Le Bal de Papillons--the ball of the butterflies--was held Saturday to celebrate the flight of victims of domestic violence who sought shelter at Interval House and transformed themselves into independent women.
More than 350 guests attended the ball and auction at the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point. The $200-per-person gala raised more than $100,000 in net proceeds for the Interval House Crisis Shelters of Orange and Los Angeles counties.Showing Their Wings
Unbeknown to many guests, some of the glamorous-looking women in glittering dresses who greeted them at the door were Interval House graduates.
Party-goers were first directed to the hotel courtyard to bid on items in a silent auction (sample prizes: cosmetic tattooing, belly-dancing lessons) before adjourning to a ballroom decorated with Christmas trees and winter white floral bouquets.
One guest who stood out: Judge Robert Armstrong, who showed up in a Scottish kilt.
“He’s the only guy in here in a dress,” joked his son, Robert Armstrong Jr., event co-chairman. “Dad’s very proud of his Scottish heritage. He just bought a house in Scotland.”
Gloria Marshall Sarno, founder of the Gloria Marshall salons, sported a regal-looking purple and green ball gown.
“It’s nice to wear a ball gown--we need a little more elegance in our lives,” said Marshall Sarno, who attended with her husband, Ronn Sarno.
Guests dined on a gourmet feast prepared by French chef Christian Rassinoux.
The fare included smoked duck, lobster, shrimp with chervil and violet mustard, guinea hen with champagne Chanterelle sauce, asparagus greens and a dessert of pave of chocolate with Chambord liqueur and raspberry coulis.
A live auction for a European vacation and other goodies and dancing to hot jazz rounded out the festivities.
Interval House is based in Seal Beach and provides shelter, counseling and outreach programs for battered women and their children.
“This is the ball of the butterflies. We’re helping people come out of their cocoon and fly,” said Joyce Kakkis, ball co-chairwoman, who attended with her husband, Peter Fotinakes.
In addition to a primary shelter, where the length of stay is 30 to 45 days, Interval House offers a second-stage shelter where battered women can stay for longer periods to gain their independence.
Janine Limas, the mother of two children, is a program graduate who is staying at the second-stage shelter rent-free in exchange for working at Interval House.
“They helped me get out of an abusive relationship and stay out,” Limas said.
Interval House hopes to open a third-stage shelter that provides low-rent apartments to graduates.
“The most important thing that happens to these women is they realize they’re not alone,” said Carol Anne Williams, executive director of Interval House. “They come out with a sense of power.”
Other guests were executive co-chairmen Dorothy Johnson and Cynthia Courtney; shelter co-founder Isa Smashey Rogers; Bill Williams, director of programs for Interval House (who received a congressional award for outstanding service in the field of domestic violence); celebrity auctioneers KNBC anchor John Beard, Fox News weatherman Mark Thompson and actors Beverly Garland and John Schuck; Michael and Harlene Goodrich; Brad and Neva Koons; Janet Parody; Sylvia Silva; Larry Webb, and Janet Hadley.