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George Kotsiopoulos, Elizabeth Stewart co-host annual bag lunch

Fundraiser for P.S. Arts provides money for arts education

The event: The 11th annual P.S. Arts Bag Lunch offered a casual meal and more than 200 designer bags for sale in a silent auction, raising funds to provide arts education in underserved public schools and communities.

The scene: Co-host George Kotsiopoulos of TV’s “Fashion Police” called the event “something of a frenzy” as women packed Janet Crown and Steve Robinson’s art-filled home in Los Angeles. A sea of clutches, pouches, carryalls, evening purses, shoulder totes and virtually every other style of handbag blanketed the tables, sofas, stairs and other furnishings from the den to the dining room, entry hall and living room.

For those who asked his advice, Kotsiopoulos recommended “anything that makes a statement,” naming prints, fringes and metallics among today’s trends.

“There are a lot of beautiful skins this year,” noted co-host Elizabeth Stewart, who pointed out a multi-colored Alexander McQueen number, the auction’s most expensive item with a $6,480 retail value. One of today’s best-known fashion stylists, Stewart has a client list that includes Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Jessica Chastain, Julia Roberts and Amanda Seyfried.

The crowd: Amanda Righetti of “The Mentalist” said she brings home a bag from the event every year, sometimes taking advantage of the “buy it now” option and other years bidding on her favorites, as she did for one of the larger handbags at the lunch-and-shopping-spree on Thursday.

Among other attendees were actors Jenna Elfman of “Dharma & Greg,” Lori Loughlin of “Full House,” Naomi Scott of “Lemonade Mouth” and Judith Godreche of “The Man in the Iron Mask”; top Hollywood stylists Cristina Ehrlich and Jen Rade; designers Trina Turk, Magda Berliner and Amber Sakai; and P.S. Arts supporters Pam Bergman, Maria Bell, Alexandra Von Furstenberg, Susan Campos, Kimberly Brooks, Julia Sorkin, Marilyn Heston, Liane Weintraub, Susie Krevoy, Dani Lancer, Blair Lancer, Sutton Stracke, NJ Goldston, Sally Perrin, Kathy Taslitz, Christine Weller and Christine Chiu.

The numbers: With 300 guests paying $275 per ticket, plus auction proceeds, the afternoon brought in more than $150,000, raising the total to more than $1.5 million in the 11 years since Kotsiopoulos and Stewart co-founded the event.

Quote of note: “For bags, that’s good and for two hours, it’s great,” said Kotsiopoulos of the day’s expected results, before adding, “It’s sad that a whole generation of children is growing up without an arts education. Music, theater and all kinds of arts open the mind. In an arts class, you can do no wrong and it’s important for a child to have that.”

Ellen Olivier is founder of Society News LA

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