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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: NH gets its own Fashion Week

March 27. 2016 9:26PM

Organizers of the first-ever New Hampshire Fashion Weekend promise a New York-style runway with real couture designs.

“It won’t be farmer jeans,” said Cynthia Hudson, the event’s lead organizer.

The two-day event — April 2 and 3 at The Radisson — will feature 22 designers, 80 models and 17 performers. Fashions for women, men and children will be shown, as well as jewelry and other accessories. Several designers live in New Hampshire, including Seema Khalil of Londonderry and Marie Luce of Litchfield.

Khalil’s line, called Chic Dock, is inspired by India, where she grew up. Although she has no formal training, during trips back to India she would design her own fashions from fabric embroidered at a shop owned by her mother. When she wore the pieces back here in the United States, everyone would ask her where she got them. Friends eventually encouraged her to start her own line.

Today Khalil designs her own embroidery, clothing, and hand-woven scarves, and has them made in India at a workshop of her own. Chic Dock’s first collection will be shown for the first time during New Hampshire Fashion Weekend. It will be available for sale in late April on

Khalil, who is navigating the difficult fashion industry while running a home and raising twin 10-year-old girls, said she desperately wants to grow her business so she can help the women in India who make her clothing.

“I pay 5 percent to my workers because they are very poor and it’s not an easy life,” she said, saying she has started helping some get their first toilets in their homes. “I have so many plans for them, but my business has to come first.”

New Hampshire Fashion Weekend is a dream come true for Litchfield designer Marie Luce, who will use it to debut her “sophisticated luxury collection for girls” under the label Maria Lucce.

Luce, 56, was taught to sew by her grandmother at the age of 5, and began designing wedding and other formal wear in 1986. She tried numerous times to open her own shop, but the single mother of four always hit roadblocks. Now that all the children are out of her house, she feels she can really focus on her dream.

“There’s nothing stopping me from doing this,” she said. She has invited many Massachusetts and New Hampshire boutique owners to the show, and is excited to show what she can do. “Maybe this will be the time.”

Show organizer Hudson, who lives in Hudson, said she is a 27-year veteran of the fashion industry, and figured if other New England states have a fashion week, “why can’t we?”

Other designers in the show come from across New England and the United States, and one is from Paris. The weekend begins with a VIP cocktail party in the lounge area adjacent to the Radisson’s front lobby on Saturday, April 2, from 6 to 7 p.m. The runway shows and live performances will follow inside the Armory until 11 p.m. Sunday’s shows run from noon to 4 p.m.

All attendees who pre-register and bring an unexpired, non-perishable food item to donate to End 68 Days of Hunger, will get a swag bag that Hudson values at $300 to $500. A portion of the show’s proceeds will go to Steven Tyler’s Janie’s Fund for abused and neglected girls.

Tickets are just $25 for VIP admission and $10 for general admission. For more information, and a link to purchase tickets, visit and search for New Hampshire Fashion Week (or click here for a link).

Big Fat Greek movie

If you attended the 7 p.m. showing of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” at Cinemagic in Hooksett Friday, you may have felt you were surrounded by characters from the movie.

We all know Marga Bessette as WZID’s spunky morning co-host, but she’s also a proud congregant of Saint George Greek Orthodox Church. She said a large group from the church, organized by Toula Barber, attended the movie on Friday.

“This movie exemplifies the very heart and core of our Greek heritage,” Bessette said. “We’re loud, opinionated, and congregate in large groups, but at the same time we love family and friends above all else. Every day of our lives is a celebration.”


Go Fund PAL

Demolition has begun at the Michael Briggs Community Center as the nonprofit Building On Hope embarks on a $1 million renovation to the building where Manchester Police Athletic League holds safe after-school programs for inner-city youth. As in past Building On Hope projects (Girls, Inc. in Manchester, Opportunity Networks in Amherst, and The White House Intensive in Manchester) the group looks to local businesses and professionals to donate materials and labor for the project. But the latest renovation — the largest to date — is also going to require some cash, and Building on Hope is looking to the community to raise $100,000.

Donations can be made at

In addition, Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA) tax credits are available for businesses interested in making a financial donation. For more information on donating time, talent or treasure to Building on Hope and Manchester Police Athletic League, visit

NH365.ORG Event of the Week

In its third year, the annual spaghetti dinner to support the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth’s Battle of the Badges Hockey Championship attracted about 100 people to The Derryfield Restaurant last Thursday and raised more than $4,000 for the hospital.

The star of the night was 4-year-old Elliot Perry, who is alive today because of the efforts of CHaD, and whose parents, BJ and Carrie, organize the annual dinner in support of a Battle of the Badges player. Elliot is an expert networker who is very comfortable with a microphone.

This year, Manchester police officer Kyle Daly has the pleasure of having Elliot as his Battle of the Badges buddy. Seeing them together was worth the price of admission to the dinner. With Daly by his side, Elliot told a WMUR cameraman that Daly’s job was to get bad guys out of the road.

You can see Daly play hockey with other police and firefighters from across the state to raise money for CHaD by attending the Battle of the Badges Hockey Championship at the Verizon Wireless Arena this Saturday, April 2 at 5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at

For more feel-good events in and around the Queen City, visit

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