, cheeses and desserts came next.

Taking part in the Après Affaire was B Cellars, Falkner Winery, Gen7 Wines, The Gingered Pear, Lemon Twist, MIRROR Napa Valley, La Reine des Macarons, Specialty Produce, and Yummy Cupcakes.

The all-day affair was memorable, reminding those in attendance that their presence was helping The Country Friends support their mission toward human care agencies.