Contact: Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer
Phone: 951-956-2120
jvargo@cityofperris.org

Centennial Salute to Fashion Packs the Perris Theater

Perris Mayor Daryl Busch welcomes visitors to the Centennial Fashion Show while Katie Keyes, a member of the Perris Valley Historical and Museum Association, looks on.
Perris Mayor Daryl Busch welcomes visitors to the Centennial Fashion Show while Katie Keyes, a member of the Perris Valley Historical and Museum Association, looks on. Mayor Busch: “The Perris Theatre is a great venue for this.”

There was truly something for every follower of fashion at the City’s centennial salute to clothes Saturday at the Perris Theatre.
Day dresses. Evening dresses. Formal dresses. Dresses to clean the house. Dresses for a night on the town. Flapper dresses. Dresses with sequins and rhinestones. Plain dresses. Prom dresses. Wedding dresses. Even psychedelic dresses.
Many of the creations sat safely stored in bags and boxes for decades until the Centennial Fashion Show.

The show, sponsored by the City of Perris with the Perris Valley Historical and Museum Association, featured 126 dresses and gowns, including some with accompanying veils, caps, gloves and handbags. About 300 people filled the renovated Perris Theatre.

“This is absolutely fantastic,” Perris Mayor Daryl Busch told the crowd. “The theatre is part of our ongoing renovations to Downtown Perris. We want to make it a multi-use venue for stage plays, concerts and bands. This is a great venue for a production like this.”

Perris Parks and Recreation Department worker Stacie Dain models a dress during the fashion show
Perris Parks and Recreation Department worker Stacie Dain models a dress during the fashion show.

Perris City Councilwoman Joanne Evans said she has seldom seem the theatre so full.

“This is absolutely awesome,” Evans said. “Have you ever seen the theatre more packed?”

One of the unique aspects of the Centennial Fashion Show was that is allowed models to wear skirts and dresses worn or designed by the mothers, grandmothers or great-grandmothers. Alina Minnich, 23, wore dresses designed by her great-grandmother, Helen Minnich, in the 1930s.

“It gives a connection to the past,” Alina Minnich said. “It means a lot. I grew up in Perris. It always feels like home here.”

Perris Associate Planner Diane Sbardellati sports a dress at the fashion show. “I love vintage clothing,” she says
Perris Associate Planner Diane Sbardellati sports a dress at the fashion show. “I love vintage clothing,” she says.

Perris resident Sharron Marsh spent weeks cataloging the collection, which covered periods from the 1910s to the present day. Marsh said that in the 1930s, designers created dresses with “flowing lines that moved very fluidly with the body.”
By comparison, the 1940s was more austere as a result of World War II, so zippers, buttons and nylons disappeared. The 1950s saw the introduction of the poodle skirt and the additions of rhinestone and glitter to other garb. With the 1960s, came bellbottoms along with loud colors and exotic patterns symbolic of the psychedelic era.

The 12 wedding gowns spanned a century. Several featured long trains. One cost $45 new and the bride who wore it worked an entire year to cover its costs.

City staff members Yavonne Sims, Stacie Dain and Diane Sbardellati modeled some of the fashions. Afterwards, Sbardellati said she had a wonderful time modeling a 1940s black lace dress and a 1950s shirt waist dress.

Public Works employee Yavonne Sims models a lace dress
Public Works employee Yavonne Sims models a lace dress.

“I love vintage clothes,” she said. “The historical museum did a great job in putting on this fashion show. It was a wonderful opportunity to help make it a success. The vintage clothes evoke memories of the past. The theatre was the perfect setting.”

Katie Keyes, a Perris historian and member of the Perris Valley Historical and Museum Association, said the fashion show was a fun but tiring event. Many volunteers spent countless hours cataloging, researching and presenting the historic clothing.

“It was an enormous amount of work but it was an awful lot of fun,” Keyes said.

In addition to serving as models for the show, several other City staff members also worked behind-the-scenes to make it a success.

Alina Minnich, grand-daughter of former Mayor Ben Minnich, shows off a dress while walking the runway at the Perris Centennial Fashion Show
Alina Minnich, grand-daughter of former Mayor Ben Minnich, shows off a dress while walking the runway at the Perris Centennial Fashion Show.

Those include Tammy Bianco, Lynn Buchanan, Allen W. Yun, Linda Guthery, Joshua Estrada, Sarina Brannon, Anthony Hurley, James Fructuoso, Edgar Trenado, Arturo Garcia, Mike Tanney, Ken Martin and Juan Lemus.