Fashion With a Purpose

The women at a private showing at the St. John Design Center in Irvine loved the eye candy--the wispy gowns, clingy suits and playful jackets in colors of sage, chamois and mocha.

But they gathered at the knit giant's headquarters last week with more in mind than the spring line. They were supporting the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital in Los Angeles.

The luncheon raised more than $30,000.

The 115 women learned about breast cancer research from Dr. Christy A. Russell, one of the center's directors, who spoke about breakthroughs in treatment, prevention and education. The center also placed representatives at each table to answer questions.

Dr. Cheryl Craft, head of the cell and neurobiology department, fielded several queries from her table-mates:

* What inspired you to enter this field? "My mother died from breast cancer 25 years ago and that pushed me into research."

* What do you see as your goal? "To educate the public."

* What is there to be optimistic about in cancer research? "I tell people that no matter where we are right now, we're moving forward."

After a collective sigh of relief, the topic changed.

* So, what did you think of the fashion show? "I wish I had more money to give to fashion, especially when it comes to evening wear," Craft said.

Attendees received a USC/Norris pin designed by Marie Gray, founder of St. John. The pin is sold in the center's gift store, with proceeds going to cancer research.

For more information on the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, call (800) 596-6774.

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