- The Washington Times - Friday, June 22, 2007

“We pray to the god of fashion,” Rebecca Fishman exclaimed. Her friend Lori Soto smiled and said, “I don’t usually admit that.”

Not many among 300 fashion-conscious Washingtonians who attended Nordstrom’s Fall 2007 Designer Preview benefit on Tuesday felt guilty about their passion for clothing, though. The entire $125 each spent for the privilege of mingling with fellow style-philes and perusing the fall collections for an evening went to Knock Out Abuse Against Women. The event expected to raise $37,500 for an organization that promotes awareness of domestic violence and contributes to shelters that provide support and protection for victims.

This year’s event took place in the Great Hall of the National Building Museum, a new, more spacious location for the cause. It gave patrons plenty of room to prey on items such as the black Christian Dior short boots ($690), which a Nordstrom retail associate expected would go quickly, as one store reportedly was down to just two pairs.

Focus soon shifted from cocktails to cocktail dresses as guests took their seats and 30 models strode across a 40-square-foot runway backed by walls displaying video patterns of colorful cityscapes and throbbing black-and-white images.

The room gave a collective gasp of delight when Christian Dior’s first model emerged in an enormous magenta cowboy hat topped with a black bow.

“I haven’t seen anything that makes me want to run out and tear my clothes off to try it on,” confided patron Georgia Fortune before the show, seeing a collection of so-called pre-fall fashions on racks around the room.

But afterward, stylish ladies of all ages hovered around their favorite pieces, awaiting a turn to try on and place advance orders for fashions from designers including Valentino, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana and Missoni.

“This could be hazardous for my health — or my wallet,” Lisa Gordon said.

Event chairwoman Grace Bender charmed in a fuchsia cropped jacket that seemed to jump right off the runway, as many of the fall collections featured berry shades.

“Enjoy the desserts,” Miss Bender advised. “Because the clothes don’t come in until July and August.”

Other patrons included Wilma Bernstein, Debra Lee, Ann Hand, Gabriella Moreno, Lisa Pumphrey, Judy Esfandiary, Patti Andringa and Gail West.

— Amanda Lewis

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