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Former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughters honored in L.A.

Former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughters are honored at annual spring Colleagues' benefit luncheon

The event: Former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughters, Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, were the honorees at philanthropic group the Colleagues' annual spring luncheon on Tuesday. Highlighted by informal modeling of jewels by Van Cleef & Arpels and a runway show of the Oscar de la Renta fall collection by designer Peter Copping, the affair at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel benefited the Children’s Institute Inc. in its efforts to end child abuse and neglect.

The designer: At a reception before the official ceremonies, Copping said he felt proud to be presenting his fashions to the group. “Oscar had a very strong relationship with the Colleagues, and it’s very important for me to continue this tradition,” he said.

As for following in the footsteps of the legendary De la Renta, who died in October after selecting his replacement, “I’m very excited,” Copping said. “I know it was Oscar who chose me, so I think I can take a sense of security in that and just do my best work.”

As to the future, he said: “The fashion world is constantly changing and so no brand can stand still. All things must evolve, but at the same time, not in a major way.”

Already, Sienna Miller of “American Sniper” has worn one of Copping’s De la Renta designs to the Oscars and Copping is now readying gowns for the star-studded Met Gala, scheduled Monday in New York, although he said he couldn’t reveal the identity of his clients. The annual event benefits the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

The ceremonies: Following introductions by actress Angie Harmon and Colleagues President Travis Kranz, actress Patricia Heaton of "The Middle" and “Everybody Loves Raymond” took over the podium to praise the former first lady and her daughters for championing children, literacy, education, women’s rights, health initiatives and other causes in this country and around the world.

“These three diverse and dedicated women truly represent the ‘better angels’ spoken of by our first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln,” Heaton said.

In accepting the award, Laura Bush said, “I stand for people in challenging circumstances all over the world, in countries like Afghanistan and throughout the continent of Africa, but the needs of young people are not just a problem over there. Right here in our own communities there are children who lack even the very basics of food, shelter, love and safety. Helping these children is one of the greatest challenges of our time.”

She enumerated the many problems today’s young people face and thanked the women in the room for their work on behalf of vulnerable children in Los Angeles. On a lighter note, she thanked the group “for inviting Barbara and Jenna and me to join you in honoring one of America’s great designers and a dear friend of ours, Oscar de la Renta,” finally adding, “and special thanks to all the Colleagues for giving me the excuse to buy a new Oscar de la Renta.”

The committee: Headed up by Honorary Chair Nancy Reagan (who wasn't present), “luncheon angel” Carolyn Powers and Executive Chair Anne Johnson, the committee also included Jane Ackerman, Topsy Doheny, Jenny Jones, Suzanne Kayne, Bridget Gless Keller, Lauren King, Debbie Lanni, Mary Martin, Mary Milner, Wendy Stark Morrissey, Maty Novia, Marna Schnabel, Stephanie Booth Shafran, Ginny Sydorick, Barbera Thornhill and Chardee Trainer.

The numbers: Tickets for the 800 guests ranged from $175 each to $10,000 for tables of 10. Proceeds, which included a live auction and additional contributions, have not yet been tallied.

For the latest in party news, follow Ellen Olivier @SocietyNewsLA on Twitter.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
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