The Colleagues Spring Luncheon

Oscar de la Renta’s Dramatic Fashions and Wallis Annenberg’s Surprise at The Colleagues Spring Luncheon


Wallis Annenberg, this year’s honoree at The Colleagues Spring Luncheon, couldn’t have provided a happier ending to the Apr. 9 afternoon.

In accepting the Colleagues Champion of Children Award, she announced her $500,000 gift to the Children’s Institute, Inc., thereby more than doubling the day’s proceeds. 

Annenberg’s surprise contribution sent a shock wave through the audience at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, prompting the 700 guests to jump to their feet and applaud. While honorees often make a donation to causes honoring them, such generosity was clearly unexpected.

The luncheon also offered one of the L.A. social season’s most dramatically beautiful runway shows: the Oscar de la Renta spring 2013 collection of dresses, suits, cocktail frocks and long formals. There, too, were proper ball gowns with skirts so voluminous that I couldn’t help wondering how the wearer could navigate through a crowd or fit into a typical chair. (Check out a sampling of the collection in the photo gallery below.)

Judging from the elegant, eye-catching fashions in the show, it was easy to understand why de la Renta is such a favorite of the stars. In the last few months alone, the designer’s gowns have been spotted on Taylor Swift, Nicole Kidman, Amy Adams, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Biel, Elle Fanning and others. (See “Who’s Been Wearing Oscar de la Renta Lately?”)  

Wendy Burch of the KTLA Morning News hosted the luncheon and introduced Colleagues president Alexandra Dwek; de la Renta’s daughter, Eliza Reed Bolen, a company vice president; and former congressman David Dreier, who presented Annenberg’s award.

“When you’re fortunate enough to be able to give back,” said Annenberg in accepting her award, “the question very quickly becomes, how do you make an actual difference?”

She then explained that she looks for innovators, game-changers and other people who are creating new models, who can then spread their story. In doing so, she praised the Children’s Institute for their work on behalf of at-risk youngsters. 

Anne Johnson chaired the event; with Nancy Reagan (not present) and Betsy Bloomingdale as honorary co-chairs. Co-chairs were Jane Ackerman, Topsy Doheny, Jenny Jones, Lauren King, Debbie Lanni, Mary Martin, Mary Milner, Wendy Stark Morrissey, Carolyn Powers, Ginny Sydorick, Barbera Thornhill and Chardee Trainer.

Also on hand were Beatrice Bohlen, Charlie Annenberg, Sherry Lansing, Annette O’Malley, Lori Milken, Eunice David, Alice Avery, Eric Dane, Rebecca Gayheart Dane, Justine Bloomingdale, Betsy Bloomingdale, Eva Stern, Pat Ryan, Barbara Davis, Nancy Davis, Teran Davis, Arletta Tronstein, Jamie McCourt, Sue Niven, Marna Schnabel, Marcia Hobbs, Joni Smith, Kathy Hilton, Donanne Kasikci and Gelila Puck.

The Children’s Institute, Inc., helps youngsters affected by violence, abuse, neglect or other trauma. To raise funds throughout the year, the Colleagues operate a Thrift Shop in Santa Monica.

Oscar de la Renta and the high-fashion jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels co-sponsored the luncheon.


Top photo: Honoree Wallis Annenberg, center, surrounded by from left, Alexandra Dwek, The Colleagues president; Boaz Mazor, Oscar de la Renta executive at large; Eliza Reed Bolen, Oscar de la Renta vice president; and Wendy Burch of KTLA Morning News, the day’s host at The Colleagues Spring Luncheon 2013 (photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)   

Second photo: Co-chairs of The Colleagues Spring Luncheon 2013 from left, Mary Milner, Barbera Thornhill, Anne Johnson, Jenny Jones, Lauren King, Alexandra Dwek, Debbie Lanni, Mary Martin, Ginny Sydorick and Chardee Trainer (photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Third photo: Fashions from Oscar De La Renta at The Colleagues Spring Luncheon 2013 (Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Fourth photo: Iconic movie executive Sherry Lansing, left, with Eliza Reed Bolen, vice president at Oscar de la Renta at The Colleagues Spring Luncheon 2013 (Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)



Barbara Walters Presents Award to Sherry Lansing at The Colleagues Spring Luncheon 2012 and Oscar de la Renta Fashion Show

The Colleagues Honor Nancy Reagan at 2011 Luncheon and Oscar de la Renta Fashion Show

Highlights of April the Los Angeles Social Calendar: Duets for Breast Cancer, a SuperStar-Studded Spring Break, The MOCA Gala, Seth Rogen’s House Party and Much More 

Jason Bateman, Jason Alexander, Emmy Rossum, Beth Behrs, Big Bang Theory & More Go Broadway for A Night At Sardi’s Honoring Brian Grazer and Jill Gascoine  

Actor Tim Allen and Artist Lari Pittman Deliver Tributes to the Walt Disney Company and Artist Catherine Opie at the REDCAT Gala With Emcee Jack Black 

Dinner Under the Wings of Endeavour With Debbie Allen, Space VIPs, Astronauts and Others at the California Science Center’s Amazing Discovery Ball

Edgar Arceneaux, Charles Gaines, John Baldessari, Ann Magnuson, Joey Arias Among the Creative at REDCAT Gala 2012

Artistic Directors Colleen Neary and Thordal Christensen Kick Off Los Angeles Ballet Balanchine Festival and Rubies Gala

Octavia Spencer and Cathy Schulman of Women In Film Fete Oscar Nominees, including Jessica Chastain, Quvenzhane Wallis, Jacki Weaver, David O. Russell and Others 

Gisele Bundchen Hosts Mario Testino Opening at PRISM, Joined by Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian, Whitney Cummings and an A-list of Artists, Models, Actors and Other Guests

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The Colleagues Spring Luncheon 2013

Published Apr. 10, 2013 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA