SF: Helpers House Of Couture Remembers Oscar de la Renta

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Oscar de la Renta gowns on display at Helpers House of Couture

Photo Credit: Laura Morton

As San Francisco Bay Area fashionistas prepare to descend on Lake Tahoe this coming weekend for Saks Fifth Avenue’s and The League to Save Lake Tahoe’s highly-anticipated, annual luncheon and fashion show featuring the Oscar de la Renta Resort 2016 Collection, the life of the iconic fashion designer was celebrated on July 26 at the 7th anniversary of Helpers House of Couture San Francisco.

Helpers’ collection of gowns designed by de la Renta, who lost his graceful battle to cancer on Oct. 20, 2014, were presented at the afternoon event, a benefit for Helpers, the charity run by the tireless Joy Venturini Bianchi to help those who are developmentally disabled. De la Renta was remembered fondly at Sunday’s event, which was attended by Fran Hegeler, Belinda Berry, Virgina De Maria, Elizabeth Merrill, Roberto Rosas and Tim Whalen, to name a few.

Celebrating its seventh year, Helpers House of Couture, open by appointment only, houses an impressive collection of fashion for women and men, jewelry and accessories. Items range from $10 to $20,000.

“Fashion is a personal expression of the inner beauty of each of us,” Venturini Bianchi says. “It is a vehicle that Helpers uses to bring attention to the inner beauty of those precious, special people who are developmentally disabled. The fashions purchased at Helpers House of Couture are ambassadors in themselves for those who have no voice.”

Fashionistas and Helpers supporters will also want to save the date of Oct. 17, 2015 for “Celebrating Life through Fashion A Retrospective: Collection of Joy Venturini Bianchi,” taking place at the Hedge Gallery in San Francisco. The board of directors of the charity where Bianchi has spent 62 years will host the retrospective that will take a look back on Bianchi’s collection of timeless garments, all of which will be bequeathed to Helpers at the end of her life to assist those whom she loved dearly during her marathon commitment to Helpers. During Bianchi’s lifetime, Helpers opened three residential homes for those who are developmentally disabled (1963), a workshop, Helpers Bazaar, Ghirardelli Square (1966) and Helpers House of Couture, San Francisco (2008). Bianchi’s personal collection will encompass six decades–1960’s to 2014 and include a bevy of designers, including de la Renta.

This is truly the week for de la Renta, who was adored by women worldwide but especially by those in the Bay Area. The fashion house that bears his name lives on with Peter Copping serving as creative director. This marks Copping’s inaugural year attending the Lake Tahoe fashion show, now in its 46th year. The tradition dates back to the late sixties when designer Bill Blass started showing his collection to a few loyal clients and friends at Lake Tahoe. Since then, it has evolved into a widely anticipated fundraising event for the League to Save Lake Tahoe. Once again, the show will take place at the Schumacher Family estate on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. Approximately 600 guests will enjoy a sit-down luncheon, a full-scale fashion show of the Oscar de la Renta Resort 2016 Collection, a live auction and a backstage shopping opportunity after the show.


Photography by Laura Morton