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Two visionaries honored along with city's 'XIX Most Fashionable'

Nineteen locals were honored Monday evening at the annual XIX Most Fashionable Women in Philadelphia event as part of the ongoing Philadelphia Collection, which continues through Thursday.

Nineteen locals were honored Monday evening at the annual XIX Most Fashionable Women in Philadelphia event as part of the ongoing Philadelphia Collection, which continues through Thursday.

The 2012 inductees, hand-selected by Nicole Miller Philadelphia owner Mary K. Dougherty who founded the event three years ago, include a range of accomplished, local women. The honorees were recognized for reasons beyond being fashionable: Although dressing well was one component, they were chosen largely for their involvement and commitment to community service.

Notable guests included former Gov. Ed Rendell, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette (whose wife was a 2012 recipient), Joan Shepp whose eponymous boutique remains a Walnut Street staple, and Mayor Nutter, who presented Joan Spain and Joan Pileggi with Fashion Visionary Awards. The award recognizes those whose original ideas pave what the future of fashion in Philadelphia will or could be.

In Philadelphia, the name Joan Pileggi is associated with two things: Beautiful, salon-styled hair and the development of the Washington Square area. In 1977, she opened her first salon in the then-dilapidated section of the city, then went on to open three more spots until she retired in 2008.

Joan Spain, whose daughter Dana was among the nineteen recipients, has been a longtime supporter of the local fashion and design scene, along with her husband, Bernard. The couple's commitment to art, design and fashion in the city is evident: She's president of Drexel University's Friends of the Design Arts, he's chairman of the Philadelphia Fashion Council. In 2007, Bernard, who was on hand to support his wife at the event Monday evening, dedicated the Joan Spain Gallery for Costume and Textiles in the Perelman Building to Joan.

Mayor Nutter's concerted involvement in supporting and promoting The Philadelphia Collection is based on his Creative Economy strategy, which aims to bring jobs and businesses related to fashion and design to the city.

As for the full list of recipients, this year's roundup includes an Olympic gold medalist, several media personalities and leaders throughout the region. Next page:

FLOSS BARBER | CEO and Principal Designer of Floss Barber, Inc.
MARY JO BARTHMAIER | Partner and Producer, Modoc Spring
KAREN BLISS | Vice President of Marketing, Advanced Sports International
PAT CIARROCCHI | Anchor & Reporter for CBS 3, co-host of Talk Philly
HOPE COHEN | Chef Media Personality & Author of Fast, Fresh and Simple
SUSAN FRANCIA | Olympic Gold Medalist Rower
BARBARA GEE | Vice President Sales Alliance, Comcast Cable Communications
KAREN GIBERSON | President, Accessories Council
LAUREN HART | Singer, Songwriter, Philadelphia Flyers Anthemist
KRISTEN LAVIOLETTE | Supporter, Flyers Charities
DANUTA MIELOCH | Esthetician & Owner of Rescue Rittenhouse Spa
NATALIE NIXON | Asso. Prof. Fashion Merchandising Mgtmt Program & Dir. Strategic Design MBA at Philadelphia Univ.
DONNA O' BRIEN | Owner & Creative Director, Beautiful Blooms
EMILY RISSER | Senior Analyst at Integra Realty Resources
KATHY ROMANO | Co-host, The Preston and Steve Show, 93.3 WMMR
DANA SPAIN | Founder of PAWS; Owner & Consultant at DLG Communications
SUSAN TAYLOR | Dermatologist, Society Hill Dermatology
ROSEMARY TURNER| President of UPS, Chesapeake District
SARAH VON AKEN | Founder / CEO & Designer at SAVA and SVA Holdings Corp

Previous honorees have included Bhavna Shymalan, Lauren Pronger, Meryl Levitz, Lisa Nutter, and Sharon Pinkenson.

The Philadelphia Collection continues through Thursday. Remaining events include the 4th annual SA VA Harvest Moon fall fashion show and community street fair at 17th and Sansom on Wednesday, the 19th annual Phasion Phest also held on Wednesday, and the Rittenhouse Row Fall Gathering at the Comcast Center Thursday. There are plenty of additional, fun happenings throughout the city, so check the website for more details.