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Animals Steal The Show At ARF Showhouse

Lee Fryd

Fern Mallis and Peter Hallock. (Photo: PatrickMcMullan.com)

In the Hamptons, ARF is probably responsible for more love stories than Match.com. Take Fern Mallis, the Honorary Chair of this year's Animal Rescue Fund of The Hamptons designer showhouse cocktail party. This is the fourth year the Thrift Shop presented six designer rooms, all for sale as well as show. Decorators John Bjornen, Suzanne Caldwell and Maria Greenlaw, Byron C. James, Zoe Hoare and Chris Mead, Scott Sanders and Rod Winterrowd, donated their time, creativity and some of their own pieces to create the affordable fantasy rooms. Gordon Hoppe, Gigi Mahon and Sandra McConnell chaired. Peter Hallock and Lisa McCarthy were Vice Chairs.

But it's the animals for adoption outside that stole the show.

"I got my little very precious cat named Dimples from an ARF van, just like the one outside," Mallis told us. It was almost two years ago, at a benefit for Little Fresh Pond that Fern's friend, IMG Models honcho Ivan Bart brought her into the van, and opened the door to the cage. Dimples rushed into her arms and has been there since. "The cats in there right now are so cute it's killing me," Mallis said. "It's the only way people should get their pets: rescue them from organizations like this."

Mallis created Fashion Week in NYC as Executive Director of the CFDA, before enjoying a television career judging "America's Next Top Model," "She's Got the Look," and four seasons of "Project Runway." She said she was off to India the next day for a board meeting of the country's largest gold and diamond exporter. "It's probably my 45th trip to India," she told us. "I'm always looking for my collection, 'Fern Finds,' on HSN."

"It's our 40th Anniversary which we're very proud of," Executive Director Sara Davison told us. "We've rescued about 20,000 animals, cats and dogs, kittens and puppies. And we're celebrating our thrift shop which provides 19% of our operating budget in revenue every year." One reason for their success: "We work very hard to make our animals as adoptable as possible. They're spayed and neutered, checked by veterinarians, micro chipped and vaccinated. We also work very hard to train the dogs if they stay with us for any length of time. And all the cats are litter box trained. So it's a great deal. You're getting a much better animal than a pet shop. And if you adopt you're making space for another animal."

This year's showhouse designer group shot - Sandra McConnell, Gigi Mahon, Gordon Hoppe, Fern Mallis, Scott Sanders, John Bjornen, Rod Winterrowd, Byron James, Maria Greenlaw, Suzanne Caldwell, Zoe Hoare. (Photo: PatrickMcMullan.com)

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