Nancy takes centre stage during gala fashion show

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[Pat McDonagh chosen to represent the Canadian Fur Industry at the International Summit Fashion Show before Nancy Reagan and the wives of World Leaders]

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Nancy takes centre stage during gala fashion show
By Shelley page and Bernadette Merra
Toronto Star

A glittering stoke of luck helped US First Lade Nancy Reagan steal the spotlight at the Summit Gala fashion show last night.

As the models made their final trip up the runway ay the Royal Ontario Museum, Reagan stood up from her ringside seat and plucked a fallen earring off the stage, offering it up to the model as news cameras flashed.

The hand-picked audience of 316 burst into applause as Reagan smiled and the other wives were left in the shadows.

Even after the show had ended, people were buzzing about Nancy’s coup. But Mila Mulroney thought the gesture came out of concern for the models and not “to steal anything.” her press aide said later.

Yesterday was the first day the wives of the Economic Summit leaders had time together.

The Prime Minister’s wife wanted an evening to show off Canada’s creativity to the women from around the world.

Ontario designers

The show was presented by the province of Ontario and the ministry of industry, trade and technology.

Mulroney, Shelley Peterson, Brenda Eggleton and Margaret Flynn were the hosts.

Although there were no shocking fashion statements from the 13 fashion designers chosen to strut their stuff, the event was an elegant presentation.

It also proved to be just what the wives needed to break the ice.

Between the dozen gorgeous male models and the surprise appearance of teenage model Monika Schanarre, the formerly reserved wived were soon whispering comments into each other’s ears.

“That one is pretty, isn’t it?” Reagan said, pointing to a ruffled orange jacket designed by Winston Kong. The last fashion show she attended was two years ago in Malaysia.

Premier David Peterson sat among the chatting wives, his arm crossed and an occasional amused smirk on his face as he viewed the fashions.

The holiday and evening wear collections included sleek suede evening dresses by Dominic Bellissimo, cool and romantic chiffon designed by Zapata and garden party ballgowns from Pat McDonagh, who also designed Shelley Peterson’s chartreuse peplum suit.

Evening ensembles

After a day of official welcomes at Nathan Phillips Square, the wives had changed into their chosen evening ensembles for the event: Reagan in a straightforward red and black print dress, Mulroney in a summery white flower print, Naoko Takeshita in an elegant Chanel-style dress, Hannelore Kobi in sparkling sequined beige chiffon and a simple peach dress for Amma Maria De Mita.

The children modelling the pretty party wear of Elvira Vali and Elen Henderson seemed to please the women most.

Despite all the glitter, the Summit Galas has been dubbed the fashion show with the tightest security in Canadian history.

Sharpshooters sat perched on neighboring buildings as the first motorcade arrived just after 5pm with Mulroney and her daughter Caroline, 14.

Security officers jumped in front of the Prime Minister’s wife as she stepped from her car to walk up the red carpet to the front door of the museum.

Stall for time

A crowd of onlookers gathered across the street from the museum was delighted when Reagan and her throng of security guards took an extra turn around the block before stopping.

They had accidentally arrived before the motorcade carrying the wife of Japanese Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita. To avoid confusing security, they had to stall for time.

Finally, a few minutes late, six carloads of security agents, a blue van carrying a half-dozen more, and eight officers on motorcycles delivered Reagan to the door.

“We wanted to see the college,” Reagan called out to reporters as she attempted to explain her impromptu detour around the University of Toronto.

Asked whether she was enjoying her trip to Toronto, she said “Yes, very much so”.

Among those on the dinner’s guest list were Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s brother, Gary, and Mila’s sister, Ivana Pivnicki.

Head-table guests included Mrs. Reagan, Mrs. Mulroney, Supreme Court of Ontario Justice Allan Linden and Victoria and John Eaton.

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