Couture and Cocktails at Ophelia's Wardrobe Event

Dressing like an heiress -- in this instance, the famous fashionista Doris Duke -- was the passionate goal of shoppers and celebrants at the chic Ophelia’s Wardrobe preview event held at the Wakehurst mansion last weekend.  The second benefit for Child & Family Services’ Ophelia program, which serves the needs of teen age girls and their families, the preview party brought out tout Newport, with over 250 guests attending.

Peter DiBari and Mary Ambrogi

Staged by Richard Carbotti of Newport’s Perfect Surroundings, the architecturally distinguished mansion was transformed into the four seasons, with rooms devoted to each, and staged and lighted accordingly.  The grand entrance and staircase were draped in swaths of red chiffon, and a vignette of jewelry and a magnificent dress were placed under the landing.

Women’s Wear Daily, the  bible of the fashion industry, ran a calendar item  earlier, LOOKING LIKE DORIS, urging fans of the iconic heiress to attend the sale from anywhere.  Quoted was event chair Mary Ambrogi: “In addition to Ms. Duke’s outfits, we have assembled an unbelievable collection of unique vintage and designer clothing, hats, handbags, shoes and accessories.”

The question for celebrity auctioneer, ABC6-TV’s Steve Cascione,  was

Angela Moore and Steve Cascione

not “weather” but “whether” the bidders at the auction of Doris Duke’s couture clothing would take home vintage clothes from such brilliant Paris couturiers as Coco Chanel, Valentino, and Yves St. Laurent. And they did, with the highest bid reaching $750 for the Chanel blazer.

Newport Restoration Foundation President Pieter Roos said that the NRF had arranged for the donation of Miss Duke’s clothing from a private party.  The NRF oversees Rough Point, Doris Duke’s fabled Bellevue Avenue Estate,  and Colonial houses throughout Newport, restored with funds from the foundation created by  Miss Duke.

Ed Lavalle and Pieter Roos

Mary Ambrogi welcomed guests inside, and C&F Vice President of Institutional Advancement Keith Tavares stood at the entrance, personally greeting arrivals.  Director of the Ophelia program Sharon Rust-Bottone attended with her mother. President & CEO of Child & Family Services Peter DiBari watched the auction intently, and  honorary chair Ruth Orthwein chatted with Ellen Barnes and John Sawicki. Newport councilman Stephen Coyne donated hundreds of pairs of designer shoes, which were tried on by shoppers Elizabeth Lewis and Pat Steel.  Hat designer Lisa Stubbs looked at the vintage dresses.  Artist Eveline Roberge appreciated the surroundings and décor, and party goers Mary Riggs, Jean DiBona and Mickey Micarelli shopped until they dropped upon a settee.

Angela Moore, there with husband Gary Moore, served as commentator for the fashion show. Jolene Sarkis and Charlie Sarkis, Brenda Carlin and Jim Carlin, sculptress Pat FernandezKay Warden, and Cora Saccucci walked through the rooms and admired the sale’s numerous items.

Gentlemen, including Bernie Nemtzow, Robert Amarantes, and ABC6-TV’s Steve Doerr, perused a classic Turnbull & Asser topcoat and a selection of men’s wear in the room designated as Winter, the décor  a frosty black and white.


Modeling the vintage couture were Carolyn Van Patten, Eileen Marcuvitz, Ashley Bickford, Kim Matthews, Kelly Marot, Karen Megley and Amy Hoxsie-Quinn.

Sharon Rust-Bottone

Jean DiBona and Eveline Roberge

Rory Mann and Kristin Freeman

Robert Amarantes shopping

Carolyn van Patten modeling

Gary Moore

Athena Paleologos

Lisa Stubbs

1940's vintage couture dress

Pat Steel and Elizabeth Lewis


Community Service Dir. of C&F. Ruth Thumbtzen


Turnbull & Asser topcoat


"Winter" fashion vignette


Jean DiBona, Event designer Richard  Carbotti


Patrick Sullivan, Faith Attilli, Keith Tavares


Kathleen Weibel, Event Chair Mary Ambrogi


Mary Riggs, Ellen Barnes and John Sawicki


 Wakehurst foyer


Awaiting the fashion show


Laura Flynn shows a find to Colleen McGrath


Decision made


Honorary chair Ruth Orthwein and Mary Ambrogi


Eileen Marcuvitz modeling


Mickey Micarelli and Jean DiBona


Ashley Bickford modeling


Anne Cucchiaro and Paul Eckhart


Lansdale Patterson


Kelley Marot in Valentino


Ally Coulter and Katharine Haines


Karen Megley in Chanel


Models line up for the auction


The entrance to Wakehurst

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