New Canaan Young Women's Leaguers strut their stuff in annual fashion show
Robed in a neat, sophisticated J.McLaughlin get-up, Narissa Lawrence waited for the show to begin. She and eight other Young Women's League members sipped wine among clothing racks hung with 81 of the most stylish New Canaan fashions until bright bulbs lit a makeshift runway at Waveny House, unleashing them, one-by-one, onto the catwalk.
Normally, the YWL members meet to raise funds for local charities, but last Wednesday they got together for a fashion show in celebration of themselves.
"The fashion show is an annual event and it's a fun occasion for us to get together as a social night and a tribute to us and our hard work," said former YWL president Tina Feldman. "The nine models are our own members and they put on a show for us."
The Young Women's League of New Canaan is a group of women of all ages who offer their fundraising efforts and volunteer service to benefit local charities and charitable events thrown by themselves and other organizations. With nearly 250 members, the league distributes grants to about 30 charitable organizations each year.
With events like the annual fashion show, the league also aims to promote the social and cultural interests of its members.
Dressed in a cream cardigan sweater with nude glossed lips, Lawrence described what it's like to walk a runway without rehearsal: "The technique is, you peel off your clothes, unbutton and unzipper everything, and you suit up again. And you do it as quickly as you possibly can."
"It's scary," she said. "The mindset is, we're not professional models, we're just moms and we're doing this for fun and for the entertainment of the group."
The models wore day, sport and evening fashions from New Canaan boutiques J.McLaughlin, Skirtin' Around and Dorothy Mann. Each model strut and spun on the runway in nine ensembles, three from each shop.
The show's theme, The Versatile Woman, aimed to incorporate attire to compliment the many hats women wear in a single day.
"In years past we have gone with shops in Greenwich and other towns, but we decided to support these local merchants this year because the economy has affected our local businesses," said event co-chairwoman Anjanette Gjertsen. "This is another way that we can give back, by promoting them."
To the beat of house music, the models carried pastel colored sweaters, shawls and slinky evening dresses on their backs down a runway crowded by laughing, cat-calling friends and fellow league members.
The show was seamless -- aside from a high-heel scuff that teetered, but couldn't topple, one model from her tread -- and culminated with an after-hours event at Rocco's Italian Kitchen.