Holliswood Center celebrates love with Valentine’s Day fashion show: Residents and staff hit the runway

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Staff members participate in the fashion show at Holliwood Center.
Photo by Athena Dawson

Staff and residents at the Holliswood Center strutted their stuff on the runway for their second annual Valentine’s Day Fashion show.

The main dining room was transformed into a Valentine’s Day wonderland complete with rose petals, flower garlands and pink curtains lining the walls.

Soft jazz music and throwback hits made for a welcoming presence for the seniors as they waited in anticipation for the fashion show to start. The event kicked off with two of Holliswood’s senior residents, Sandra Torres and Mary Adison walking down the runway in their best Valentines Day threads. “ I felt special, I felt loved. Everybody clapped for me,” Adison said in her all red outfit as she rejoined the audience to watch the other models. The rest of the fashion show commenced with appearances by Holliswood staff members that enthusiastically strutted down the runway for the cheerful crowd.

Recreation director Angie LaPlanche graced the runway in an all brown outfit – an ode to Valentine’s Day chocolate- in one of the many themes featured during the fashion show.

Residents wait to cheer on models.Photo by Athena Dawson

LaPlanche, one of the organizers of the event, emphasized the importance of throwing themed events for residents at the center. “ It gives a chance for the residents to strut their stuff and show off a little bit. Essentially we just wanted to build more community, especially within the residents. It’s a great way to gather them around and listen to some music especially during Valentine’s Day,” she said. On a day to day we don’t necessarily do these events. It’s a great time to gather people and show some love to the residents and also to the staff.

The fashion show featured an array of outfit themes and changes from flowy pink floral dresses, to a red patterned lehenga worn by dietician Ashley Barrueco, and a red sequined gown that brought rounds of applause from the onlookers and whoops of approval from supportive staff.

The Holliswood staff consider the center a close-knit community, and for Barrueco working at the center was a full circle moment for her. “ I have very humble beginnings at Holliswood, when I was in college I worked here for community service in the recreation department, so I have a very close heart to entertaining the residents.I got my degree in dietetics… I passed my board and I came back as a dietician here,” she said. Barrueco, who is known to be a fashionista at the center, said her favorite outfit of the show was her “ Godiva goddess and romantic rose outfit.”

Recreation aide Dina Schinnery who’s been at Holliswood for 22 years participated in the fashion show to bring some festive cheer to the residents. “ Everything we do is for the residents. We love making them smile and making them happy. It’s Valentine’s Day and we wanted to do something different, “she said.

Resident Mary Adison wears her best Valentine’s Day threads.Photo by Athena Dawson