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April 1, 2017 – Marcie Setlow – Berkshire Edge:

Popular Fashion Fundraiser returns April 7-9 with new leadership and, location, but same great fashion finds.

Attention smart shoppers, fashionistas, clotheshorses, bargain hunters and anyone with even a mild interest in great clothes at great prices. BerkChique! is back April 7-9. So, mark your calendars and prepare yourselves for a shopping good time. This year, the event returns to South County, and will be held in the former Berkshire Functional Fitness building at 325 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, just off of Route 7, behind the newly opened Prana Bar Restaurant and next to Catwalk Boutique. This space has been donated by owner John Delmolino.

People who care about the Berkshire Humane Society, Catwalk, Community Access to the Arts (CATA), Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires, IS183 Art School of the Berkshires and WAM Theatre – this is for you, too. BerkChique! is a fashion fundraiser, and all these organizations are beneficiaries this year.

This year’s chair and guiding spirit is Vicki Bonnington, known throughout the Berkshires for her extraordinary fashion sense and personal clothing collection. The retired head of litigation for GE Plastics in Pittsfield, Bonnington has been a major part of BerkChique! since it was founded in 2012 by Nancy Fitzpatrick to raise funds for Berkshire Creative, the precursor to 1Berkshire.

It’s Vicki’s contributions that put the real pizzazz into BerkChique! She traces her fascination with clothing back to the 1960’s when she fell in love with the Beatles. For the first time, she remembers, clothing became costume, and she still has the outfit she wore when she went to see the Beatles at Maple Leaf Stadium in Toronto in the summer of 1965 —a “young Edwardian” dress in red paisley with a lace bib, long sleeves and more lace at the wrists.

Since then, she has loved fabrics and colors. “Seeing someone in a fabulous outfit is a wonderful thing,” says Bonnington. At BerkChique!, people can try on clothes they never would have tried on elsewhere, she says. “If you come, you will go home with a treasure. I promise that!”

Of the clothes and accessories for sale there, Bonnington is responsible for bringing together at least 1500 separate items. Most come from her own personal collection, and the rest are donations she has wrangled from other people’s closets. For about six weeks prior to the event, Bonnington visits her stable of donors, goes with them into their closets and comes away with designer clothes of every size and style as well as stunning accessories. Another 2000 or more items will be collected, processed and tagged by Leslie

Weil and Mimi Rosenblatt, who otherwise run the Catwalk Boutique for the benefit of the Berkshire Humane Society. And the other key member of the team is Rebecca Weinman, also a veteran of every BerkChique! since 2012, who is in charge of publicity, promotion and coordination.

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