By Ellen Olivier
Special to the Los Angeles Times
September 12, 2010
Actress Eva Mendes, clad in lavender Dior, lingered after the ribbon-snipping ceremony at the newly renovated Christian Dior boutique in South Coast Plaza, chatting with guests at the cocktail reception Sept. 1 about, among other things, her admiration for Dior designer John Galliano.
"It's the age of stylists, when nobody wants to take risks," Mendes said. "Galliano is out of the box. The difficulty for me is narrowing down the selections to choose what I want to wear."
Top company executives traveled from Paris and New York for the store-opening celebration and included Sidney Toledano, president and chief executive of Christian Dior Couture; and Pamela Baxter, president of Christian Dior Inc. They welcomed more than 150 party-goers who came to show their support for the Dream Guild of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which received a portion of sales related to the opening.
After admiring the treasures in the newly expanded jewelry salon, Elizabeth Segerstrom modeled a $400,000 diamond ring that she borrowed from a display case. Her husband, Henry, is the shopping center's managing partner.
Dior officials said they couldn't yet say how much was made for the charity, but because many guests started shopping in the days prior, while Dior remained in its temporary space, and would continue to do so after the party, store manager Lynn Yeager said, "It will be a good number."
Toni Berlinger and Jennifer Condas served as event co-chairs, with guests also including Mary Allen, Pamela Lowry, Donna Longo, Suzan Paek, Elyse Roberts and Tracey McCarter, Sharon Henwood and Susan and Bob Ehrlich.
'Bran Nue Dae'
The Australian film community gathered Tuesday for a screening of "Bran Nue Dae" at the Harmony Gold theater in Los Angeles, followed by a question-and-answer session and cocktail reception. Based on a classic Australian musical about a young Aboriginal man, the film attracted 350 people, who remained to hear director Rachel Perkins and producer Robyn Kershaw discuss the production. Academy Award-winning cinematographer Dion Beebe acted as moderator.
With word of the screening traveling through L.A.'s Australian community, filmmaker Samantha Martin turned up, as she happened to be passing through California. An Aboriginal Australian woman, Martin said she grew up with the play and enjoys the humor. "It celebrates life," she said. "We are coming through life an amazing, talented people, and we are being recognized for that."
The deputy consul general of Australia, Graeme Fay, estimated that up to 40,000 Australians live in greater Los Angeles, with a disproportionate representation in the film industry. "I've heard this place referred to as Ozzie Wood," he said.
Australians in Film presented the event, just days before the film was to open in theaters in the U.S. The group promotes Australians in the film industry and also awards scholarships, named for late film star Heath Ledger, to young Australian actors. "We welcome new members, said Susie Dobson, chairman of AIF's board, "and you don't have to be Australian."
In the crowd were Michael Butler, Martin's filmmaking partner; Robert Penfold, Australian television's news correspondent for the Americas; and Angela Wales Kirgo, executive director of the Writer's Guild Foundation.
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