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SPRING ON CASTLE: Castle Street shops host ‘Pretty in Pink’ celebration on Saturday

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’80s party soon underway!

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In 1986, when Molly Ringwald’s “Pretty in Pink” hit theaters, I became obsessed. No, not because it tackled levels of social class through the eyes of a teen but because the music captivated at the onset—from the opening of the new-wave title track by The Psychedelic Furs, to Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’s “If You Leave,” to Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness.” But it’s the quirk of its main characters, the outliers, that elevated the movie because of their inherent weirdness and personal creativity.


PRETTY IN PINK … ISN’T SHE? Gracie Cole and Aidan Malone, styled by Jess James and Shannon Dunne, with makeup by Kristin McLoughlin of Harbour Day Spa & Salon at Jess James + Co. and Second Skin Vintage on Castle Street. Photos by Jess James

11The plot centers around the underdog fashionista, Andie, who is obsessed with pink, makes her own clothes, is a smart student being raised by a single dad without a job, and lives on the opposite side of the tracks from the preppy, rich kids. This group often bullies Andie and her friends—including the endearingly flamboyant Duckie, who has been in love with Andie since youth, and gal pal Gina, a punk-rock snarkstar. As fate would have it, Andie’s in love with one of the richies: Blaine. She daydreams of being accepted by the wealthy in-crowd, though she has very little money and is way too unique to wear expensive, mass-produced Izod polos and tennis skirts. With the help of her 30-something wackadoo BFF, Iona—the manager of the local record shop where Andie works—the heroine of the movie gets through her major boy crush and rises above the popular crowd to remain true to self and love for all things vintage.

In a celebration of what’s become a cult classic for teens everywhere, a “Pretty in Pink” party will take place on Castle Street to celebrate local businesses, fashion, music, and the ‘80s film. The hub of the fashion-centered party will be at Jess James + Co. (511 Castle St.), the newest vintage store on the block. Upstarted by Jess James, a.k.a. “Stylegirl,” the event was organized much in the vein of her other parties held throughout the years, including many Gatsby-inspired soirees and a disco ‘70s get-down last year at Scooters Skating Center. There will be a $5 admission fee (and automatically puts folks in the running for a $100 gift certificate to James’ store), which comes with pink-inspired cocktails from Astral Craft Cocktails, pink cupcakes from Pink Baking Company, Southern biscuits from Rx Restaurant, and bakla-vavoom from Kathy Parthemos Rayle. 

Attendees are encouraged to meander throughout all Castle Street Arts and Antique District. Wilmington’s Best Record Store, Gravity (612 Castle St.), will have a curated ‘80s section on display, and Aluna Works (603 Castle St.) will sell handmade paper and art. Decades of Decor will have a 15-percent-off storewide sale all day, and Second Skin Vintage is planning a sale on all pink clothing and accessories. As well, Vintage Vagabond, Whistlepig Workshops, Ahnahata Swimwear, HM Books & Prints, Flower Crowns by Carly and other boutiques and vendors will be set up at Jess James + Company.

Participants are encouraged to come decked out like their fave character from the movie, or don their best in ‘80s wear and pink-inspired garb. It’s a color James says should have no intimidation attached to it, no matter the gender.

“When you think of the film, people immediately envision Andie’s iconic pink prom dress,” James says. “For the gals that are allergic to pink, wear your favorite take on the ‘80s—maybe it’s a slashed Cure tee with black jeans and Doc Martens. You can always wear pink lipstick.”

For guys, James says printed shirts or a tie with pink in it always works. Or go straight Duckie. “Bolo ties, patch-embellished blazers, spectators, silk kimonos, and his signature round glasses,” James lists.

Though the color isn’t necessarily hip in the 2017 spring line (although rose quartz was the Pantone color of the year in 2016), James finds the pale blush variety of pink among her favorite. “I like to wear pale pink as a neutral,” she explains, “with pale dove gray, nude and metallics.” She refers to Diana Vreeland’s quote to mark its impact: “Pink is the navy blue of India.”

Many elements from Andie’s style are very much seeing a moment in the spotlight. Floral jeans are back, as is lacey layering, vests, bowler hats, bomber jackets, and silk chiffon scarves. Though feminine, paired with an eclectic eye, it tends to be offbeat and one-of-a-kind, according to James. There will be Best Dressed prizes for a guy and gal, and raffle prizes throughout the day, with proceeds benefitting one of James’ favorite “pink nonprofits,” Planned Parenthood.

“Education, a safe haven for women and pregnancy/abortion prevention are very vital elements to the nonprofit,” according to James.

Terra Sol Sanctuary will host a donation-based “Pretty in Pink,” ‘80s-inspired yoga class at 9 a.m.. They, too, will donate partial proceeds to Planned Parenthood. An afterparty is slated to take place at Wilmington Wine Shoppe (605 Castle St.).

“The ‘80s is not one of my favorite eras when it comes to fashion, but it’s accessible and can be really fun!” James says. “A ‘Pretty in Pink’-themed party is a fun way to celebrate the start to the spring season on Castle Street.”

As expected, in the back of James’ boutique, in the garden area, the film will be screening on loop all day. Retro tunes will be spun by DJ Hannah Margaret Stewart-O’Hanlon, who is known for putting an emphasis on ‘60s soul, but will be curating an ‘80s-inspired soundtrack. “We are making plans to debut our own retro DJ company called ‘The Beehive Blondes,’” James notes. “We both work in vintage (she still freelances for a European vintage chain called Retro Vintage based in London), and we love clothing with a past and old music. At each gig, we plan to dress ‘60s vintage attire, wear our hair in exaggerated beehives and bring a rack of vintage to sell. We are in the very early stages, but hope to secure our first gig soon.”

Pretty in Pink Castle St. Party
April 15, 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Castle Street Arts and Antique District
511 Castle St. • $5

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