Stow business owner puts twist on hobby

Sarah Nusinow

Collecting celebrity memorabilia and film is a passion for Richard John, owner of Hood and Hoover Jewelry in Stow.

John, however, puts an artistic twist on this traditional hobby.

Piecing together film clips and sound bites into new movies and stand-up shows makes every event entertaining.

“I’ve collected for many years, but I buy from auctions mostly where celebrities offer up their gowns or where celebrity memorabilia is the focus, like Christie’s and Sotheby’s,” John said.

The first piece he bought was a Dorothy Lamour dress.

“I preferred collecting old Hollywood films from the Golden Age (the 1930s and 1940s) and bought the dress as something interesting and new to add to my collection,” he said. “But it was not intended to be my new hobby, though, it kind of worked out that way.”

The first time John was asked to showcase his gowns at a Friends of Fashion tea, he was reluctant because it was simply a personal hobby for which he did not want to gain attention.

“The first show was such a great success that we did another one, then soon I began doing more shows for other groups even though I didn’t want to originally,” he said.

John has done three shows for the Friends of Fashion organization, which supports the fashion school and the fashion museum.

At the “Friends of Fashion: A Star Lit Night” Saturday night, John showcased an array of gowns, jewelry and men’s wear he has collected for 25 years.

“The 12 Bob Mackie gowns are some that I find very interesting,” he told the 114 attendees.

The sold-out event was a celebration for members of Friends of Fashion honoring those who had donated time and money throughout the year.

John also pieced together a film with old Hollywood celebrities, many of whom were wearing clothing that he now owns.

He also developed a stand-up show involving six different acts from Hollywood icons. Each of the six garments on stage represented a different celebrity. As the lights singled out the first garment, a red dress, a sound bite played that John had pieced together from “I Love Lucy.”

“I thought this would add flair and dimension to the show,” John said.

Five other celebrities followed, and at the end they received applause.

“It’s like they were really there on stage in front of us, I could definitely envision Lucy and Liberace there giving us our own show,” Jo Cawley, Hood and Hoover Jewelry manager said.

“The night was beautiful, just as we had planned it,” Friends of Fashion president Betsy Mangin said. “His collections are amazing and it’s always wonderful to have him.”

John said he does not have any events coming up.

“I’m taking a break because things like this take so much time and energy to plan, but I love doing them and I’m sure there will be more in the future.”

Contact fashion reporter Sarah Nusinow at [email protected].