Although this is not exactly about food, if you will stick with me for a moment you will see a connection.

And as far as never goes, it’s not quite true. Read on and I’ll explain.

Lili Butler, a phenomenally talented designer who lives in Sebasotopol, is closing her retail store for now. If you already known Lili’s extraordinary designs, make sure you catch that last part, for now, before you panic. If you haven’t, take some time to peruse grouplili.com.

A gorgeous red dress, part of the Tiger Lily line, by Lili Butler

Lili has been designing clothes since she was 16. She founded her company, Group Lili, in 1984. As she approaches her 60th birthday–it’s next September–she wants a break. So she’s closing the little Cotati boutique. When I stopped by last Thursday looking forlorn, she told me not to worry, that this was a temporary thing. Ahhhh, the relief I felt.

Lili’s clothing is high end. She designs gowns that you see on the red carpet and at events like a Presidential Inaugural Ball. They are a joy to simply see, even if you don’t live a life that requires a ball gown now and then. But she makes a lot more than ball gowns, all of which show her signature style, which is both sophisticated and whimsical. For years, she has had sales for local customers, with mark-downs of 85 percent and more. There has always been a sale rack, too.

Now there are two days left. Her final clearance is Tuesday, December 20, and Wednesday, December 21. When I visited last week, I got my daughter Nicolle an adorable silk shantung frock for $25. I got a dress for myself for $49 and I scored an indigo blue silk velvet jacket for 75 percent off the original price.

Lili is also loves animals with a sincere exuberance. She often hosts a birthday party at her shop for her two standard white poodles, Issie (for Isadora Duncan) and Ernie (for Ernest Hemingway). Customers were treated to Champagne, licks from the pups and, one year, a beautiful silk scarf for anyone who wrote a check to the Sonoma County Animal Shelter.

Lili Butler's cookbook for dogs, with recipes for healthy treats

This is where food comes in. This year, anyone who writes a check of $25 or more to the shelter receives Lili’s cookbook of doggie treats, which comes with a dog-shaped cookie cutter.

Group Lili is located at 8500 Gravenstein Highway South, Suite B, in Cotati. It is in the free-standing white building across from Johnny Java’s. There is no sign; the entrances is on the east side of the building under the “For Lease” banner. It should be open Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.