The Crowd: DARTS hits its fundraising target

The Decorative Arts Society (DARTS) launched its 2013/14 charitable lecture series in grand style this past week. Wolfram Koeppe, the curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, graced the Oct. 15 Decorative Arts Society reception as the very special guest opening the annual series on art and design.

He was welcomed by hosts Caroline and Brad Vassar for a cocktail reception in their elegant Balboa Peninsula residence designed in the high court French architectural style. Recently renovated under the supervision of Caroline Vassar, the classic home was built in the 1920s and designed by Walt Disney's personal architect.

The Vassars joined with Koeppe to greet 100 patrons of the Decorative Arts Society who support the charitable efforts of the organization, which include sponsorship of a variety of Orange County nonprofits focusing on improving the lives of families and children in the community.

The incredible local caterer Fork, Knife + Spoon created its exceptional spread of delicacies, impressing the crowd that included DARTS chair Ann Dennis and husband Bill Dennis, Hyla Bertea, Barbara and David Cline, Judy and Bill Brady, designer John Benecke, lovely Linda Colton and Jim Phillips, Brenda and Dirk Eastman, Marion and Peter Hartwich, who recently celebrated their son's wedding, Jackie Glass, Margaret Larkin, Carole and Barry Steele, and Mary Anna and Arthur Jeppe.

Also supporting the Decorative Arts Society were France and Richard Campbell, Diane Johnson, Bonnie and Jerry McClellan, Margaret and John Nord, Randa and Rob Phair, Cathi Bledsoe and Aly Shepard.

The society will sponsor five events running through April. Future guests include Adam Lewis on Nov. 12; Brian Coleman on Feb. 11; Barry Dixon on March 11; and Page Dickey on April 8. Each guest speaker addresses the crowd at a lecture held at the Edwards Big Newport at Fashion Island with individual tickets priced at $60, which benefits the charities supported by the society.

Patrons are invited to a pre-lecture reception the night before held in some of the most unique and beautiful homes in the community. For more information on the Decorative Arts Society and the upcoming presentations, please contact Sharon Henwood at (949) 759-8231 or go to


Impressive turnout for March of Dimes

The 2013 March of Dimes Orange County Signature Chefs Auction, held at the Westin South Coast Plaza on Sept. 26, attracted more than 300 OC citizens raising an impressive $270,000 for the March of Dimes.

Executive Chef Seakyeong Kim of Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza led the annual event, paying tribute to Orange County'sculinary scene and showcasing an evening of signature chef's dishes and wine tastings. Kim was joined by his boss, the charismatic Chef Charlie Palmer, greeting sponsors including Anton and Jennifer Segerstrom, Mike and Eve Ruffatto, Debra Gunn Downing and Charles Kanter, Molly Downing, Rick and Lia Salus, and Robert and Denise Kacer.

More than a dozen of Orange County's most prominent restaurants and their chefs participated in the evening sponsored by South Coast Plaza, Wells Fargo and Farmers Insurance, to name only a few.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit concentrating its services on assisting pregnant women and their newborn babies by providing prenatal and newborn healthcare. With chapters nationwide, March of Dimes works to prevent birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.


Style police invade Neiman Marcus

The tsarina of style, Michaele Hall of Neiman Marcus, attired in the season's chic purple lace, produced another fabulous pop-up fashion event in-store last week, attracting an overflow crowd to meet the irrepressible Hal Rubenstein, fashion director of InStyle magazine.

Hall's talented associate Nicole Chapman helped organize the Oct. 17 midday soirée, erecting a fashion runway in the Fine Apparel Salon surrounded by a double row of clear Lucite seating, which quickly filled up with women representing the entire spectrum of society from the fabulously fashionable to the denim-and-tee and even the holdover Ferragamo sensible-shoe crowd.

Rubenstein wowed his diverse audience with so much more than the trends for fall. Interspersing advice on relationships, self-esteem, the importance of friends and an overall attitude for healthy living, the show was more about an inspirational shot in the arm than just simply what to wear for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. The Neiman staff served light hors d'oeuvres and sparkling waters and juices as 10 models paraded the runway in a rapid-fire 45-minute presentation.

THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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