I have been a clothier all of my life and I have many great memories of those days. I even on occasion met celebrities in my professional career. There were times when we were asked to furnish clothes for fashion shows and this can be time consuming with no guarantees of any visible success, just intangible success. There were times when we did a show where the models were just volunteers of an organization and one never knew until the volunteers came in what to expect in regard to builds. I remember one time I did a show where all the models were professional football players and that was a real challenge, as some of them were huge and very difficult to fit, even with our extensive array of clothes and sizes. One show that I remember quite clearly was for a civic group and they had secured newscasters to be their models, there was a women’s shop that was supplying the woman’s clothes.
The event was being held at the Raleigh House, which in its day was one of the finest halls in the metro Detroit area. The owner was a character in his own right and he used to get a lot of publicity for doing big catered dinners, and even some events that he did on his own dime. The menu for the event was fresh fruit, a relish tray, salad, a half roast chicken with stuffing, peas and carrots, a potato boat and Baked Alaska. It was a fine dinner, but my assistant and I had our dinners in an ante room off of the main room, as we were preparing for the chaos of the evening. I remember meeting the newscasters at the store to get them measured up for the event ahead of time and it was my job to get them dressed in a couple of changes for the show. When you get a group of people together even for a charity event, there will always be some prima donnas, and when they are in front of television cameras it can be magnified. Some of the models were gentlemen and in the chaos of changing would even offer to help hang up the clothes, and some just dropped their clothes on the floor, figuring the help would pick up after them. I do remember that evening well and I will say that one of the models was a perfect gentleman, in front of the camera and in person. Byron MacGregor was a Canadian anchorman and he was just a delight and it was no wonder that his recording of The Americans was such a great fund raiser for the Red Cross, and he passed away much too early in his life.
I remember getting a bottle of wine to have in the back room for dinner and perhaps to help with the “stage fright” for the models to bolster their attitude, since modeling was not their main career. I ended up with a magnum of wine, which is what they were pouring at the bar stations for the guests in the hall. It was just the right size for the evening. It was a bottle of Bolla Soave, one of the most known white wines from Veneto and made with the Garganega grape along traditionally with Trebbiano. Bolla is one of the larger producers of wine in the area. With all of the craziness in the back room of a fashion show, something as dignified as a glass of wine seems to make it a bit more bearable.