Fashion in the ‘Forecast’

CAPE ELIZABETH – A group of Cape Elizabeth residents are presenting Fashion Forecast, a fashion show to benefit Florence House, a Preble Street program. Unlike designer shows, Fashion Forecast isn’t focusing so much on vanity and vanguard fashion, but on community and generosity to remember their friend Mary Staszko. Staszko, an active Cape Elizabeth community member, died in December at 54. She spent her time helping those around her, whether it be volunteering at St. Bartholomew’s Church or filling in holiday hours at her friend Ann Perrino’s store, Ann Veronica. That giving spirit is what inspired Perrino to put together Fashion Forecast.

Looking for a way to celebrate her store’s 10th anniversary, she was urged to do a fashion show. Doing just a show wasn’t enough, however. It had to be more. "I said, ‘I don’t want to do it if it doesn’t have any meaning to it,’" Perrino said. "I said, ‘Can we give the money back’ and it just snowballed." Perrino partnered with Girl Scouts of troops 1412 and 2222 of Cape Elizabeth, David Hodgkins, a Portland clothier, and other local individuals, organizations and merchandisers in establishing and setting up the show. Since the idea for the event was presented last spring, the community of Cape Elizabeth and beyond have shown an outpouring of support. Eighty volunteers and sponsors and $15,000 worth of donated auction items ensure that the show will be a success, if not already successful in staying true to remembering Staszko.

"It’s really a celebration of a life," Perrino said. "It’s really a celebration of volunteering in the community, and the good work that’s done for Preble Street."

"It’s really been a nice thing conjuring volunteers that have come together," said Abby Greenfield, head of Fashion Forecast’s public relations and a personal friend of Staszko. "Adults and kids that are pulling together to make this happen." Brenda Garrand, of Garrand Consultants, and John Hatcher, of Keller-Williams Realty, highlight the local "celebrities" that will strut down the runway alongside Cape Elizabeth youths. Staszko’s daughter, Anya, will be one of the models flaunting local fashion.

Besides the fashion show, the event will feature a live auction and local vendors such as jeweler Cullen Concannon and print designer Erin Flett. The vendors present will donate 30 percent of their profits to Preble Street and 100 percent of the profits from the auction will be donated.

Staszko was coordinator of a church group at St. Bartholomew’s that organized meals at Preble Street soup kitchen. Proceeds from the show benefit Preble Street programs, including Florence House.

Fashion Forecast" will take place Thursday, Oct. 24 at the Purpoodock Club after the Sentry’s deadline. Ticket sales have been limited to 250 because of the club’s occupancy limitations.

Members of the community are still able to support Fashion Forecast and contribute to Preble Street programs. Through Sunday, Nov. 3, 15 percent of sales at Ann Veronica will be donated to the charity that Staszko cared for so much.

"For all of us in the community that knew Mary, and knew the kind of person she was, and the giver she was," Greenfield said, "We just felt that something could be done to remember her spirit, her generous spirit."