The Crowd: Grayse fashion show benefits victims of Asian hate crimes

A fashionable August summer unfolds on the California Riviera. Pandemic weary fashionistas have sprung back into action, praying not to be sidelined by Delta, yet boldly gathering around the catwalk.

Newport’s world-renown designer Marie St. John Gray joined her talented designer daughter Kelly Gray of the luxury brand Grayse in a partnership with Asian Hall of Fame to present a Grayse fashion show benefiting a charity assisting recent Asian hate crime victims.

Unfolding July 29 in the Grayse Newport Beach boutique, the red-carpet fashion show was the first live event for the line since 2019. A fresh new collection hit the runway featuring celebrity models Kristen Lui, Shireen Crutchfield and Lindy Flowers.

In the crowd were Jaqueline Thompson, Lily Liu, Elizabeth Gesser, Jane Lauren Atherton and Asian Hall of Fame president and chief executive Maki Hsieh. The fashion presentation will be live streamed at 2 p.m. Aug. 21 on the Asian Hall of Fame website.

Established in 2004, Asian Hall of Fame finds its mission in promoting global Asian excellence and equity. The organization advocates for some 4 billion Asians, Asian American Pacific Islanders and indigenous tribes worldwide.

August also welcomes the Danish fashion house of Ganni producing a “pop-up” boutique at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. Organizers are billing the summer store, “Let’s Go Outside.” The two-week long happening was named after the brand’s eponymous exclusive capsule collection.

“Let’s Go Outside” pop-up at South Coast Plaza with fashions provided by Ganni.

(Franco Chen)

“The capsule pays homage to the great outdoors in the summer and reconnecting with nature. The collection is inspired by the Ganni Girls’ spirit of adventure and love for spending their summer days and nights outside. The exclusive capsule is made of RTW and accessories made using certified recycled and organic materials jackets and vests with playful Ganni slogans and fused together feminine details with technical outdoor feel,” offered Ditte Reffstrup, representing Ganni.

Coming up Aug. 19 at South Coast Plaza the nonprofit Dragon Kim Foundation joins with handbag brand Hammitt presenting six teenage fashion designers committed to upcycling and environmentalism. It is the latest trend in socially responsible design with young designers at the forefront of transforming recycled materials into vibrant styles. The event will unfold at the Hammitt store and it is being called appropriately “Youth in Fashion.”

The teen designers have created original handbags. Participants will include Orange Lutheran High School student Rylen Schmid, Rosemary Academy student Ayan Mohommed, Samueli Academy students Ri Gomez and Gina Buitron and Cypress High School students George Iyalomhe and Ayden Quichocho.

Karen Noonan and Susan Lawson are co-chairing the Summer Garden Party 2021 unfolding at Sherman Library and Gardens.

Karen Noonan and Susan Lawson are co-chairing the upcoming Summer Garden Party 2021 unfolding at Sherman Library and Gardens Aug. 28.

(Beverly Morgan)

Coming Aug. 28, “Summer Garden Party 2021” unfolds at Sherman Library and Gardens, Corona del Mar. The crowd will dine in the romantic Sherman Tea Garden with Karen Noonan and Susan Lawson at the helm. The “in person” happening is a signature component of the 25th Annual Newport Beach Garden Tour (presented virtually in 2021, so it remains annual).

As one might expect, the garden party will feature a creative and fashionable hat contest organized by Stefanie Kristiansen along with an art show featuring “Pepper Tree” paintings from Ellen Small. Proceeds from the garden party will fund children’s educational programs offered by Sherman Gardens. Visit to learn more.

Guests will be dining in the garden at the Summer Garden Party 2021 at Sherman Library and Gardens on Aug. 28.

Guests will be dining in the garden at the Summer Garden Party 2021 at Sherman Library and Gardens on Aug. 28.

(Beverly Morgan)

On Aug. 28 one may visit Sherman Gardens by day, and then the Santa Ana Zoo that evening for Zoofari. The 29th annual black-tie gala zoo fundraiser, billed as “Treasure Island Adventure” produced by the Friends of Santa Ana Zoo (FOSAZ) will transform Prentice Park into a magical animal wonderland. Television newscaster Henry Di Carlo of KTLA will serve as emcee with an al fresco dinner prepared and served by the acclaimed Parties by Panache.

“Zoofari is a first-class fundraising event that demonstrates the love and investment that the local community, surrounding businesses and FOSAZ have for the Zoo,” said David Exline, president of the FOSAZ Board in a statement. “Our 2021 gala promises to be full of fun and laughter. Thank you to our local community, sponsors, and loyal FOSAZ members for their continued sponsorship and support of the Santa Ana Zoo. We have an awesome master plan in play at the Zoo and are accomplishing so much thanks to the Zoo’s amazing leadership team, staff, and all those who support and advocate for the Zoo.”

According to Cathi Decker, event manager and executive director of FOSAZ, Zoofari continues to “play an integral role in raising the funds needed for all the special projects and improvements going on here at our favorite community zoo including educational programs, breaking ground on new animal habitats, tackling important conservation initiatives, introducing new rides and upgrading service facilities for our guests to use and enjoy.”

For ticket information and reservations visit

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