It has been described as a place where "art, fashion and architecture combine." A'Maree's exclusive boutique on Coast Highway in Newport Beach opened the pre-holiday season with a special sneak peek sponsored by The Visionaries, a ladies auxiliary of the Orange County Museum of Art.
The destination for fashion has received national press, including a spread in The New York Times, for its rare and unique occupation of the landmark 1960s-era waterfront pavilion on the main channel of the Newport Harbor. The iconic white structure, with the roof line recalling winged birds in flight, sat dormant for decades. Formerly a restaurant and nightclub, it's new purpose as a house of fashion has arguably been called the most exquisite ladies store in America — with the most spectacular waterfront view.
Fittingly, the ladies who love art converged upon A'Maree's for a first look, a spot of afternoon tea and plenty of late-afternoon conversation over catered treats by Costa Mesa culinary artist Jeanine. Visionaries President Linda Maggard was on hand to greet the chic crowd joined by event organizers Catherine McLarand and Kathy Marconi.
Spotted in the fashionable setting were Pat Hancock, Tricia Berns, Maralou Harrington, Eve Kornyei, Julia Argyros, Sharon McKinnon and Irene Mathews. Also attending in support of The Visionaries were Diana Martin, Jana Hackett, Terri Kennady, Hyla Bertea, Laurie Rodnick, Toni Berlinger, Marsha Anderson, Pat Steinman and the very chic Barbara Bowie of Big Canyon.
Some 100 ladies admired A'Maree's Collections, including a handsome display of recreated Balenciaga fashion from the 1950s shown on ultra-modern wire mannequins lined up in the main corridor of the impressive space.
Other women were seen staring at the polished cement floor. Architectural designers have cut cylindrical holes in the cement, which has created glass windows on the floor to the sea below for a perfect small view of fish swimming by while you shop.
On a very different social note, one of the O.C.'s most respected restaurateurs, Bill Allen — a Newport Coast resident, the co-founder of Fleming's and former CEO of OSI Restaurant Partners Inc. — has stepped forward with his latest business venture known as Carsmetics to assist the Estancia High School Football program.
Carsmetics is a new concept in auto accident repair located on Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa. At holiday time for a grand opening gesture, Allen and team invited the 2010 Orange League champion Eagles and their supporters from Estancia to a massive car wash. Players and cheerleaders in uniform washed some 80 cars and raised $1330, including a $5 donation for each car from Allen's Carsmetics. Funds raised will help to retire debt incurred for new uniforms.
THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.