Peggy Russell’s daytime wear was a lush and elegant Macy’s leisure suit with a pop of red guaranteed to turn heads on any walking path. Dapper David Arellano mixed blues and blacks for a fun Kmart outfit suitable for all holiday occasions. Amber Wineman captured plenty of hearts in a casual but silver threaded turquoise sweater with velveteen pants from Kmart.

‘Collectible Christmas’ Soroptimist Fashion Show showcases holiday fun

December 20, 2013
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times 

“Collectible Christmas” was the theme of Saturday’s Soroptimist International of Santa Paula Holiday Fashion Show where tables were decked out with hostesses’ favorite items and the stage was the showcase to show off what’s in store-or rather in stores-for holiday dressing.

Held at the Masonic Hall, the fashion show and luncheon provided the opportunity for hostesses to set their tables with their favorite collectibles.

Maria Bombara AKA Belle added a holiday touch to her Disney “Beauty and The Beast” table where yellow was the dominate color and red roses-including the confectioner’s kind atop the Belle’s dress cake and cookies to the artfully swirled cloth napkin resting in waiting teacups-the flower of choice.

“I’ve always been Snow White and this is my first time as Belle,” said Bombara. “It’s fun!”

Bombara said Janice Dickenson helped her decorate the table that was all Belle all the time from the china to the teacups to the tea itself.

“I love all the tables, they are all so favorite part of the event is to see all the tables. It’s all about the details,” noted Bombara, “And all such a worthy cause!”

Each table was a delight from one holding antique transportation toys to another paying tribute to the Christmas Moose. Elegant doves seemed about ready to take flight above one table while another featured candy canes and snowflakes. One hostess used traditional wreaths to decorate while another relied on happy snowmen including miniature lunch boxes.

Ann Perez’s strawberry themed table delighted her guests including two that wore miniature hats-living up to their fascinators’ name-decked out with the sweet fruit. A small Christmas tree decorated with flowers with matching flower cookies was featured on one table while an army of nutcrackers and traditional “smokers” (holiday themed incense burners) decorated another.

The centerpiece of hostess Cari Leidig’s table was a Christmas tree but the real showpiece was what held it: an antique music box tree stand that guest Lynn Cowell demonstrated still works...and as the tune started and the tree spun it knocked over a beverage glass before Cowell was able to stop it.

When “Cari’s husband’s great-grandfather came from Germany,” Cowell said he brought along the music box tree stand.

“We did collections because we thought it would be easy and a nice way for people to show what they collect,” said SISP President Heidi Juarez.

And not everyone who volunteers to dress a table is a Soroptimist: “Heidi helps me with Odd Fellows and the Cruise Knights Band,” said Carlos Juarez who decorated the table with the vintage toy transportation vehicles, “so I help her with Soroptimist!”

Heidi Juarez noted that table hostesses Bombara and Ginger Gherardi also are not SISP members but each year they participate in the fashion show.

Moderator Peggy Kelly took to the podium when it was time for fashion fun and escorts Jeff Hobson and Police Chief Steve McLean accompanied the models to the stage for fashion gazing. 

Daytime and high-fashion evening wear from Macy’s Pacific View Mall was modeled by women, teens and “tweens” while Big Kmart of Santa Paula dressed the kids for days of play and early Christmas parties.

Sequins and glitter are big this year for day and evening fashions for kids and adults alike and the good-natured models swirled and posed in their finery.

Even Santa Paula Police Reserve Sgt. David Curran and SPPD Cadet Martha Reynolds-Brown “model-bombed” the stage to show what the well-dressed law enforcement officer is wearing. And that included accessories that Curran showed off to the delight of the crowd. 

Guests loved the tween to adult fashions modeled by Ashlynn Allon, Mia Barrozo, Shanna Gherardi, Olivia Newton, Peggy Russell and Rosalia Sanchez. Daisy Arellano, David Arellano and Amber Wineman gave kids’ clothes a twirl. Model coordinator Hope Arellano was dressed for the occasion in a long burgundy, velvet gown.

Isbell Middle School students raising funds for their annual Washington, D.C. trip served the Hozy’s catered meal and SPPD Explorers were the raffle ticket sellers at the event that Juarez said benefits SISP programs.

“Soroptimist is translated from the Latin,” and means “Best for Women” and the international nonprofit professional women’s organization was founded in 1920.

Juarez said the Santa Paula chapter was chartered in 1931 and Soroptimist now has more than 95,000 members in 120 countries and the United Nations. 

Although SISP advocates for all it emphasizes the well-being of and opportunities for women and girls as well as fighting breast cancer and preventing domestic violence. 

Local programs include an annual high school scholarship and the Women’s Opportunity Award, which is geared towards women with children who are reentering the job market or sharpening their professional skills.

The Violet Richardson Award is given to a 14 to 17 year old who is a committed volunteer; the recipient receives a cash stipend and an organization supported by the award winner is given a larger donation.

Juarez said community members are encouraged to nominate candidates for the Violet Richardson Award.

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