A fashion show is a fashion show is a fashion show. But in Carleton Place it’s a community project. Sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Chamber of Commerce (the only LA of its kind in the world, they assure you), the show raises money to provide Red Cross swimming instruction, life guards and maintenance of a supervised beach for 400 Carleton Place children during the summer.
Preparation for the show starts early. There’s cutting, stitching and seaming by those interested in the sew-at-home segment of the show, ticket selling, advertising and baking for the refreshment break. But at least one model didn’t worry too much about an early start. “I didn’t start my dress until eight o’clock last night,” said Mrs. John Ritchie, wife of a Carleton Place town councillor, the night of the show. But she was ready to glide down the runway in her navy sheath when her turn came.
The 14 models including Joan Baker, Miss Carleton Place, were wives and daughters of citizens of the town. “We’ve one imported model, Mrs. Rolf Bach of Almonte,” said co-ordinator Mary Cook. “What counts is not who you are but what your figure is because we show fashions from size 3 to 241/2” she explained.
Makeup artist Heather Bennett called in reinforcements from Ottawa to help her with cosmetic duties at the old town hall. In spite of inadequate light and cramped quarters, the three women had the models ready for the runway on time. And there was a packed house. More than 600 tickets had been sold to townspeople as well as friends in Ottawa, Kingston and surrounding towns.
The audience started to arrive at seven for the eight o’clock show. The town hall balcony was full, the main auditorium was full and it was standing room only at the back and along side aisles. Then with pencils and paper at the ready to copy pattern numbers and prices during the opening sew-at-home sequence, the audience watched rapt as small models, one only 20-months-old, walked hesitantly down the ramp.
One 5-year-old girl in bikini and beach coat decided modesty was the better part of modelling and refused to remove her coat even when asked to do it “just for fun”. Then it was on to high fashion with Miss Carleton Place setting the pace in a flowing, colorful pants dress. Dressers the LA members were busy stripping and dressing the models who presented 93 changes during the two-and-a-half hour show. “One of the models had just 14 seconds to change for her next appearance,” Mrs. Cook said. Finally the last outfit was shown, coffee was served and the 10th community fashion show was part of Carleton Place history. A summer of safe fun at the beach was assured.
where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ Mamas (USACome and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.