"Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn."
— Gore Vidal
WESTERLY — From bodices adorned with silver spoons to big, puffy skirts of delicately layered packing paper, the Trashion Show at the Granite Theatre Tuesday night was a beautiful spectacle.
Dozens of local professionals, artists and young people flexed their creativity to take part in this unique fundraiser, in which ordinary items were recycled into 40 wearable — and memorable —outfits.
Many participants used material drawn from their line of work — paint samples, wine corks, CDs, bubble wrap, balloons and beer tabs. In the hour leading up to the event, models arrived one after the other, gingerly lifting their trains through the theater's historic wooden doors. Audience members lingered around the reception area, enjoying glimpses of the show to come — a tall, bright red hairpiece fashioned from wine box dividers, a sheath dress made out of playing cards.
Tickets sold out more than a week prior to the event, so a heated tent with a large television for viewing the event was set up on the grounds. Models also made their way their way down the stairs and the front walkway to the audience outside. The evening raised $3,600 to benefit the Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce and to support the campaign to repair the historic downtown Granite Theatre.
Among the highlights:
Marianne Mirando modeling a floor-length, fluttering skirt made entirely of tickets from the Granite Theatre
Lisa Konicki, president of the Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber, emceeing the festivities in a voluminous pink gown fashioned from chicken wire and coffee-filter flowers
Angela Thoman of Paddy's Beach Restaurant in Misquamicut tossing wine corks to the audience as she danced down the aisle
Madison Konicki's beach-themed party dress — the skirt made of multicolored, deflated beach balls and the bodice detailed with paper drink umbrellas
Liz Pasqualini, president of the non-profit Bradford Jonnycake Center, looking like a cross between Lady Gaga and the Queen of Hearts as she showed off a Victorian-style evening gown made of soup labels and spoons
Ricky Shawn Jr. and Lexi Scott modeling clothes built from duct tape, including a tie, hip bag and dress
Westerly resident Brittany Dolan displaying her love for her town in a pretty party dress made of Rhode Island maps
Rose Maloney of Bella Vita Salon showing off an ornate black and pink tango dress made of shampoo capes, gloves and foil, with hair clips detailing the hems
Chamber employee Kirsten Petrizzo, modeling a dress made from playing cards and poker chips donated by Foxwoods
Michelle Kirms clinking as she walked in a sheath dress with a fun, silvery train made of beer can tops and tabs from Grey Sail Brewing
More about the theater:
The Granite Theatre, a white-columned downtown landmark, began its life as a Greek Revival Church in 1846. Its steeple was lost during the Hurricane of 1938 but the rest of the building endured. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, and while the main structure is in good condition, a recent inspection revealed that extensive work was needed on one of the columns and the portico.
Construction work has revealed some mysterious notes on the building's history; most recently the name "John H. Conroy" was found written in long script on a wall in the portico. Artistic directors David and Beth Jepson recently circulated the photo on the Granite's Facebook page, hoping to find someone who recognizes the name.
The theater stages a number of musicals, plays, original and musical performances each year.