Following the fourth cast's premiere in "Love, Loss, and What I Wore," theater-goers proceeded from Westwood's Geffen Playhouse to the Napa Valley Grille for food and the chance to continue sharing fashion memories with the play's newest actors: Florence Henderson of " The Brady Bunch," Meredith Baxter of "Family Ties," Tony Award winner Marissa Jaret Winokur of "Hairspray," the Groundling Theater's Paula Christensen and Gina Torres of "Huge."
More than 100 "gently used handbags" remained behind, donated by the audience to "Dress for Success," which provides professional attire to disadvantaged women seeking jobs.
Henderson said, "I can hardly get through some of the vignettes," referring to the play's stories — told in fashion memories — of a mother's death, teen angst and other heartfelt topics. "I'm the youngest of 10 in a very large, poor family," she said. "I remember borrowing my dress for the junior prom."
Baxter talked about her own real-life equivalent to her "perfect shirt" speech. She said, "I have had a DKNY navy blazer for 16 years," adding, "I'm going to wear it, [even] if it has moth holes."
Winokur said she had her perfect item too. "I have what I call my 'fresh white dress.' You wouldn't think a girl like me would wear white, but I've worn it for everything, and it's not exactly fresh after five years."
Although women dominated the Aug. 5 crowd, executive chef Joseph Gillard said he well understood the play's tale of the crowded purse. "My girlfriend can never find anything," he said.
Said Torres: "Who cannot relate to the purse story?" She added that she was pleased with the opening-night tie-in with Dress for Success. "When I do my spring cleaning, that's where everything goes," she said.
Geffen board member Susanna Midnight — there with her husband, record producer Charlie Midnight, children Hannah, Leah and Shantie and Shantie's friend, Meghan Offtermatt — said her group happily donated their handbags. "They caught me at a really good time — I was cleaning out my closet," she said. "It feels great to be able to pass things on."
The invitation called for hats and garden dresses at the Assistance League of Southern California's Golden Mallet Polo Tournament, benefiting ALSC's Learning Center for Young Children. And the guests of honor, Maharani Padmini Devi of Jaipur, and her daughter, Princess Diya Kumari, who wore brightly colored saris, added an extra dash of elegance to the afternoon.
Glen Holden, a trustee of Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, where the Aug. 8 tournament was held, invited the Jaipur royal family to the event to commemorate the venue's 100th anniversary. Holden, a club trustee, served as U.S. ambassador to Jamaica from 1989 to 1993.
The maharani (who is married to Sawai Bhawani Singh, the last titular maharaja, or ruler, of Jaipur, India) said polo came to India from elsewhere in Asia and that the first polo clubs were established in India. "Polo was refined in India by the cavalry of England," Holden said.
By way of welcome, ALSC's Kinderchorus of preschoolers performed, including in its repertoire "Jai Ho" from " Slumdog Millionaire."
Co-chairs Gloria Holden, Wendy Overmire, Geannie Sheller and Alice Weston joined Judy and Bob Kloner, Anne and Gary Salenger, Angelle and Roger Wacker, Yvonne and Edward Cazier, Eva Elkins, Cat Jagger Pollon and an estimated 200 other attendees.
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