With sparkle, shine, lace and layers, Anita Rushton’s collection is a feast for the eyes.
The Truro woman collects gowns that have a little something special, and she now has about 150 of them.
“I look for something unique,” she said. “Some are vintage, some are reproductions, some are southern-belle style, some are just so beautiful I couldn’t resist them. I’m like a crow when I see a lot of sparkle.”
She developed an appreciation for gowns while stationed with the militia in Thunder Bay and had the opportunity to wear gowns to mess dinners.
“My favourite is a vintage gown from the 1920s or earlier,” she said. “I found it at Louis and the stitching inside was a clue that it was really unique. To me, it looks like something you could have found someone wearing on the deck of the Titanic. Since I got it, it’s been in two fashion shows and to a Halloween party.”
Her collection also includes two Damianou gowns, some wedding dresses, hoop crinolines, vintage-look lingerie, fancy dresses for little girls and a couple of very small tuxedos. Accessorizing isn’t a problem; she also has jewelry, gloves, hats and shawls.
Rushton often loans her gowns for events such as fashion shows at nursing homes and princess party fundraisers for Carma Cat Rescue.
She has a few gowns she's used for special events herself, including one she wore to a New Year’s Eve party in 1974.
“When I get a new gown, it hangs on the door of my bedroom closet for a month or more before it goes to join the collection,” she said. “I just want to be able to admire it for a while first. I love beautiful things and I have fun showing off my collection to people who appreciate it.”
Gowns to give away
Anita Rushton recently acquired about 100 gowns that were destined for the landfill. She kept a couple for her collection but would like to share the others with anyone who can use them, whether for a formal event, costume party, theatre or for a child to play dress-up. Anyone interested in getting a gown can call Rushton at 902-897-9815.