Treasure gowns from the past

Gillian McAinsh

CAPE Town-based event organiser Iliana Efstratiou is putting on a vintage fashion show in Port Elizabeth using beautifully preserved dresses that belonged to her late mother, “Kika” Adriana Efstratiou.

She stumbled upon the rainbow of gowns when she was packing up her mother’s home after she died more than a year ago.

“I found at least 20 vintage dresses preserved in perfect condition and, although I knew the wedding and her engagement dress, it was like a treasure box,” Efstratiou said. “She was very stylish, very well-dressed, like in Vogue magazine.”

The sadness of the family death – her mother died just six weeks after her sister – was offset by the realisation that others also might appreciate this nostalgic look at a slice of fashion history, and so Efstratiou decided to turn it into a positive experience by using the dresses to raise funds for charity.

Last year she featured the dresses in a ramp fashion show which benefited the Knysna branch of Epilepsy South Africa.

It was so well received that she decided to do a similar event for a Port Elizabeth charity and now she has planned a show to showcase the treasures from the past to raise funds for Autism Eastern Cape, which recently opened an early intervention centre in Walmer for autistic pre-schoolers.

“People are drawn to the vintage look and they seem to love that era. It brings a sense of nostalgia and we also will have food and entertainment at the lunch,” she said.

Knysna Tourism CEO Sean van Eck will play master of ceremonies at the event on Saturday August 4, at Running Waters in the Garden Lovers Garden Centre in Kragga Kamma Road.

A range of Port Elizabeth models have volunteered to take part in the charity event, including the winner of the 2012 Face of Extreme Models, Robina Kafuko. Singer Ruth Nkabinde, who is also based in Knysna, will sing.

Tickets cost R200 each, with an early booking discount of R20 a ticket. Tables of 10 are also available for corporates or groups of friends.

Further information from Efstratiou, 082-5369433, or contact Autism Eastern Cape, (041) 581-0650, 186 Main Road, Walmer, or Red Feather Trading, Ninth Avenue, Walmer.

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