FASHION: FALL ISSUE : Fashion Plates for Social Causes

Everyone knows when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. But what about their other solaces? What about those fashion-show luncheons, boutique openings, perfume launches and fabulous charity galas?

The following list of events is designed to keep the tough, and others, on a fashion high from now until the Christmas crunch.

SEPT. 12: Christian Dior's first boutique in the United States opens officially--and very privately--tonight at Two Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

SEPT 13: Los Angeles designer Michael Novarese shows his fall collection at a luncheon-benefit for the Julia Ann Singer Center (for exceptional children). Novarese, who counts Princess Marcella Borghese and Estee Lauder among his ritzy clientele, says his latest collection includes plenty of purple and "possibly the best beading" he's ever done. Noon at the Beverly Hilton. Cost is $65 a ticket. For more information: (213)202-0669.

SEPT. 15-18: At Sotheby's Gallery in Beverly Hills, a sneak preview of jewelry from the estates of "prominent Hollywood women," including Ann (Mrs. Jack L.) Warner and Paulette Goddard. The gems go on sale in New York, Oct. 24-25. For more information: (213) 274-0340.

SEPT. 18: "The Center . . . of Fashion" benefits the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Guest designer is Bill Travilla, forever famous for Marilyn Monroe's airborne dress in "The Seven Year Itch." The show in Segerstrom Hall features fall designs from 22 stores, including newly opened Chanel boutique. Champagne reception at 1:30 p.m. Tickets $10 to $75. For more information: (714) 556-ARTS.

SEPT. 22: "Come As Your Favorite Alien," a costume party benefit at Los Angeles Children's Museum, costs $200 a person, which should answer the question, "Is this something for the kids?" For more information: (213) 687-8226.

SEPT. 24: LOOKWEST91, organized by Fashion Group International of Los Angeles, honors L.A.'s leaders in fashion, beauty, fine arts, architecture, advertising, graphic design, culinary arts, fashion photography and entertainment. Festivities start at 6:30 p.m. at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising with cocktails and food-tasting. Guests will move across the street to Embassy Theatre for a multimedia awards presentation and fashion show. We're told it will be "fast-paced with no speeches." Tickets $75. For more information: (818) 762-9500, Ext. 263.

SEPT. 26-27: Private receptions and special showings of the fall-winter men's and women's collections at the Giorgio Armani boutique in Beverly Hills. Wednesday night honors the Carousel of Hope Committee, which raises funds for The Children's Diabetes Foundation as well as the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes. Thursday night pays tribute to the Earth Communications Office. Armani will be there in spirit only; donations in his name are being made to both groups.

OCT. 3: Center Strutters, sponsored by the Beverly Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, gets going today at 8:30 a.m. Walks along a special mall route are scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings through December with monthly pep talks by physicians and health-care professionals. Shopaholics, this sounds like your place to get in shape. For more information: (213) 855-6556 or (213) 854-0071.

OCT. 4: "Festival of the Lantern" begins at 6:30 p.m. at Century City Shopping Center & Marketplace with a fashion show, featuring Hong Kong's leading designers. The five-day special includes cooking demonstrations, music and a Chinese lantern parade.

OCT. 6: Reebok's 5-K/10-K Run & "Noteables" Walk starts 8 a.m. in Griffith Park with warm-up exercises and celebrity appearances. Proceeds go to the L.A. Philharmonic and youth music education in Southern California. You really should jog, but you'll probably drive to get your registration form, available at Front Runners in Brentwood, the Westside Pavilion and other leading athletic-shoe stores.

OCT. 6: The California swimwear industry's first SEA (Swim Environmental Awareness) award goes to the Cousteau Society. One-of-a-kind swimsuits will be auctioned at the black-tie benefit at the Bonaventure Hotel. Flippers with your frock? For more information: (213) 399-5733.

OCT. 12-28: Festival of Britain in Orange County. Many cultural events, including personal appearances by British designers at I. Magnin, Saks and Nordstrom in the South Coast Plaza. Princess Alexandra and husband, Sir Angus Ogilvy, are the official royals.

OCT. 12: Jewel Gala benefits USC School of Fine Art, honors entertainer Ed McMahon and features gems from the DeBeers 1990 Diamonds-International Awards collection. The sparkle-plenty festivities start 6:30 p.m. at the Beverly Hilton. For more information: (213) 658-5765.

OCT. 13: Tuned in to Chanel? Opening night of the Santa Barbara Symphony begins with a party and Chanel fashion show at I. Magnin. Ticket information: (805) 965-6596.

OCT. 14: Los Angeles Children's Museum again. This time it's the annual Halloween Fashion Show and Luncheon, which is cheaper: $75 for adults, $45 for children. Fashions for kids only from Saks Fifth Avenue and costumes by Hanna-Barbera. At the Beverly Hilton. For more information: (818) 884-4900.

OCT 24: "Fashions for Peace," a benefit for Israel's Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, features the latest swimwear from Gottex. Last year's event was spectacular. At the Regent Beverly Wilshire. Tickets $250. For more information: (213) 275-2985.

OCT. 23-26: Tiffany & Co. celebrates its opening in Two Rodeo Drive with "Breakfasts at Tiffany's." A chance to sip java among the jewels.

OCT. 26: "Carousel of Hope" gala to benefit the Children's Diabetes Foundation. Tons of celebrities promised, including Merv Griffin, Gregory Peck, Quincy Jones, Liza Minnelli and Placido Domingo. The amazing silent auction includes designer gowns, extravagant gift certificates, custom-made suits and dresses, jewelry (including Cartier and Harry Winston watches), trips to Paris for the Valentino spring couture show and a visit to Coco Chanel's apartment on the Rue Cambon. There is a catch: The $1,000 to $2,500 tickets are invitation only.

NOV. 5-7: Fund-raiser for the City of Hope includes a boutique, a luncheon and a fashion show, featuring fall gowns by Irit Ehrlich. Her custom-made velvets and ribbon-laces hang in the closets of Susan Day George, Lee Remick and Maud Adams. Check out the stocking stuffers and closet collectibles between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m at the Beverly Hilton. Tickets $55. For more information: (213) 626-4611, Ext. 6254.

NOV. 8: Buccellati, jewelers in the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel, hosts a private party for its clientele. Dinner prepared by chefs flown in for the night from the St. Pietro Hotel in Italy.

NOV. 10: Christopher Radko, practitioner in the fine art of Christmas-tree dressing, tells all at I. Magnin Wilshire. For more information: (213) 382-6161.

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