Old-fashioned fashions benefit group

STANWOOD — The Floyd Norgaard Cultural Center in downtown Stanwood was a place for fashionable time travel Saturday afternoon.

Camano Island’s top models, who also happen to be housewives and grandmas, spanned 100 years of clothing styles in fur, sequins and silk.

“It’s like the song says, ‘I enjoy being a girl,’ ” said Vicki Tanner, who started putting on vintage fashion shows three years ago with her friend, Tari Davenport.

The show and tea was a benefit fundraiser for the Stanwood Area Historical Society.

Models included a rip-roaring flapper, a prim-and-proper June Cleaver-type, Joan Crawford, Mary Ann from “Gilligan’s Island,” and a feisty Dolly Gallagher Levi of “Hello Dolly!” fame.

The Queen of England was expected, but sprained her ankle and could not attend.

The catwalk, a pockmarked wood floor, was once the town’s International Order of Odd Fellows hall, then for decades a hardware store warehouse.

In all, 24 outfits were modeled by ladies sashaying to music that matched the era of their garb.

The songs of Louis Armstrong, Cole Porter and other musicians filled the tall banquet room as three dozen ladies sipped tea and coffee, snacked on homemade cookies and scanned raffle tickets to see if they won an assortment of prizes.

Tanner, who helped emcee the afternoon event, wore a dark green replica hoop skirt that she made copying the pattern of a turn-of-the-century dress that she owns.

She said you can tell a lot about the times based on cuts and materials.

For example, one dress that was made at the end of the Victorian era tested social rules because it revealed the wearer’s ankles. Clothing rationing during World War II sparked an increase in the use of synthetic materials.

Tanner’s favorite piece, a leopard print get-up from the 1970s, was the show closer.

“Once you see that leopard outfit, nothing tops it,” she said. “It’s unique.”

Judith Solberg, a board member of the historical society and organizer of the event, said the society is a helpful resource for new residents to Stanwood and Camano Island.

“It’s a good thing anytime we can get people here who were never here before,” she said.

The group’s past president, Dave Eldridge, said the Stanwood Area History Museum is often the first stop for people who want to learn more about the history of the community and their homes.

It’s also a hub for longtime residents to share and learn about their roots through photos, artifacts and music.

On Thursday, high school students are scheduled to present local history projects at the society’s headquarters, which encompass several buildings that dominate a city block.

“People have been very generous to us, so we want to give back to the community,” Eldridge said.

Reporter David Chircop: 425-339-3429 or dchircop@heraldnet.com.

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