WHEN Hollywood darling Julia Roberts glided along the red carpet at this year's Oscar ceremony in a vintage Valentino dress the fashionistas of the world suddenly woke up to the fact that style does not have to be new to be now.
Overnight vintage became the must-have on every shopping list and it's with this in mind that we take you on an early Christmas shopping trip to prepare for the incoming party season.
Vintage is the sussed socialite's way of outshining the fairy on the top of the tree without leaving the bank account as empty as Santa's sack on Boxing Day. It's what a girl needs when she has more flash than cash and wants to look chic without appearing to be cheap.
And what better place to look than the region's charity shops? Now don't sniff! The days when these places were piled high with Aran hand-knits and musty tweed suits are long gone.
At the Hope House Shop in Lloyd Street, Llandudno, the glitzy goodies are flying off the shelves, high street labels rub padded shoulders with must-have names, while accessories and shoes stand by ready to complete the outfit.
The Tu Gobaith yng Nghymru (Hope House in Wales) Appeal was officially launched recently. Supported by The Daily Post, it aims to raise pounds 2m to set up a hospice for terminally-ill children in North Wales to match the sterling work done by the original Hope House near Oswestry. A chain of shops is one way of raising vital cash and Llandudno is its newest.
"The shop is so busy it's unbelievable, " says volunteer Irene Hopwood.
"Clothes come in and go out the next day, it's the same every day. We have Frank Usher, Windsmoor and it all looks brand new. Our customers go out thrilled to bits."
Shop manager Di Evans, meanwhile, who looked fabulous in a navy Richards dress (pounds 25) and Firenze shoes (pounds 4.95) appealed for more donations. "Everything sells so fast, we really do need more clothes for the party season."
All donated items are steam cleaned and pressed before being hung out in the shop, it's blonde wood floor and light windows helping to bust the dull charity shop image.
Barnardo's in Smithdown Place, Allerton, Liverpool is run by the double act Sharon and Barbara who have become used to opening bags full of Prada, Chanel and Buglarri bargains.
"A lot of women change their wardrobes every season, so the clothes are practically brand new, " enthuses Sharon. Pointing out a black Prada man's top she added: "We are getting a lot more men's designer wear here too."
The shop's list of best buys reads like a fashionista's dream. In the past they have been donated Stella McCartney outfits, Karen Millen suits and a Chanel handbag that made pounds 50 for the store. This year's must-have Louis Vuitton handbags are also to be had here.
"We know the real stuff from the copies, " says Sharon.
Prices in both shops start from as little as pounds 2 for a glitzy sequinned top and run up to between pounds 40 and pounds 50 for a top-notch designer-label dress. So, knock 'em dead this Christmas without antagonising your bank manager or worsening the post-festivities bank account hangover.
What's more, by doing just that you'll be boosting the coffers of some of the most deserving causes around and giving your halo a little extra polish into the bargain.
CAN you play your part in helping raise pounds 2m to build Hope House in North Wales?
You could organise an event through your workplace, school or with a group of friends. Fundraising packs are available from Hope House.
You may consider becoming a volunteer at one of our shops in Wales. We also need goods to sell. Contact us for more details.
Hope House also has Friends Groups throughout the area who help to raise money for the hospice and have fun doing it.
If you are a taxpayer you can increase the value of your gift at no extra cost to you by allowing the charity to claim the tax back on your donation.
You can send donations to the Ty Gobaith yng Nghymru Appeal, Freepost NWW7606A, Llandudno Junction, Conwy, LL31 9ZD.
You can send donations directly to the Hope House Appeals office at Nant Lane, Morda, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 9BX.
Supporters in North Wales who can organise fundraising events are also needed. Anyone wanting further information should contact Hope House on 01691 671671.
A CLASSIC: Donna wears the ubiquitous little black dress. This is by John Charles and costs pounds 30. Black suede shoes at pounds 3 and pearls, pounds 2 Pictures: TONY KENWRIGHT VINTAGE VALUE: Claire, left, models a Wallis dress from the Hope House shop at just pounds 4.99 while Di's Navy Blue Richard's dress, top, cost pounds 25. Centre is Donna Henderson in a Biba Jacket from Barnardos at pounds 27.50 and Biba trousers at pounds 15. Moschino bag, pounds 20 plus leather cap at pounds 3. Above right, Irene models a Frank Usher suit priced at pounds 19.95 with a red jacket at pounds 19 Picture: STACEY ROBERTS ELEGANT: Mint Versace dress, pounds 45, with a green antique bag at pounds 35 and grey shoes by Dune, pounds 10
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|Publication:||Daily Post (Liverpool, England)|
|Date:||Nov 19, 2001|
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