Saturday, May 07, 2011

Walk This Way: Mass Appeal Fundraiser Rocks Wellfleet

It was beautiful here in Wellfleet today, but if you thought the place to be was the beach, you would be wrong. Those in the know headed to the Senior Center instead for a fashion show organized by the ladies of Mass Appeal and based on yet another off-the-wall idea from Miss Sharyn Lindsay. Local ladies, and two gents, modeled elegant outfits discovered at Wellfleet’s favorite shop, the one that’s free, right at Cove Corner. A row of shopping bags had been assembled behind the podium. Clothing hung in the windows. I knew the audience was in for fun when disco music began to play.

At the podium, Lee Whitcomb welcomed guests and introduced the models, whom she dubbed “the gorgeous girls of Wellfleet.” It was particularly nice that age didn't matter. Models who would have been turned down by More Magazine got a chance to model clothes today in Wellfleet.

Lee described Mass Appeal, started by two women in a garage as a way of sharing used kids’ clothes. Today the organization offers much more, including adult clothing and food drives. Recently Mass Appeal became affiliated with a non-profit specialized in domestic abuse.

Here’s how the shop works: you bring clothes that no longer fit, then choose up to six items for yourself, every week. I go a lot. Sharyn does, too. The models proved there’s quite a choice as they paraded into the room and danced around.

“This is much more cool than I thought,” whispered a lady at my table.

Then we were treated to individual performances. While Sky Freyss-Cole jauntily wove her way around the tables, Lee went on and on, offering not only details of the various fashion designers of clothing and accessories, but clever descriptions of the models themselves, including the fact that Sky, a native of Wellfleet, had studied abroad in Denmark.

“From magical Wellfleet and the Outer Cape, here’s a perfect example of giving," Lee declared. "This amazing town never ceases to amaze.”

The repartee was flippant, as were some of the pairings, like an unbuttoned pajama top with a calf-length chiffon evening dress. I was amused that Lee called Mass Appeal “not your typical Salvation Army," specifying, “the clothing smells nice. The stuff is clean, and pressed.” Here, Ellen Anthony shows off a stunning Chinese gown.

Comment of the day: “Oh, to have mile-long legs and a 20-inch waist again!”

Lee did a marvelous job and managed to keep up the commentary throughout the event, as for instance, in describing a model, who had recently moved here from the city, “She clearly retains the sophistication of city life. Yet she’ll fit in perfectly at Wellfleet’s yacht club.”

One woman in the audience was treated to an extreme makeover.

During the second half, we found out the reason for the shopping bags. Each model had chosen appropriate garb to shift her outfit from day to evening, a quick change required when you get a call from your husband, saying the boss is in town and you have to look your best for dinner at the Wicked Oyster, Lee explained.

“Wow-ee!” cried Caleb at the transformation of a model named Lara. But it was his mom Sharyn who received the most applause. Here she rushes to finish her evening look with help from sister Carol.

Ellen Anthony was the last to do the quick-change. After a brief pantomime, our Quirky Circus lady pulled a wig out of her Stop & Shop bag and dramatically flung it onto her head.

“Such a creative group!” someone at my table sighed.

But it was Caleb who had the last word: “Everyone of you is beautiful!” he shouted towards the end.

The Mass Appeal Fundraiser is to become an annual event. I hope next year that it takes place in a more appropriate venue. The models deserved better lighting, and a larger audience, but they did do a stupendous job. Bravo!