Duncan’s 100th anniversary marked with 100 years of fashion

Organizers of Duncan
Organizers of Duncan's Centennial Fashion show will be bringing out outfits reflecting 100 years of city fashions Thursday.
— image credit:

Ladies (and gentlemen) of the Cowichan Valley, prepare yourself for an afternoon tea with a difference.

You're invited to wear your best flowery hat and white gloves to attend a vintage fashion show and tea at Duncan United Church.

Hosted by Somenos Women's Institute and Duncan United Church Circle of Friends, proceeds from the event will go towards the SWI's three annual $500 bursaries for high school female graduates to help with their post-secondary education.

"This is the first time we've combined the annual tea with a vintage fashion show. We thought it would fit nicely with Duncan's 100th anniversary," said SWI's Irene Haider.

The vintage fashions ranging from 1900 to 1960 and the models who'll show them will be provided by Victoria's non-profit Heritage Productions.

There'll be history, too — information within the show about early notable SWI members.

"We'll be matching historical figures to the timeline," explained Ruth Fenner, president of the 16-member SWI.

For example, Madge Watt who came from Metchosin to establish the Cowichan Women's Institute in 1912, will be featured in a 1930s outfit.

"That's when Madge was at her prime," Fenner said.

Watt became the first president of the Associated Country Women of the World. That organization now has nine million members.

Victoria's Louise Osselton, coordinator of 22-year-old Heritage Productions and their seamstress for 17 years, has made most of the organization's 600 gowns and outfits covering 1850 to 1960.

Some costumes are reproductions; others are authentic; and each outfit has to be accessorized with the correct items.

"The 14 pieces (we're showing in Duncan) will give the audience a glimpse of what women wore and how fashion was influenced by world affairs," Osselton said.

SWI has other fund-raisers for the bursaries throughout the year.

They cater "Grown in the Cowichan Valley" teas, lunches and dinners.

"In this way we support local farmers and food, better health and a cleaner environment," says president Fenner.

Tea will be a dainty affair of sandwiches and sweets with coffee or tea; the fashion show will last approximately 35 minutes.

The summer hat and sandwich gloves are optional.

Your ticket

What: Chic Vintage Fashion Show and Tea hosted by Somenos Women's Inst. and Duncan United Circle of Friends

When: Thursday, Mar. 29, 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Where: Duncan United church, 246 Ingram Street

Tickets: $12 at the door or in advance at Duncan United Church office 8:30 a.m. - noon; or call Irene at 250-246-4015


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