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St. Albert grandmas morph into style icons

St. Albert Senior Association hosts Passion for Fashion, a fundraiser at Red Willow Centre
A model from a previous Passion for Fashion show walks down the runway at Red Willow Place. This year's fashion show takes place Friday, April 12.

Lately, senior years keep being pushed further and further back. Sixty is the new 40 and 80 is the new 60. With plenty of productive life still ahead, grandmas are adopting a more youthful vibe and they’re harnessing outfits from the entire style spectrum. 

Seniors have always provided creative inspiration to younger generations. It’s time for them to shine in the spotlight at the 3rd annual Passion for Fashion, The St. Albert’s Senior Association fashion showcase on Friday, April 12 at Red Willow Place. 

The spring and summer dinner and fashion show is a fundraiser also featuring a 50/50 draw, door prizes, a silent auction, a live auction and raffle draws. 

COVID lockdowns encouraged people to dress for how they want to feel and less on what others think. Today, older women boldly display their true self whether it’s with oversized glasses, supersized bags and loose comfortable silhouettes or pearl necklaces, sleek outfits and designer shoes. 

While the traditional grandma look tends to be tied to vintage fashion, today’s senior reveals their self-expression with relaxing outfits, trendy sustainable shoes, bold colours and knockout accessories. 

Passion for Fashion features 10 local women modelling 30 outfits from five St. Albert stores: Flash Fashion, Suzanne’s Fashion, Ennoja Clothing, Saltwater Bay Boutique and Ricki’s/Cleo. 

Every season designers blend style, colours and patterns into eye-catching apparel. The 2024 spring/summer Fashion Week featured outfits in shades of blue, green, pink, purple, red and yellow in both pastel and jewel tones. Black and white as combo colours drew a great deal of attention as did silver and warm browns, a colour normally associated with autumn. 

Janet Shafer, a committee member who is coordinating clothing with shops hinted retro blazers, wide-leg pants, lace, applique and denim material is popular this season. 

“There will be outfits for every day of the week — everything from dressing casually for breakfast to going out for lunch to enjoying a fancy dinner with a friend. All the clothes will be comfortable, stylish and coordinated,” said Sue Hobson, chair of the Fashion Show Committee. 

Hobson added fundraiser proceeds are earmarked for operational costs which include Meals on Wheels for shut-ins, activity classes, fitness classes, seminars, a woodshop, a staff social worker and a service bus. 

“Our mandate is to help people who are alone and need companionship. A lot of people come here and become close friends outside the club,” Hobson said. 

She added that fundraisers are necessary to the 50-plus club’s ability to offer many programs. During COVID, the membership dropped to 500 from about 1,700 people. Currently, membership has increased while costs are continuing to spike. 

The evening’s Master of Ceremonies is former mayor Nolan Crouse, a professional auctioneer and raconteur. 

“People are familiar with him, and he’s been very committed to supporting the senior centre from the time he was mayor. He’s very engaging and well-spoken. He speaks off-the-cuff, and that’s what makes him connect easily with a crowd.” 

Schafer added that her favourite part of the fashion show is watching models walk down the runway and glancing at guests’ faces. 

“People enjoy seeing new styles and their friends who go out of their way to volunteer,” Schafer said. 

Passion for Fashion takes place at Red Willow Place, 7 Tache St. Cocktails are at 5 p.m. followed by a Greek-styled dinner at 6 p.m. The fashion show is at 7 p.m. Tickets for the event are $60. Call 780-459-0433

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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