Something wonderful happens when people come together with a common goal to do good works. A shining example of that was the recent Gentlemen’s Haberdashery, held April 18 at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel. This was the 35th year of the haberdashery, started three decades ago by Supervisor Riley and his wife Emma Jane. George and Eden O’Connell came on board as co-chairs following Supervisor Riley’s passing, along with Tony and Melinda Moiso. Funds raised are for the Heart of Jesus Retreat Center in Santa Ana, and the Sacred Heart Sisters. The event is still going strong. In fact, this year’s proceeds were in excess of $300,000.

“This event is what helps us make it from one year to the next,” said Sister Paula Sawhill. “It covers day-to-day operations as well as capital improvements.”

While Moiso and O’Connell (and their wives) are now recognized as honorary chairpersons, the next generation is taking the helm of this important event – the primary fundraiser for the retreat center, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary. Frandy and Jeremy Laster and Trina and Marc Lamkin now co-chair the annual event. Over the years, according to Jeremy Laster, some 338,000 people have visited the retreat center.

The ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton was packed with supporters who enjoyed champagne, lunch and a spring fashion show that included some of the most notable gentlemen in Orange County.

Antonio Cagnolo, owner of Antonello Ristorante near South Coast Plaza, was among the models. He’s been supporting the sisters and this event for the past 34 years. “It’s been a privilege to help,” Cagnolo said. “I grew up in a small town and since I was a year-and-a-half old I was raised by sisters.”

Most of the gentlemen modeled the fashions individually or with a young woman on their arm. It was a group effort, however, when Mater Dei Head Coach Bruce Rollinson, Vicar General for the Diocese of Orange Father Steve Sallot, and Patrick Murphy, president of Mater Dei, walked the catwalk together. Dressed in summer wear from Gary’s, the trio then took advantage of the moment and unbuttoned their shirts to reveal Mater Dei t-shirts, complete with school logos.

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