"In vogue, on the cheapThe senior fashion show puts the wisdom of age on the runway."
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:58 PM
"The model - dressed in shades of blue and gold with floral scarf to match - waltzes down the runway to Has Anybody Seen My Gal, not at all impeded by her cane.The audience, mostly seniors, applauds as a pianist segues into the next number. Does anyone out there think old people are old? announcer Marjorie Hallowell asks. They are getting younger every year. The cheers that follow from the audience of 50, at Bainbridge Senior Center's annual fashion show and tea, are robust.As if to prove Hallowell's point, the next model, a stately woman six feet tall appears in the doorway.The only clue that Matisse Hemingway might be a woman of a certain age is the touch of grey in her curls. She strolls with the utmost poise down the double row of chairs that forms the runway and back again, the white silk material a perfect contrast to her ebony skin. The dress is new so it's top of the line - this outfit goes for $20, Hallowell says.The prices of the clothing, culled from the center's thrift store by fashion show coordinator Lily Hook, are not what one might describe as budget busters. Many of ensembles will be sold for less than $10. According to Hallowell, families will often bring clothing to the thrift store, located with the Senior Center itself in the Bainbridge Commons, when a family member dies. Many of the clothes modeled during the fashion show Friday came to the store with the price tags still on.I guess buying clothes are a hobby for some women, Hallowell says, but not for me.She doesn't feature herself as a model, but admires the women who willingly tackle the assignment, in many instances year after year. The event marked the fifth season for Hallowell as moderator.They can't shut me up, so they give me a job to do, she says.Hallowell easily fills the pauses that come when the 10 models must change, assisted by dressers Lucy Nolta and Marge Sorenson. Jane Allen, Dorothy Bland, Mary Christenson, Peggy Haley, Bert Heckert, Eileen Magnuson, Barbara McGilvray and Thelma Smith join Hemingway to walk the runway three times.They wear clothes that depart from the traditional notion of seniors in high-necked, ruffled blouses to include such garb as a floor-length black skirt slit high up the side and bedecked with rhinestones.Do the walk! Come on! Come on! the audience chants as a last model runs the gauntlet. She pauses halfway to the end, and several seniors jokingly finger the material of her hem.All right, model, that's enough, Hallowell says as the audience cracks up.Pianist Phoebe Smith segues into Side by Side, and the rollicking, unstuffy fashion show is a wrap.The BISCC thrift store can be reached at 842-1616. "