Costume Council Celebrates its 20th Birthday with Fashion Among the Very Fashionable

On September 17 a fashionable parade of guests gathered at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. The occasion was not only to support the Costume Council of the San Diego Historical Society, but to view over 100 couture outfits that have never been collectively viewed.

Mary Drake ** Elisabeth Bergan and 2009 Best Dressed Susie Spanos

Pam Cesak ** Colette Carson Royston with Valerie Cooper


The outfits were on loan from San Diego’s best and fun dressed sort. Iris Strauss loaned a custom Christian Lacroix from Paris that she wore to the 1997 San Diego Opera Gala she chaired, Ann Jones loaned a custom Bill Blass that she wore to her daughter Julie Smitherman’s wedding, Valerie Cooper loaned a Bob Mackie gown that she wore to a San Diego Opera gala and then later to the Prince of Wales Trust Dinner at Buckingham Palace, Mary Drake loaned a white Chanel dress that she wore for her wedding, and Colette Royston loaned a colorful Bob Mackie dress that brings back fond memories of a Monte Carlo fundraiser event that she wore it too.

Guests mixed among Speedo clad male models and ‘briefly’ clad female models who were embellished with graffiti consisting of couture names like Chanel, Prado and Dior.

Light in calorie appetizers were served. After all fashionistas don’t eat said the invite. Appetizers might have been light, but the fashion viewing was heavy duty fun!

As committee member Jeff Dunigan re-iterated the event’s theme, “Fashion is so self-centered.”

The theme was fun but it has a serious side too as noted by San Diego Historical Society Executive Director David Kahn. “Funds generated by the event will help support the preservation and exhibition of the San Diego Historical Society’s costume collection, which is one of the largest and most important on the West Coast.”

It was well enjoyed too.

“Amazing clothes and stories from wonderful women in this community - it made history very current and a lot of fun!” said Kate Adams.

“Loved seeing all those dresses gently moving in the breeze on a perfect Chamber of Commerce San Diego night in one of San Diego’s treasures – that wonderful organ pavilion,” said Event Co-Founder Judy Smith. “What stories those dresses told! Part of the fun was matching the dresses to their owners – amazing how many people made the match – we really are what we wear in many ways. It seemed like a charming get-together of old friends reminiscing about past San Diego events through those amazing clothes.”

"Clothes are but a symbol of something hid deep beneath," noted Virginia Woolf in 1928.

This evening everything was out in the open for all to enjoy. Among the fun and fashionable there was Jeanne Jones, La Vonnya Fisher, Susie Spanos, Roxi Link, Michala Lawrence, Bea Epsten, Rana Sampson, Karen Sickels, Karon Luce, Judi Freeman, Kathleen Buoymaster, Valerie Lee, Peggy Matthews, Brittany Simpson, Susan McClellan, Janet Sutter, Suzan Black, Joyce Glazer, Sheryl White, and Carol Chang.

Committee members who made this event happen included Kate Adams, Karen Cohn, Katy Dessent, Jeffrey Dunigan, Ann Jones, Virginia Monday, Pam Palisoul, Judy Smith, Dixie Unruh, David Kahn, and Barbara ZoBell.

Event Co-Founder Barbara ZoBell noted this. “Everyone loved a peek into some of the best closets in town. Fantastic clothes of all kinds.”

All kinds indeed. This reporter loaned a custom surf outfit by Chasa Vollaro and hand painted surf helmet with cheetah motif by Jeff Alexander. Four legged German Boxer daughter Kima was not to be left out. Kima’s custom burgundy holiday gown by Jemima Dutra was on view too. It’s embellished with red roses.

To learn more about the San Diego Historical Society, visit

Please enjoy the photos.

If you wish to purchase photos, please email your inquiry. No downloading of photos without express written permission by The Social Diary thank you.


'Model Conversation'

2009 Best Dressed Jennifer Greenfield with husband Dr. Richard Greenfield

Veryl Mortenson having a double VIP laugh! ** Michala Lawrence ** Rana Sampson

Carol Karlovich ** Mary Walker

Mahjuba Levine with Gilbert Meza ** Guest with Elisabeth Bergan

The Social Diary reporter Margo Schwab in Jordan Art Couture ** Bob Stefanko talking with Valerie Cooper and May Zawaideh

Judy Smith with David Kahn

Sheryl White with Karen Cohn

Valerie Cooper with Pat O'Connor of FCC

The Scene

Eloisa Haudenschild with Maria Siani

'Strike A Pose' ** David Marino with Jennifer Greenfield

Committee Members - most pictured, included - Kate Adams, Karen Cohn, Katy Dessent, Jeffrey Dunigan, Ann Jones, Virginia Monday, Pam Palisoul, Judy Smith, Dixie Unruh, David Kahn, and Barbara ZoBell

Judy Smith with David Kahn and Virginia Monday

La Vonnya Fisher ** Bea Epsten

Chris Haudenschild with Mary Drake and Maria Siani

Dr. Richard Greenfield checking out his wife Jennifer Greenfield's fashionably attired backside

... definitely got the doctor's okay!!

Fran Golden

Tanya McAnear with her models

Judy Smith with Betty Kornreich

Marsha Shahon in Missoni ** Carol Chang

Lynelle Lynch with Jessica Wadley

Don Breitenberg with Jeanne Jones

Kima's reversible Christmas Dress by Jemima Dutra

Valerie Cooper with Don Breitenberg and Jeanne Jones


reported by Margo Schwab wearing Jordan Art Couture. This photo Margo's custom surf outfit by Chasa Rae Vollaro and custom surf helmet painted by artist and surf pioneer, Jeff Alexander. (surf outfit is next to Lael Kovtun's favorite leathers!)


The Buzz


Yummy Romance at Tapenade with the San Diego Opera


The San Diego Opera is pleased to announce the return of “Taste of Opera,”at some of San Diego’s hottest restaurants.   

Coming up....


Tapenade, La Jolla
Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 6:30 PM, 7612 Fay Avenue, La Jolla.
Join Dr. Nicolas Reveles as he talks about romantic French operas and Romeo and Juliet. 
$40 per person for 1 glass wine, prix fixe menu, tip & tax.
visit Taste of Opera for details.


Upcoming Events


October 16th - The Rainforest Alliance will host its gala. It promises to be 'wild' fun!


October 17th - Sundt Memorial Fundraiser.


October 17th - The Rancho Coastal Humane Society will host its Animal House fundraiser. For details please visit


October 22nd - The Walden Family Services will host their 6th Annual wine D'Vine event. Please visit for more details.


October 24th - A Reason To Survive or ARTS will be hosting a fun fundraiser. Please visit for details.


October 28th - Tapenade, La Jolla at 6:30 PM
7612 Fay Avenue, La Jolla. Join Dr. Nicolas Reveles as he talks about romantic French operas and Romeo and Juliet. 
$40 per person for 1 glass wine, prix fixe menu, tip & tax.
visit Taste of Opera for details.


November 7th - The Golden Hangers / FCC benefit for Make-A-Wish and San Diego Variety Children's Network.


November 13th - Scripps Mercy Hospital will host its 2nd Annual 'Dressed to the Nth Degree' evening featuring San Diego's 10 best dressed women and 10 best dressed men as chosen by Leonard Simpson. Michael Neil will be the Honorary Chair. For details and tickets please visit:


Photoshopping and Photography Services

Photos on this website available if it is of you

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~ 619-384-7333




Email Commentary to be added


What great photos!! Lots of fun and lots of thank you!!! - Barbara ZoBell


Party Archives




* Margo Schwab, more formally known as Margaret E. Schwab, has produced, written, interviewed and photographed for various media organizations since 1989. Schwab attended Holton Arms School, La Jolla Country Day School and La Jolla High School. Schwab has a B.A. from Scripps College, spent a business internship with S.A.I.C., Science Applications International Corporation, and earned a Masters of Business degree, M.B.A., from the University of San Diego. The first part of her M.B.A. was spent at Claremont Graduate School. Schwab additionally took college courses from Harvard University, and Syracuse University. Schwab volunteers for numerous charity organizations. She also continues to support animal organizations and the prevention of people and animal abuse. Schwab is the editor of The Social Diary.

Margo Schwab and Scott Johnston of the Social Diary are pleased to announce partnerships with the San Diego Humane Society, San Diego News Network and now, San Diego Home & Garden Magazine.



The Social Diary would like to say a special thank you to our advertisers.


H. Moradi Jewelers on Prospect Street in La Jolla

Valerie and Harry Cooper, Patrons of the San Diego Opera

Valerie and Harry Cooper, Patrons of The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

Judith C. Harris, Blair Harris, and Robert Singer, MD supporting the

Dian Fossey Gorrilla Fund International

Dr. Laurie Marker of The Cheetah Conservation Fund

Pat O'Connor of Fashion Careers College

Pamela Pogue of Juelerie

Kary Favish of the Worth Collection

Diana Cavagnaro of Designer Millinery

Jacqueline and Matt Rimel of Rimel's Rotisserie, Zenbu Sushi and Restaurant, & Home Grown Meats

Jordan of Jordan Art Couture

Lizz Russell of The Lizz Russell Collection

Gary Parker of WineSellar & Brasserie

Chef Pasquale of Cafe Milano

Alex Gonzalez of Mercedes Benz of San Diego

Diane Bousquin of Holistic Traditions

Kevin Smith of Extreme Pizza in La Jolla

Jeremiah Sullivan of Neptunic Sharksuits

Drs. Sue and John Morizi of The Animal Hospital of La Jolla

Jemima Garcia Dutra of Dutra Designs

Eugene Ladopoulos of Mistra Estates Olive Oil



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