RANCHO SANTA FE (May 27, 2021) — Oscar de la Renta, Isabel Marant, Monique Lhuillier and Lanvin are among the leading international designers and luxury retailers showcased on September 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 fete, dedicated to fashion and fundraising. Honorary chairs are Deborah and Les 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 10 News Anchor Kimberly Hunt is the emcee.

“We are delighted to partner with South Coast Plaza once again on San Diego County’s premier fashion event,” says Newman. “Proceeds benefits 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, lolite and diamond earrings John Matty Co./Fine Custom Jewelry 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./ Fine Custom Jewelry, SKY Facial Plastic Surgery, and the Warren Family Foundation. “Fashionista” sponsors are Bobileff Restoration and Service: Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati; 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 Deborah and Les Cross include Brian Connelly and Lauren Reynolds, Charlie and Terri Chivetta, Elaine Becerra, Fariba Vafaee, Jeannie Ranglas, John and Marci Cavanaugh, Kim Quinn, Leesa Davis, Lisa Alvarez, Performance K9 Training, Sarah Sleeper, and Withers Bergman.

The Art of Fashion Committee includes: Anahi Arata, Andrea Naversen, 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, please contact: The Country Friends at (858)756-1192, extension 4, or

ABOUT THE COUNTRY FRIENDS: The Country Friends is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization, formed 65 years ago to provide needed funding for San Diego County-based charities. Its mission is “Helping San Diegans since 1954 :: One Hand at a Time.” The organization raises funds primarily through the Art of Fashion, and proceeds from its Rancho Santa Fe consignment shop, which specializes in exquisite furniture, antiques, rugs, silver, china and objets d’art. Since its founding, The Country Friends has raised nearly $14 million to support human care agencies, with special emphasis on services to women, children, the elderly and those with disabilities.

ABOUT SOUTH COAST PLAZA: Renowned as a leading international shopping destination, South Coast Plaza is home to more than 250 prominent boutiques, critically-acclaimed restaurants and the adjacent celebrated Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the Orange County Museum of Art. It is the West Coast’s premier shopping experience, with its proximity to beaches and John Wayne Airport, customized concierge services, and unparalleled collection of diverse retailers — from Gucci, Hermès, Cartier and Harry Winston to Dolce&Gabbana, The Webster, Dior, Alexander McQueen and Givenchy and more. South Coast Plaza is located in Orange County, California, in the city of Costa Mesa. Information: or 800.782.8888.