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April in Paris: Fashion show benefits Community Care Clinic

By Susan Shinn

For The Salisbury Post

Ready for spring? Take a pair of white capris, add a flattering and flowing top or vest, and a dash of ’60s-inspired chic, and you’re all set.

The 18th annual Fashions for a Cause showcased local spring fashions with the theme “April in Paris.” Held Wednesday at Catawba College’s Crystal Lounge, the sold-out event is sponsored each year by the Rowan Medical Society Alliance Foundation, and raises money for the Community Care Clinic.

As of Thursday morning, the event had taken in $16,000, according to Mary Goodman, event co-chair with Joyce Goodwin.

Goodman, Goodwin and other event volunteers and participants wore the day’s theme colors of black, white and pink, and the tables were decorated in the same fashionable hues.

The sunny but chilly day provided the perfect backdrop for fashions provided by Stitchin’ Post Gifts, Thread Shed Uniforms, Winsome Hanger, A Perfect Dress, Anna Craig Boutique, Anne’s Dress Shop, Attractions on Main, Caniche, Cato, and Lora Belle Baby.

Master of Ceremonies David Whisenant looked tres chic in his red tuxedo jacket paired with black vest, black bow tie and black pants from Thread Shed. As always, Whisenant, WBTV’s Salisbury Bureau reporter, provided plenty of laughs with his spirited descriptions of the models’ attire.

“I have no idea what I just described,” Whisenant admitted at one point during the show.

Joining Whisenant was colleague Kristen Hampton, who filmed a “Good News” segment for the television station.

As always, the “Hat Lady” Patsy Reynolds worked the crowd, selling chances to win a $100 bill pinned to her spectacular black-and-white hat. Reynolds had even attached a glittering Eiffel Tower to its crown, in a nod to the day’s theme.

The multi-talented Kent Bernhardt, local actor, singer and writer, took the stage first in a navy tuxedo from the Thread Shed. He entertained the group with a rendition of “April in Paris.”

Also modeling tuxedoes from the Thread Shed were Brien Lewis, Catawba’s president, and Rick Parker of Novant Health Rowan Medical Center.

Patti Osborne, Melissa Taylor and Troy Donahue introduced a cute new line of T-shirts, “I’m All About…,” available at Attractions on Main. Sales from this local effort support the Food for Thought program. The tops (all about wine, the beach, coffee, etc.) are sold exclusively at Attractions on Main.

Rompers are a fashion choice for young ladies this spring, and Andie Myers of Anna Craig showed a gingham-printed tan romper, as did Lydia Hartung, also modeling for Anna Craig.

Not only was the Community Care Clinic the fundraiser’s recipient, but three employees served as models: Nealeigh Lefler and Abby Pennington for Cato, and Janelle Myers for Stitchin’ Post.

“While we were delighted to participate in such a fun event, the thing that’s even more meaningful to me in the longstanding relationship between the clinic and the medical alliance,” Krista Woolly, the clinic’s executive director, said Thursday morning. “This fundraiser is such a huge benefit to our patients, allowing us to provide medical care, dental care and prescription assistance to our uninsured and underinsured neighbors.”

W.C. Fields said he never wanted to work with children — presumably because they get all the attention. That was the case here, too, as tiny models from Lora Belle Baby stole the show more than once in their darling outfits. Clara Misner entered to a chorus of “awwwws!” wearing a sweet print dress from Haute Baby.

Hazel Frick showed off a fun dress from Pink Chicken. Spencer and Sutton Waller, 4, showed off darling “wispy” pastel-hued dresses from Biscotti, and Spencer didn’t mind taking another turn on the stage with her more reserved sister. Ganon Foster and Holden Frick got in on the action in bright checked shirts.

Delores Thomas is a longtime model for Anne’s, and showed off a favorite color for spring: turquoise. She paired turquoise ankle pants with a black and white print top with turquoise embroidery.

Marian Walters paired an aqua and white layered tunic tank with white leggings from Anne’s. The top’s flowing material is a fashion winner this season. Walters also modeled a pink and white gingham dress — a longtime spring and summer pattern — from Anne’s, perfect for a bridal luncheon or outdoor wedding.

Another perennial favorite for spring is palazzo pants. Abby Pennington wore boldly pattered pants with a peach tank top from Cato.

Lydia Hartung of Anna Craig took the group back to the ’60s, modeling a mustard-colored tunic tank paired with bell-bottom jeans. Fringe is big for spring, and appears everywhere — on tops, purses and accessories alike.

Crochet provides a delicate touch. Allison Ogden wore a crocheted top from Caniche, while Autumn Ulrich wore an ivory crocheted top from Cato.

Maxi dresses have been part of the spring and summer fashion story for the past few seasons, and this year is no different. Hannah Cook wore a blue and white paisley print maxi dress from Anne’s, as did Judy Bernhardt, whose maxi dress came from Stitchin’ Post. Andie Myers showed off a royal blue and white leopard print from Anna Craig.

Black and white is a can’t-miss combo for spring, and Melissa Taylor paired a lovely black and white sweater with black capris from Attractions on Main.

In yet another nod to ’60s chic, Troy Donahue showed off a tie-dyed tunic with stretch pants. Her outfit was from Attractions on Main.

Molly Shelton rocked the flowing vest trend with a bold print scarf vest — paired with those skinny white pants that are everywhere — from Stitchin’ Post. She looked stunning in a chic little black dress with asymmetrical hem and sheer overlay from Stitchin’ Post.

Longtime model Jessica Koontz dazzled in a draped dress from Winsome Hanger’s Pink Martini collection.

Marie Shehan, also modeling for Winsome Hanger, showed a blush flutter top. Paired with skinny white jeans, this outfit is part of spring’s neutral palette. Maggie Brewer donned yet another neutral outfit from Winsome Hanger — a striped, stretchy dress from Pink Martini. As was done with many of the dressier outfits, Brewer finished this look with nude heels.

Taylor Rogers wore a classic printed sheath from Caniche. Mimi Webb wore a Vintage Havana medallion print dress, also from Caniche.

Formal wear selections from A Perfect Dress concluded the show. Miriam Roy wore a beautiful burgundy knit dress with an off-the-shoulder design, peplum waist and mermaid skirt.

Lara Koontz brought the Parisian theme back into focus in a two-piece formal gown with black crop top and black and white satin damask skirt with bold print.

Marlee Murphy sparkled in a rose gold sequined gown, the trending choice of bridemaids dresses for 2016, according to Brenda Neely, A Perfect Dress owner.

Neely also said that teal was a big color for formal wear this year, and her daughter, Aimee, looked exquisite in a full-length teal couture floral jacquard dress with portrait neckline. Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander also wore teal, in a lace overlay sheath.

Roy’s second selection was a two-piece faille print dress, featuring a black beaded strapless bodice and bold floral skirt. The eye-catching colors were reminiscent of fine art on display in, well, Paris.

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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