If the 60 or so local ladies at Saks Jandel last Friday needed another reason besides a preview of Oscar de la Renta’s Fall/Winter 2012 collection to get their shopping juices flowing, they had only to listen to an impassioned Barbara Bush speak about Global Health Corps. Bush, accompanied by her mother, former First Lady Laura Bush, a surprise, last-minute attendee at the private lunchtime affair inside the chi-chi Friendship Heights store, choked up during her speech while describing the work and progress she has seen as the CEO and Co-Founder of GHC, which benefited from a portion of the day’s sales. Bush’s organization, which this year will foster 216 young fellows at posts around the globe, primarily in Africa, aids in education and health initiatives, and was founded on principles that Bush learned while traveling to impoverished countries with her parents during her father’s time in the White House.
“What I’ve discovered is that emerging leaders are making an impact and we can continue to help,” said a teary Bush, clad in a knee-length, patterned Oscar de la Renta number, while encouraging well-heeled guests to shop the collection, “What better way than to buy dresses?”
Bush then introduced Eliza Bolen, who came to the event from New York in the place of her stepfather, Oscar, who was not well and unable to travel, per doctor’s orders. Bolen is vice president of licensing at OdlR; she remarked on the long and close relationship her family has had with the Bush family (which brought tears to her eyes), said that Oscar’s personal message to this crowd was, “SHOP!” . . . and then it was on with the show. The collection was filled with luxe floral embroidery, sequin appliques, touches of fur, tweeds, lots of metallic hues in gold and bronze, a burst of deep teal, sparkly high heels and sexy fishnet stockings–classic, traditional, but with a fabulously rich, modern twist.