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With the Oscars a distant memory and Emmy nomination announcements set for July 20, award season is on its ever-shrinking hiatus. Yet requests for complementary gowns, jewels and other products and services keep coming, the cause having shifted from celebrity to charity.

scsnts“I never say no to a cause,” said Rita Watnick, an owner of vintage couture boutique Lily et Cie and one of Friday night’s honorees at the West Side Center for Independent Living benefit at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. The Beverly Hills boutique is widely credited with sparking the vintage couture craze among young Hollywood.

New and vintage Versace, Yves Saint Laurent and Halston were among the two dozen A-list designer gowns and accessories contributed to the auction and fashion show.

“I’ve always given,” continued Watnick, dressed in a Fifties Balenciega gown. “But I’ve never done anything as active as this. When WCIL said they wanted to honor me and Michael Stoyla, my partner, we said the only way we would do it is if we could give them something, like a runway show.”

The gala raised more than $80,000 and attracted such young starlets as Angela Featherstone, Rose McGowan and event co-host Jessica Capshaw, as well as their society pals, who amicably competed for donated swag from Katayone Adeli, Chrome Hearts, Flier Furs of Beverly Hills, Lena Wald, Badgley Mischka, Ghost, and many others. Even Zandra Rhodes, a part-time resident of Southern California’s seaside town of Del Mar, turned up to admire her vintage frocks at the auction and on the runway.

What isn’t offered in product donation or financial contribution is volunteered in services. Stylist Lori Goldstein, MAC makeup artists, and L.A. models delivered Friday’s fashion show. The following night, the MAC crew, L.A. and Ford Models, Graham Webb hair artists and other agencies turned out for the LA Style: Couture with a Cause production at the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica.

More than 750 turned out for Saturday’s presentation, which highlighted couture from Oscar de la Renta for the house Pierre Balmain and Richard Tyler’s men’s and women’s lines, as well as ready-to-wear from Caroline Herrera. Tyler provided a gown for the live auction, held during dinner, as did William Beranek, who donated several dresses. Other participants included footwear designers George Esquivel and Jimmy Choo. Proceeds benefit Athletes and Entertainers for Kids, a youth outreach program, and scholarship fund for underprivileged students attending the Otis School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.

Not all charitable efforts happen under the bright chandeliers of a gala. New York-based Fashion Takes Action recruited Los Angeles-based celebrity stylist Jessica Paster, Emmy-nominated wardrobe designer Wendy Benbrook Fox, MADD TV stylist Christina Mongini and others to spend Tuesday shopping with six women for career wardrobes at Sears in Torrance. The program, created by Sears, Roebuck & Co. and partnered with the national nonprofit Women Work, assists women in transition to the workplace from homeless shelters, public assistance and situations involving domestic violence.

It’s also not a bad way to get noticed. This Sunday, local designer Alicia Lawhon will unveil her new line, AL Recycled Clothing, in a fashion show and silent auction at nightclub 360 for Friendly House, a nonprofit organization that helps women recovering from substance abuse. Lawhon, who will be joined by Red Hot Chili Pepper Anthony Kiedis and actress Ione Sky, is dedicating the event to the memory of her friend and Friendly House fund-raiser, Joan Ashby.

“Unless there is really public awareness for a cause these days, it is all about who participates in the charity,” added Watnick. “I know fashion is something that everyone is interested in. And they love it, everyone wants to do it now.”

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