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April 26, 2016 – Marilyn Bethany – Rural Intelligence:

Berkshires fashion icon Vicki Bonnington will begin planning next year’s BerkChique!, a charity clothing sale she co-chairs with Rebecca Weinman, as soon as this year’s (May 6 – 8 at the former Crane Stationery factory in Dalton, Mass.) wraps.

As Bonnington, whose cast-offs last year accounted for fully half of the BerkChique! take, explains it, “I’m a really great shopper.” No kidding. To cite just one example of her prowess, some months ago, while scrolling through eBay, she noticed a listing for “a rack of Jean Paul Gaultier” garments offered by a boutique that was going out of business. After a quick calculation in her head, she confidently ran the bidding up to a winning $1200.“Each piece of Gaultier retails for at least $1,000,” she reasoned. “So, if there are two pieces on that rack that work for me, I’m ahead, and, of course, I donate the rest.” Gaultier notwithstanding, nothing in Bonnington’s section of the sale is “dime a dozen stuff.” Fashions are presented on racks labeled $20, $40, $60, $80, $100, $150 and $200. There’s also one headed “Priceless.” This last contains garments whose price is to-be-determined through “discussion” with (consider this your Warning Label) Bonnington, a retired litigator for G.E. Regardless of the price, one must think of it as money well spent. Conceived by Nancy Fitzpatrick, owner of the Red Lion Inn, as a means of monetizing the upscale detritus from her friends’ closets, BerkChique!’s donations now include both men’s and women’s garments, some from contributors with ties to the fashion industry. Beneficiaries include 1Berkshire, IS183 Art School, WAM Theatre and CATA, among other regional non-profits.

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