Friday night, Lynn Mills and Jill Anderson pulled out their best clothes from the 1950s and 1960s. They made snacks (Rice Krispie treats, pigs in a blanket, little smokies), and found a volunteer bartender who mixed martinis and gin and tonics.
They set all this up at Maud Boutique, 521 N. 33rd St., a vintage clothing store that Mills opened this summer.
And then they invited friends and strangers to the shop for an evening among clothing, cocktails, and other women who love both.
Both Mills and Anderson are longtime collectors of vintage clothing and fans of fashion from the 1950s and 1960s.
They became friends when Anderson dropped by Mills' shop just after she opened.
They realized they had similar tastes, that they had spent years of their lives collecting the same sorts of things.
And that they had reached a point where both were ready to part with some of it.
Mills opened the shop, but on Friday, Anderson helped her throw the party.
They figured that with Halloween just around the corner and “Mad Men” still casting its spell on popular culture, now was as good a time as any for Omaha women to be in the market for midcentury clothing. So they combed through their collections to find pieces from that era and put them up for sale. They filled the shop with midcentury furniture, temporarily giving the boutique the feel of a home.
“With Halloween coming up, people would like to go as Betty and Joan,” said Anderson, referring to two “Mad Men” characters.
Women (including me) tried on cocktail dresses and gowns from that era. They admired outfits their friends tried on. They listened as Anderson and Mills explained how the military-inspired, utilitarian, no-nonsense clothing of the World War II era gave way to bright colors, luxurious fabrics and full, full skirts of the New Look after the war ended.
Women swapped stories about their own vintage finds — perhaps now too small, or disintegrating from years of wear, or, in a few cases, tucked safely away in a cedar chest. And many did some shopping, too.
Mills and Anderson, an Omaha singer and actress, hope it's the first of many events that mix socializing and shopping (and a few cocktails, too).
“You know what I love most of all,” Anderson said, “is seeing grown women playing dress up.”
In other fashion news, mark your calendars — the dates for 2013 Omaha Fashion Week are set. The spring shows will be Feb. 25 through March 2, and the fall shows will be Aug. 19 through 24, both at Kaneko. Designers will be announced on Nov. 5, and open model calls will be held Dec. 3 and Dec. 10.