Vintage vixens hit the runway

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By Amanda-Marie Quintino

After months of cleaning out closets, frequenting thrift shops and begging for donations, Act II Studio’s “plus 50 fashion crew” is selling their vintage attire and strutting them on stage.

Vintage Duds for Dukes and Duchesses is a fashion show planned and prepared by Act II members. It includes everything from ‘40s fedoras and corduroy slacks to ‘80s wide-shouldered, lace-covered jackets, explains the event’s chief organizer and former fashion prof Pamela Hitchcock.

“The racks will be full of elegant gowns, classy hats, interesting accessories, and tailored men’s suits, found in the back of closets or scrounged up from a pile of forgotten clothing in second-hand shops,” she says.  “We have a lot of things that students may even enjoy for Halloween.”

And Hitchcock hopes the search for that unique costume will bring students to Jorgenson Hall today.

“There’s nothing better than a genuine outfit from a certain time period to make an authentic-looking costume.”

Act II Studio is a theatre school and volunteer organization offered as a  series of acting workshops as part of the Seniors’ Education Program at the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education.

The 15th anniversary show, which includes an off-the-rack sale, silent auction, and modelling session, was inspired by a costume sale Act II held last October in the basement of the Podium building the week before Halloween. The sale raised more than $500 for the organization.

“The participation and support was really quite astonishing,” says mistress of ceremonies and auctioneer Suzanne Gauthier. “Suddenly, clothes began arriving and our storage room began filling up with boxes, bags and too many hangers to handle.”

Before moving to Heaslip House last January, Act II members stored their costumes and props inside a small, crammed room in the basement of the old Business building.

The fashion fiends have now been given more space to store their threads and are looking forward to clearing those racks.

Designer Beverley Gray, who is responsible for alteration and prop creation, says sifting through people’s past wardrobes is “like taking a peek into what life was back some years ago.

“There are donations from some of our members that make me think, ‘Did she have a wild, second life we don’t know about?’” she asks, holding up a stringy, revealing, suede top.

Hitchcock, who will be dressed up as a church lady for one of the show’s skits, also enjoys pawing around old boxes and bags full of apparel.

“It’s as if they’re artifacts,” she says. “A way to learn things about the world based on what people were wearing in the past few decades.”

Those who plan to shop can expect bargains—short of designer auction items, all clothing, accessories and jewelry on the racks and in displays will range from $5 to $25.

Go find your thrift treasure today in Room POD 250 of Jorgenson Hall. Off-the-rack sales will begin at 11 a.m. and run throughout the fashion show until 4 p.m.

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