Empty Bowls benefit brings back 1969 with all the trimmings


Getting dressed for a gala can be a hoot. Scratch the pearl choker and get out those love beads! Organizers of the Empty Bowls benefit of the Maryland Food Committee are making it easy for guests who will be attending their soiree at the Boumi Temple on Saturday.

The theme is 1969, the year of love-ins, laugh-ins and sit-ins, and the dress is hip or hippie depending on personal style.

For those folks who have blotted out the vision of the duds of 25 years ago, Eileen Abato, fashion coordinator for the event, has some reminders. Some of those memories may be painful. Remember vinyl go-go boots? Ouch.

"I was one of the first to wear falls, in a variety of lengths," says Ms. Abato. The young smart set may be interested to know that falls were hairpieces that attached with a band and took the wearer to instant Barbarella glamour.

"Then there were bells, hip-huggers, polyester pantsuits, Indian shifts, fringed vests, leisure suits for the guys, Pucci prints, daisy motifs, Qiana shirts and hipster miniskirts," says Ms. Abato.

Read Street, with its craftsy shops, was Baltimore's hub of hip in 1969, and the cool hangout was the Hair Garage, one of the first unisex salons where being seen was as important as being shagged. Original owners John Salaconi and Chas will be among local stylists who will re-create that ambience at the gala and do guests up in '60s hair and makeup.

Dreamland, the Charles Street vintage emporium, is prepared to help revelers dress to the occasion. Owner Tim Potee says the mature crowd may see 25-year-old clothes as costume, but the trendies wear them as fashion, much like the styles that are being shown by today's hot young designers.

To help benefit-goers get in the groove, Dreamland offers a 20 percent discount. Who could pass up a fringed vest a la Jimi Hendrix?

For more information on the event, call (410) 366-0600.

Recycled clothing not only holds its own but also helps to support community projects. The Wise Penny, the Junior League of Baltimore's thrift shop on York Road near Belvedere, marks 25 years of operation on Saturday. The non-profit store stocks new and used clothing and household items at penny-pinching prices. Pennies add up, however, and the shop has put more than $1 million back into community programs.

There will be cake and picnic fixings at the party, along with special deals. Call (410) 467-0260.

In this week of closet nostalgia, don't forget the last day of GBMC's Nearly New Sale on Saturday. You may bag one of grandma's old Lily flower prints. They're in again, you know.

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