“LADIES, come and update your wardrobes, while the gentlemen go and ... I don’t know, fondle a tractor or something.”
There could be no better introduction to the Country Lifestyle pavilion than that quip from the hostess of Henty’s fashion catwalk, Anna Dennis.
Although yesterday it was a throwback to the past, with the highlight a “50 years of fashion” parade featuring outfits from 1963 to 2012.
Memories were certainly evoked — including a few some would perhaps have preferred forgotten — as flares and mini-skirts, shoulder pads and leather, tulle and chiffon all got a second outing in the spotlight.
It was a fitting tribute to the “ladies” pavilion, which falls just shy of Henty’s 50th anniversary, having had its beginnings in 1965 when it was declared there was a need to “provide something of interest to the farm wives”.
Ms Dennis, of Collingullie, was enjoying her role as compere, as year 10 students from Culcairn’s Billabong High School modelled the fashions, many home-made.
A crochet mother-of-the-bride dress with “a nice bit of roadkill” in the form of a fur stole sparked a few memories, not to mention some shorter-than-short mini-skirts and go-go boots.
The 1980s presented three fashion options according to Ms Dennis: “You could choose between Lady Di, Joan Collins or Madonna — depending on where you wanted to wear your underwear.”
A paisley maxi dress with hot pants from the 1970s drew applause, especially when the “hot young chick” who had worn it was dobbed in: Ruth Lindner of Henty.
“I made it in 1971 and wore it to a wedding in Wagga, then another wedding a month later in Melbourne,” she said.
Mrs Lindner had five dresses in the show, all which she made herself.
“People would say why have you kept them all, and it’s because I couldn’t bear to part with them,” she said.
“I was so embarrassed to be called out at first, but it’s wonderful to see them all out, and on the young ones.
“There’s not too many now that learn to sew, sadly.”
Her flair for dressmaking was of little use when she herself had four sons — but no doubt her six granddaughters will one day be raiding her collection.
“That’s the good thing about these handmade clothes — in 20 or 30 years you can wear them again.”