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Worldwide Fashion Visits Charlestown

July 30, 2015

CATONSVILLE, MD (July 29, 2015) – Charlestown retirement community resident Edith Gessert represented the Southern part of Germany Bavaria and wore a dirndl bought in 1978 in either Strasberg, France or Heidelberg, Germany. Her dirndl , which was like a jumper, was very blue with red and white flowers and fastens in front. The blouse had some lace on sleeves and the apron had some lace, too. The apron was trimmed with some of the red and white flowers.

She was one of 26 residents and staff who today modeled cultural attire from their native countries during an International Fashion Extravaganza sponsored by Charlestown's Diversity & Inclusion Council.

Thresiamma Aluvathingal, who is an employee in Dining Services, wore a Mundum Neriyathum, which is the traditional clothing of women in Kerala, South India. It is the oldest remnant of the ancient form of the saree, which covered only the lower part of the body. The Mundum Neriyothem consisted of two pieces of cloth and could be worn in either the traditional style with the Neriyathen tucked inside the blouse or draped over the shoulders.

The models wore clothing of India, Africa, the Philippines, Nigeria, Japan, China, Israel, Scotland, Germany, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan.  Hundreds of fellow residents applauded them as they  "walked down the runway." In a multi-purpose room decorated with international flags and festive with international music.

The fashion show became an educational event as models talked about their cultural attire:

Resident Harper Griswold, who is a D-Day veteran of WWII, represented Scotland and wore a modern Red Robertson Tartan Dress Kilt. The Robertson Red Modern tartan was a predominantly red and blue tartan with green. The uniform consisted of a black cap with badge of the Robertson clan and white shirt. Griswold's metals were on one side and his membership badge of the St. Andrews society of Baltimore was on the other A Sgian Dubh, which "is Gaelic for black knife," was one of the stockings.

Relatives of an employee represented the country India:

  • Kathy Chrzanowski wore a sari about 6 yards long and draped. There was a petticoat to help hold it into place. The blouse was short sleeved. Saris can come in many different colors and can be made from cotton, silk, or blends. The sari is a symbol of Indian culture.
  • Amisha Chrzanowki wore a pavadai chattai. The pavadai chattai consisting of a blouse and skirt in a variety of colors. This is worn by a young girl until the age of 13 or 14.
  • Shreya Chrzanowski wore a salwar kameez, a three-piece garment consisting of a long top, pants, and shawl (dupatta) which can be loose or tight fitting. The colors were bright and the top and pants contrasted each other. The dupatta draped over a shoulder.

The following models participated in the international fashion show:

Thresiamma Aluvathingal

Thomas Kanjirakadan       

Mary Augustine                                          

Phyl Lansing

Amisha Chrzanowski                                  -

Peace Nwokorie

Kathy Chrzanowski                                   

Efe Ojehomon

Shreya Chrzanowski                                

Basanti Lata Pani

Edith Gessert                                              

Temitope Sanyailu

Harper Griswold                                         

Albin Thekkiniath

Eugenia High                                            

Alna Thekkiniath

Sumitherthavy Joseph                  

Manju Thekkiniath

Anugraha Joy                                             

Shabu Thekkiniath

Ashna Joy                                                   

Nirmala Thomas

Cyntiya Kanjirakadan                               

Christel van der Berg

Sheena Kanjirakadan                               

Judi Welsh

Stanley Choate, model escort

Dean Crawford served as emcee. The International Extravaganza Fashion Show Committee that planned this event consisted of Yvonne Rice, Mary Evans, Lisa Vaughan, Michelle Fenn, and Dennis Dawson.  Community Resources intern Cynthia Garner and the Charlestown Catering Team also helped to make this event a success.