On the fashion runway at Moldaw Family Residences

Was that the dining room at the Moldaw Family Residences in Palo Alto? Or was it a fashion show runway in Paris or New York?

tella Alexandre photos/matt hartenstein

On May 15, it was hard to tell, as 18 Moldaw residents took to the catwalk to model stylish but senior-sensible outfits from a nearby clothing store. There were even paparazzi — well, one paparazzo, Matt Hartenstein, the sales counselor at Moldaw, who took photos.

The event was the first residents’ fashion show at Moldaw Family Residences, a 11⁄2-year-old independent living facility for seniors located on the Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life in Palo Alto.

In front of an audience of about 75, the seniors modeled the spring and summer collection from Coldwater Creek, an adult clothing store in the Stanford Shopping Center. The onlookers were family, friends and other residents.

“At first I thought our residents would not go for the idea of a fashion show, but boy was I wrong,” said Terry Sand, Moldaw’s lifestyle director. “Once the signup sheet went up, it was like, ‘Oh, I really want to be in the show.’ “

Eighteen women volunteered to be fashion models, and some of the men signed up to be escorts. Moldaw currently has about 130 residents, which is about 50 percent of capacity. Several mother-daughter duos took to the runway, including Moldaw Executive Director Marilyn Israel and her mother, Shirley Israel, who flew in from Chicago to participate.

Lucille Brown photos/matt hartenstein

The outfits were supplied by Coldwater Creek, and if residents wanted to buy what they modeled, they could get it for 40 percent off. In the weeks leading up to the show, the seniors visited the store and selected what they wanted to wear — from casual to dressy — and then properly accessorized.

Sand, who has more than 20 years of experience as a comedian, actress and humor coach, said she taught the women some modeling moves, proper balance and hand positions. She didn’t want them “just coming out and shlubbing around” — and they certainly

didn’t, as some of their fancy moves on the runway drew wild applause.

After the show, there was a champagne and fruit-and-cheese reception, with a live band.

Shirley Israel photos/matt hartenstein

“The whole thing was incredibly fun and just great for team-building,” said Sand, who said she is working on other creative events.