Like Admiral John Paul Jones, the lovely ladies of the Junior League are undaunted. The San Francisco chapter of the women's service organization, now in its centennial year, were challenged when their longtime fashion show fundraiser sailed onto stormy waters last year. But it takes more than that to topple these women from their crow's nest, or catwalk; the fashion show is a major fundraiser that supports women-centered community programs including family shelters, services for immigrants and the developmentally challenged, victims of child abuse, and small business training. The beloved 87th annual event brings visibility, leadership and volunteer training to the Junior League of San Francisco, as well as the opportunity for a fun party. So this year they reinvented themselves, created more parties and added more shopping, and strutted their lithe, toned stuff at Fort Mason Center. "Fashion Forward: Setting Sail Into a New Century," nodded to America's Cup with a series of nautical-themed events: Benefactor and Young Professional cocktail parties, a boutique marketplace, an expert consortium on hosting fashion fundraisers, a big-splash fashion show, and a children's fashion presentation. Talk about making waves!
Credits for this event require a crew of hundreds. The 1,726-member organization runs on the energy of volunteers from within the league, and many outside advisors who contribute their expertise and abilities. Models (men, women and children!) need to be selected and trained, dressed and tressed, clothes need to be selected and styled. There is music, lighting, catering, parking, and inviting. The media needs to be managed, the program prepared, live and silent auctions need to be organized, and patrons solicited. And then it has to come together, to run on time, on budget, and on course, sailing into a smooth harbor that funds its work, training, and supports those navigating their own stormy seas. For the Junior League, this year's fashion showcase was a lifesaver for the organization, and will help keep those they serve afloat for another year.
Among the Leagues Under the Sea: Fashion Showcase Chair Michelle Curtis Harris, Co-chairs Cassie Edwards and Kristen Harper Raymond, a covey of category co-chairs including Jamie Lynn Craig, Lindsay Ward, Shelby McKinley, Michelle Dennen, Lucy Wahl, Margaret Shaw Lilani, Erin McDermott, Wendy Armstrong, Cathryn Lyman, Maria Sullivan, Katie Coosi, Whitney Hudak, Devon Diebel, Susie Hall, Alex Skillman, Emily Martin, Erica Mattson, Amy Coombe, Liz Curtis, Caitlin Fisher, Elizabeth Mitsky, and Kelley Stough. A veritable captain's cabin of advisors, many previous Fashion Show chairs, provided support and advice, beginning with the lovely Layne Gray and including Courtney Bocci, Debbie Bocci, Usha Burns, Kim Hooker, Marie Hurabiell, Jane Inch, Merrill Kasper, Anne Marie Massocca, Teresa Medearis, and Marsha Monro. Those walking the decks included Jennifer Kurrie, Victoria Najjar, Carrie Cooper Hall, Candice Macario, Ann Hynek, Cathryn Lyman, Marybeth LaMotte, Kat Stark, Anne Stauffer, Blossom Barnes, Hailey Bolton, Karen Loane, Karen Ku, Whitney Hudak, Steve Seto, Josh Burns, Mark Gundacker, Peter Colosi, Phillip Sprincin, and Drew Wahl. Courageous captains and their helpful first mates included Devon and James Diebel, Lucy and Andrew Wahl, Michelle and Jody Harris, Cathryn and David Lyman, Ann and Bill Stark, Anette Harris, Tammy and Randy Hill, Anne and Christin Lawler, Gail DeMartini, Cameron Phleger, Joanna Rees, Sallie Huntting, Susan Malott, Stacey Poole, Ann Moller Caen, Gina Marie Battaglia, Amy Bossen, Natalie Bossen Fuchs, Jacqqueline Erdman, Catherine Kwong, Karen Loane and Lata Prabbhakar, Russell and Kelley Stough, Dariana and Mason Ross, Tina and Richard Romine, Delia Ehrlich, Theo Schwabacher, Dolly Chammas, and a charming crew of see-worthy supporters.