Just fabulous, dahling

Sid Cratzbarg, centre, is surrounded by his models, Elaine Charron, left, Manja Mackley, Diane Ashby and Wendy Booth, who took part in a luncheon fashion show Wednesday featuring apparel for mature women.

Photographs by Chris Mikula

It’s not about how old you are, it’s about attitude, says Sid Cratzbarg, one of the Ottawa’s most well-known fashion and fragrance stylists. The bespectacled mover-and-shaker hosts several fashion shows a year geared toward showing mature women they can look sexy without forking out lots of money.

“Beauty and fashion have nothing to do with age. It’s about how you carry yourself and your attitude. My philosophy is that women should be appropriate. You don’t want to see a mature woman wearing a miniskirt.” He believes older women are largely overlooked in an industry that favours young, pencil-thin and tall women. His models are all “real women” over the age of 50.

Cratzbarg was in his element on Wednesday during a luncheon for 110 guests at the Travelodge Hotel. His humorous one-liners and running commentary during the 45-minute show added to the festive mood. He purchased each item of clothing, including sophisticated jackets, colourful scarves and shawls and pretty jewelry and purses, and showcased 15 looks on four models, who walk from table to table chatting with the crowd.

Model Elaine Charron is proof ‘beauty and fashion have nothing to do with age.’

Manja Mackley, 62, knows a thing or two about clothing and has been modelling since the 1960s. For the past eight years, she has taken part in Cratzbarg’s Accessories by Sid fashion shows.

“Sid is such a friendly man and knows what women want. I’ve bought many of his outfits. It’s always an adventure being in one of Sid’s show,” Mackley says.

Sometimes Cratzbarg will put together an entire ensemble based on a scarf or pair of earrings. His models usually wear at least one item of their own clothes — such as a pair of black slacks or skirt — so that he can illustrate to customers how easy it is to expand your wardrobe with one purchase.

Wendy Booth, a longtime Ottawa model, has been part of Cratzbarg’s team for a dozen years. She says he genuinely wants to help women improve their style and confidence. “Women come to his shows and then can purchase what they want right away. He also has a showroom in his house where he meets for one-on-one consultations.”

Cratzbarg, who also works as a fragrance consultant at Holt Renfrew, has just landed a fashion segment on Rogers TV in Ottawa and is set to work on at least six episodes. “Fashion transcends all ages,” Cratzbarg says.

For show information and wardrobe consultations, visit aristocratofscent.ca.

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