The Country Friends announces Art of Fashion lineup

Models on the runway at a previous Country Friends Art of Fashion runway show.
Models on the runway at a previous Country Friends Art of Fashion runway show.
(John Eckmier/South Coast Plaza

Oscar de la Renta, Isabel Marant, Monique Lhuillier, and Lanvin are among the leading international designers and luxury retailers showcased on Sept. 16 when The Country Friends (TCF) presents the 2021 Art of Fashion (AOF) in partnership with South Coast Plaza. The runway show also includes the latest looks from the fall-winter collections of Camilla, Max Mara, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Versace.

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe again serves as the historic venue for this annual fall fête, dedicated to fashion and fundraising. Honorary chairs are Les and Deborah Cross, recognized for their extraordinary 14-year commitment to the organization. Deborah also serves as event co-chair with The Country Friends President Suzanne Newman and Director of Operations Yvette Letourneau. Award-winning ABC 10News Anchor Kimberly Hunt is the emcee.

Models on the runway at a previous Country Friends Art of Fashion runway show.
Models on the runway at a previous Country Friends Art of Fashion runway show.
(John Eckmier/South Coast Plaza)

“We are delighted to partner with South Coast Plaza once again on San Diego County’s premier fashion event,” says Newman. “Proceeds benefit dozens of local charities whose needs grew even greater due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The TCF Board of Directors selects charities each fall after careful review. Since its founding in 1954, The Country Friends has donated nearly $14 million to those in need with special emphasis on women, children, the elderly, the military, and disabled.

Funds are raised through sponsors, patrons, a live auction, and opportunity drawing featuring designer handbags, clothing, and jewelry, including a pair of 18k white gold, iolite, and diamond earrings by John Matty Co. valued at $4,000. Top prize is a $15,000 five-day Amazon River cruise, including a four-night stay at luxury hotels in Lima and Cuzco, Peru, courtesy of Scott Dunn Exceptional Travel, Belmond Hotels, and Aqua Expeditions. Alaska Airlines is once again donating round-trip, first-class tickets for two to anywhere the airline flies. Shop and dine at South Coast Plaza with a $2,000 gift card and $300 for lunch or dinner at the acclaimed Knife Pleat restaurant.

The Art of Fashion begins with a champagne reception including light bites from the French Gourmet, and the always popular photo lounge on The Inn’s lawn. Guests are invited to shop South Coast Plaza mini boutiques featuring fashion, fragrance, and accessories from Camilla, Diptyque, Max Mara, Mulberry, and Oscar de la Renta. Ten percent of sales benefits The Country Friends’ selected charities.

Centerpiece of the event is a professionally-produced runway show that highlights the latest collections from South Coast Plaza’s premier international designers. After the show, guests gather on The Inn’s Croquet Lawn for a festive luncheon, live auction, and opportunity drawing. The Art of Fashion concludes with “Sip, Shop and Support,” the chance to continue boutique shopping.

Title sponsors are Les and Deborah Cross and “Runway” sponsor is Scott Dunn Exceptional Travel. “Couture” sponsors include Hoehn Jaguar Land Rover, John Matty Co., Dr. Sirius and Amber Yoo of SKY Facial Plastic Surgery, and the Warren Family Foundation. “Fashionista” sponsors are Bobileff Restoration and Service: Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati; Dr. Melanie Palm of Art of Skin MD, The Mirandon Foundation for Hope, and Torrey Pines Bank. “Designer” sponsors are Andrea Naversen Wait and Tamara Lafarga-Joseph.

Longtime supporters include The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, as well as Denise and Bertrand Hug, who once again are hosting the Art of Fashion Patron Party at Rancho Santa Fe’s renowned Mille Fleurs. Ranch & Coast Magazine is returning as the main media sponsor. Additional sponsors are Giving Back Magazine and Fairbanks Living Magazine.

AOF Patrons, established in tribute to The Country Friends and honorees Les and Deborah Cross, include Brian Connelly and Lauren Reynolds, Charlie and Terri Chivetta, Elaine Becerra of Northern Trust Wealth Management, Fariba Vafaee, Jeannie Ranglas, John and Marci Cavanaugh, Kim Quinn, Leesa Davis, Lisa Alvarez, Performance K9 Training, Inc., Sarah Sleeper, and Withers Bergman.

The Art of Fashion Committee includes: Anahi Arata, Andrea Naversen Wait, Belinda Foley, Christina Macone-Greene, Esther Rodriguez, Fariba Vafaee, Laura MacKinnon-Chapman, Laura White, Lezlie Reynales, Linda Royster Cook, Lynda Kerr, Marla Zanelli, Mia Park, Tamara Lafarga-Joseph, and Valerie Parker.

For more information, or to become an Art of Fashion sponsor, contact: The Country Friends at (858) 756-1192, extension 4, or Also visit and