15th Annual St. Vincent’s Fashion Show & Luncheon
JOANNE CALITRI | December 5, 2023 | MONTECITO, CA
The much-loved St. Vincent’s Santa Barbara annual fashion show luncheon took off with all the holiday flair of the season at the Rosewood Miramar Beach Ballroom on Saturday, November 25. This year was their 15th annual event, and saw 300 guests with a wait list, indicating the growth of the event over the years, since its humble beginnings in the gym at a local high school.
The founders of the annual fundraiser in 2009 and event co-chairs every year are Pat Lupo and Claudia Lash, who also make the 70 to 100 gift baskets for the silent auction. Showcasing their collections for the fashion show were Jennifer Siemens, designer and CEO of the California Kids Collection, an eco-friendly organic kids’ fashion line based out of Ventura, and Catherine Gee, international designer based in Santa Barbara for chic designer women’s fashion worn by A-Listers and locals. Gee gave the attendees a 20% discount fashion pass.
The event started with a coffee reception and guests warmly talking with old friends and meeting new ones, while milling around the silent auction tables and enjoying the outdoor ballroom patio. Seen at the event were Rosa M. Paredes, St. Vincent’s President and CEO and her family; Maryam Davodi-Far, the Vice President of Early Childhood Education and Student Enrichment Services with her husband David J. Wu, and children Jet and Taj; Florence A. Berger, Director of the Family Strengthening Program; Dr. Regina Ruiz, Chief Development Officer, with her children Amalia at the welcome desk and Diego Adams as a model for the fashion show; development team member historian Sergey Saluschev; the Daughters of Charity – Sr. Arthur Gordon, Sister Maria Hoa Nguyen, Sister Margaret Keaveney, Sister Linda Mulvehill, Sister Mary Hale, Sister Trintaj, Sister Jean Marie Williams, and Sister Paule Freeburg, along with Father Larry Gosselin and Father Dan Lackie; and event organizer Dalina Michaels, and twins Lourdes and Lulu Corral. Also attending were Donna Stovesand, Judy Borgatello, Carol Lupo, Alice Green, Elaine Brown, Vivian Paulicano, Amy Curti, Linda Redmond, Claudia Berniard, Adalee Paredes, Mayra Valdez, Jessica Paredes, Marianne Day, Deborah McQuade, Marie Ciluaga, Debbie Bruce, Rina Bentajado, Elsita Smith, Madeline Petrini, and Margaret Waters. Volunteers at the event included students from Bishop Diego High School.
David J. Wu (center) with sons Jet and Taj, Lulu Corral, Maryam Davodi-Far, Lourdes Corral, and Rosa Paredes (photo by Joanne A Calitri)
Jennifer Siemens with the kids modeling her fashion designs (photo by Joanne A Calitri)
Regina Ruiz, Judy Borgatello, Pat Lupo, Claudia Lash, Donna Stovesand, and Rosa Paredes (photo by Joanne A Calitri)
The program commenced with Ruiz welcoming the guests, thanking the co-chairs Lupo and Lash, and this year’s sponsors: American Riviera Bank, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation, Cox Communications, EmmaRose Floral, Gee, and Siemens. Homage and respects were paid to the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, who founded the organization and set up programs to care for children, low-income families, and seniors in the Santa Barbara area since 1858.
Next, Berger talked about the Family Strengthening Program and introduced a graduate of the program, Caroline, to share about her experience. Her moving talk received a standing ovation. Following was the envelope ask collected by the children in the program. Sister Arthur led the prayer before lunch and the sit-down luncheon was served. During dessert, the fashion show was held with fun kid designs by Siemens and elegant women’s wears by Gee. Before closing the event, Ruiz read a dedication to Lupo’s husband Bill who had passed away and was a volunteer with his wife for the event. With that, Lupo and Lash were called to the stage and presented with an historic photograph of them with Bill in his honor. The event concluded with hugs and happy attendees who won the silent auction, door prizes, and raffle. New this year is that the event photographs taken of the guests will be on St. Vincent’s website for viewing and by donation to purchase!