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IMG_3123These girls are passionate about fashion, good food and CASA (Court Appointed SpecialAdvocates), and 620 of them proved it by showing up at CASA of Orange County’s annual Holiday Luncheon, held once again at the St. Regis Resort in Dana Point. After perusing a plethora of silent auction items and viewing Top Chef Miami finalist Brian Malarkey’s carb-free crab cakes cooking demo on the resort’s back lawn, guests gathered in a pink-lit ballroom with pink cymbidium orchid and hydrangea floral centerpieces for a delicious lunch and fast-paced, impactful fashion show on dual runways featuring Diana von Furstenberg‘s latest fashions and accessories. I loved her use of color, and her prints are always eye-catching.

Emmy-winning Fox 11 News anchor Christine Devine, who is known for her “Wednesdays’s Child” bi-weekly adoption segment, was keynote speaker and inspired everyone with her passion to find families for foster children. CASA Orange County CEO Gene Howard stated how important it is for CASA volunteers to mentor and advocate for abused children in the foster care system. It was heartwarming to see guests readily purchase wishes from foster children displayed as ornaments on six Starfish Wish trees placed throughout the ballroom and lobby.

On a lighter note, singer/songwriter and American Idol Top 10 finalist Michael Johns entertained, a spirited live auction saw event co-chair Jaynine Warner win for $6,000 a Dacor barbecue and an elated Yvonne Airley won the Damiani diamond earrings in the opportunity drawing.

The Friends of CASA ladies in charge of the effort included chairs Kathryn Grant and Courtney Wittkop and co-chairs Leslie Christen, Teri Cullen, Colleen Davidson, Christy Flanagan, Jessica Johnson, Nicole Joseph, Julie Leffler, Janine Wald and the aforementioned Warner. Others worthy of mention included media sponsor Riviera magazine, South Coast Plaza’s DVF manager Ivy Belisle, CASA’s Susan Kirkland, and Linda Young‘s Elite OC Productions.

Guests departed with a DVF print tote – with pink the prominent color, of course – filled with a DVF gift certificate and custom coasters. The good news? More than $225,000 was netted for CASA of Orange County’s mission to provide advocates for abused, abandoned and neglected children.

Selected pbotos: Bleu Cotton Photography