Wednesday, July 27, 2005 | The 19th Annual Golden Hanger fashion awards gala was attended by a well-dressed crowd of 800 plus at the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center on July 23. It was a magnificent “cut on the bias” evening, showcasing San Diego’s outstanding fashion world, Fashion Careers College (FCC) student designs, and some very special guests.

Among the very special guests was legendary hair stylist, Vidal Sassoon, who embodies creative hair design with gentlemanly class. Vidal was awarded the International Lifetime Achievement Award for Beauty and Fashion. Others honored were jewelry designer Tamara Alter – her Tamara & Co. line is very popular at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, hair designer Vickie Lavanty – she’s a favorite of international textile and fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, Lara Matthews, who is the founder of the stylish THREAD Fashion and Lifestyle Show, and lastly, the wonderful Jonathan and Hamed Mohseni of House of Brands, Inc.

Then it was time for the fashion show, which was split into two parts. First, six selected FCC designers were showcased with special Make-A-Wish – Make-A-Wish was the event’s beneficiary – models, and guest celebrities. Later, FCC designers and professional models teamed together for a New York-worthy fashion show.

It was an evening to applaud design talent, and very importantly, Make-A-Wish children who live each day the best they can in the face of medical challenges. The goal of the San Diego Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation is to “grant wishes to children with life-threatening illness, to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.”

Local 7/39 weather and popular reporter Pat Brown was paired with Loni Merritt and Karly Ross. Their chic and colorful designer was FCC student Razaana Peck. Channel 4’s Padres reporter Jane Mitchell in a green gown, was paired with Alyssa Pratt and FCC sophisticated student designer Josephine Lorenzo. Longtime San Diegan/ national talent Bree Walker – formerly of the news, now starring in HBO’s “Carnivale” and producing yet more shows and films – walked with children Michelle Brice and Zen Hamil. Their clever student designer was Kristen Conetta.

I was honored to walk with Ashley Haggitt. Ashley took to the model walk like a mermaid to water. Our very talented designer was Chris Sachs aka “Jersey” of

Amid thunderous applause, these Make-A-Wish kids shone brightly like the special stars they are. Also shining that night was the manifold talent of the FCC student designers. More designers joined in for the professionally modeled segment.

Talent, talent, talent is the decree and lots of applause to FCC designers Grace Jalife, again Razaana Peck, Lizbeth Bustamante, again Kendra Vandenberg, Jayme Wiley, Arrinesha Coleman-Broadnax, Lawrence DeRaphael, Monica Vasquez, Vanessa Victorio, Casey Tretheway, Je’Dawn Brown, Jeana Taylor, Brigette McQueen, Tiffany Rossbach, again Kristen Conetta, Melissa Benovic, Willie Grayson Jr., Violet Norris, Nicole Pohaku, again Sarah Larrabee, Josephine Lorenzo, Kyra Hultz and Nicole Snell. Whew! Nobody in San Diego can say they don’t have a thing to wear with all of this talent ready to design!

Speaking of talent, Fashion Show Coordinator Tanya McAnear of “Bad Madge Productions” was working fast and furious before the show. Tanya was simultaneously on her cell phone, walkie-talkie, getting her hair done and fixing last-second music glitches via her laptop. And she did it calmly and beautifully too. Meanwhile, fashion show producer and choreographer Jim Crawford made the show seamless and fun.

Among the fashionable guests were Jeanne Jones and Don Breitenberg, Ingrid Hibben (Ingrid donated the fabulous fabric for the Make-A-Wish segment), Marion McAnear, designer Michael Tellechea of

More there included representatives from the event’s sponsors, Cox Communications, Sycuan Resort & Casino, Ingrid Hibben as noted above with her guests, Jazzercise, Inc. Citibank Student Loan Corporation, Kurt Hopke, SAVVY hair salon and day spa, MAC Cosmetics Fashion Valley, Friar’s Tux Shop, Sherri and Grant Gilmore and Jason P. Brubaker.

The creative genius behind this event is FCC’s founder and this event’s founder and chair, Pat O’ Conner, pretty in a Zandra Rhodes pink couture tunic. Pat was joined by her co-chair, Joyce Glazer, elegantly sleek in a head-to-toe Chanel, suit, purse, shoes and oh those patterned stockings! Pat and Joyce were the driving force behind this year’s Cole Porter inspired theme, “Anything Goes.” In this case, all went exceedingly well for a great cause, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego.

To learn more about FCC

Margo Schwab, an alumna of the University of San Diego’s graduate business school, reports on social/charity events, celebrities, restaurants and from time to time breaking scoops. You can read more at her Web site,

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