, Gloucester, MA

May 2, 2013

Razzle-dazzle for restoration

Leonard organizing fashion show to benefit City Hall work

By Gail McCarthy
Staff Writer

---- — A whirlwind of glamour will take the stage at Gloucester City Hall in a benefit to help in the restoration of the historic building in the heart of Gloucester.

Richard Leonard, a local fashion vintage clothing icon, is assembling a troupe of women affectionately known as the Bananarettes to take to the runway in a one-hour fashion show. The fashion models are named after Leonard’s Main Street vintage clothing store, Bananas.

This is likely to be his biggest production to date. Among the dozens of local models will be a group from New York City who have been part of the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade, including Gloucester native Sara Lafferty. There are about 100 tickets left for the Sunday matinee; the doors at Kyrouz Auditorium open at 2 p.m. The Saturday night gala is sold-out.

This benefit, called Stepping Up for City Hall, will raise money to restore the windows. A couple of years back Leonard produced the Banana Glam O Rama Fashion show, which launched the beginning of the restoration and the efforts of the City Hall Restoration Committee.

“We are thrilled to have Richard Leonard back again. Richard is a restorer. He takes vintage clothing and brings it back to life and that’s what we are doing with the city hall restoration,” said Kathy Slifer, one of the organizers.

“Richard promises that the finale will blow your mind. His creativity is endless,” added Jan Bell, another organizer.

This glamour event is a large undertaking that involves about 60 volunteers and 40 outfits for the hour-long show. In addition to the show, there will be silent auction items to boost the fund-raising efforts.

“We are bringing this vintage building back to life and everyone is excited about how it looks. We are thrilled that Richard chose our cause to show off his vintage clothing and strut his stuff and that’s why the event is called Stepping up for City Hall,” said Bell. “We are all so proud of the way City Hall is looking.”

Members of the restoration committee note that City Hall can be seen coming into Gloucester, from both land and from sea.

“It’s wonderful to see this building taken care of. There is a sense of pride in that. It gives us all a sense of confidence in the city and the people of Gloucester,” said Bell.

Organizers are encouraging people to dress up and have fun with their attire.

“You don’t have to dress up but it can be fun to wear a crazy hat, or outfit, or both,” said Bell. “And if you have nothing to wear, go to Bananas and you will find an outfit.”

Sunday tickets are $35, and available at Bananas or at the door.

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3445, or

If you go What and who: Stepping Up for City Hall benefit fashion show, produced by Richard Leonard When: 2 p.m. Sunday (Saturday event is sold out.). Where: Kyrouz Auditorium, City Hall, 9 Dale Ave. How much: $35; tickets available in advance at Bananas, 78 Main St., or at the door.