Getting ready for glittery gala events

San Francisco’s top fall cultural festivities are almost here. The Opera Ball Sept. 7 launches San Francisco Opera’s 85th season, its first full season under General Director David Gockley, and the San Francisco Symphony’s 96th season Opening Gala Sept. 19 features the sublime pairing of Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and soprano Renée Fleming.

Patrons of both events already are celebrating the arts season. Last week, the San Francisco Symphony Patrons’ Tasting at McCall Associates included on its guest list gala chair Margaret Liu Collins as well as board president John Goldman, dinner chair Anita Wornick, Barbara Brookins-Schneider and Laura King Pfaff.

Meanwhile, Opera Ball co-chairs Cheryl Baxter and Marybeth La Motte, along with Opera Guild president Teresa Medearis, dinner co-chair Charlot Malin, board member Patricia Ferrin Loucks and event designer Robert Fountain, were at Paula Le Duc Fine Foods Thursday, enjoying sumptuous fare and wines in preparation for the Opera Ball.

These are nights of glamour and enchantment. Think of it: fashion house Emmanuel Ungaro and jeweler Boucheron are among the Opera Ball’s sponsors. The gala’s theme is “Samson and Delilah,” after the Camille Saint-Saëns opera that opens the season.

Macy’s is underwriting the Symphony’s Opening Night Gala Dinner (the theme is “Diva”); Wells Fargo and Yahoo are among the other corporate sponsors.

Everybody is talking fashion. Here’s your chance to get a sneak peak at what some of The City’s stylemakers will be wearing:

At the Opera, Medearis is wearing a one-of-a-kind Bill Blass, a cinnamon paisley silk chiffon strapless gown with embroidered bodice and matching stole.

Victoria Kornblum ( Opera Ball 2005 co-chairwoman) is wearing a pale gold Stephen Yearick with bolero jacket. Katie Jarman (Opera Ball 2005 co-chairwoman) is wearing a graphite gray satin gown by Robert Danes. Patricia Ferrin Loucks is wearing a Monique Lhuillier forest-green draped toga-style dress with rhinestones and Middle Eastern silk bronze shawl, with a Chanel bronze bag.

Charlot Malin is wearing a black eyelet Balenciaga gown. Barbara Walkowski is wearing Robert Danes: satin charmeuse and crepe with a ruched bodice and softly draped skirt.

Stephanie Losee is wearing a gown from an unusual source. The bottle-green silk dress with a green feathered bodice is from “Project Runway’s” first season. It went down the runway at Olympus Fashion Week in New York as part of the finalé; Losee won it at auction the week the finalé aired.

At the symphony, gala chair Liu Collins will wear Colleen Quen; dinner co-chair Anita Wornick will be in Lily Samii; dinner co-chair Karen Jung will be in Valentino and the eternally fashionable Yurie Pascarella will be in Oscar de la Renta.

While Boucheron is featuring special “Samson and Delilah” pieces, you don’t have to be a socialite to garner a great gown or fabulous jewels.

Everybody can get into the mix with best-dressed Clara Shayevich’s new favorite: famed Ukrainian designer Oksana’s one-of-a-kind ball gowns, all made from Italian fabric with handcrafted embroidery and lace from France, at fabulous prices. They will be featured in a private showing at the Clift Hotel today and Friday; call (415) 487-5504 for an appointment.

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