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Parties: Fashion and a Feast

by Anh-Minh Le | Photography by Drew Altizer

Addressing a crowd of more than 200 SF Opera supporters, Wes Gordon, the creative director of Carolina Herrera, elicited major applause when he proclaimed, “I really think San Francisco is the best-dressed city in America.”

Two years delayed, SF Opera Guild’s fashion show and luncheon on May 11, presented with Neiman Marcus and featuring Carolina Herrera collections, was worth the wait. With a backdrop that included the Union Square store’s iconic stained-glass dome plus a chic pink-and-green scene conceived by J. Riccardo Benavides, guests were welcomed with glasses of Roederer champagne.

Guild president Maryam Muduroglu, honorary chair Mark Sullivan of Neiman Marcus, as well as cochairs Lisa Zabelle and Roman Gronkowski spoke, as guests tucked into Niçoise salad with salmon, followed by opera cake, both by McCalls and accompanied by Castellucci Napa Valley wine.

“They say music heals the soul,” said Muduroglu. “And at San Francisco Opera Guild, we believe that music and the arts are essential parts of a student’s education, nurturing their creativity and self-expression, building important skills that last them for a lifetime. The guild has been honoring and encouraging young artistic voices for over 80 years.”

During lunch, the Opera Scouts, a performing organization for youths ages 12 to 18, sang “The Water Is Wide.” The group had recently returned from a tour of Austria that was funded in large part by the 2019 fashion show and luncheon. Singer and teaching artist Andy Truett then led the live auction and fund-a-need, raising money for the guild’s arts education programs, which reach 64,000+ students every year.

The festivities next shifted from the third to the fifth floor for the runway show. Models sporting Pre-Fall 2022 and Fall Winter 2022 looks sashayed through the space. Afterward, attendees were invited to shop with Gordon — who also mingled with VIPs the night before during a cocktail reception at Villa Taverna, where a Kathy’s Creative Kakes confectionery replica of a Carolina Herrera frock, standing more than a foot high, was a big hit.

“I’m going to be over here like a sales associate and make you try on all the clothes,” Gordon quipped to the luncheon audience. “So come play dress-up with me.”

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