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Style / Back to the garden

A fashion shoot and conversation


Many Spree fashion shoots include people from the Buffalo community who don’t normally model clothing for the camera. They shop in all sizes and have occupations that don’t always allow them to prioritize fashion. It doesn’t make any difference; the women on these pages are all beautiful, interesting, and stylish.


We’ve talked to almost all of them so that readers could get a sense of who they are and how they define style. It’s important to note that this shoot happened more than three months before this issue printed; New York had not yet “paused.” No one could have imagined where we would all be at this moment, but the priorities of this shoot—comfort, beauty, nature, and personal style—seem particularly appropriate to the current situation.


It’s important to note that the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens were still open to the public when this shoot took place. The setting is symbolic of how important our gardens are right now.

Spree editor Elizabeth Licata


Style Editor: Erin Habes @erinhabes

Photographer: Katie Addo @addoproductions

Stylists: Jack Wrafter @iackwrafter and Emma Storfer @emersonlincolnpalmer; intern, Cole Eberle @coleeberle; hair, Capello Salons @Capellosalons, Emma Seely and High Klass Hair @highklass_hair, Christina Bishop, Zarlee Burroughs and Mierela Samardzija

Makeup: Katie Ambrose @katiemakeup and Cathy Wheeler @Capellosalons

Location: Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens @buffalogardens, buffalogardens.com



Model, Gretchen Meyers Wochensky, @pegshardware

Rachel Comey sweatshirt, Just pleated skirt, Peg’s Hardware earrings, August Market @augustmarket


Model, Ollie Wochensky

BKind City raglan t-shirt, Gap jeans, June & January high tops

Hair & makeup: Capellos @capellosalons


GRETCHEN MEYERS is the founder and owner of Peg’s Hardware, a jewelry store.


How did you start your business?

I never saw myself owning my own business, let alone one in the jewelry field! I kind of fell into Peg’s in my early thirties. It started out as a hobby and eight years later, here I am. 


For work, do you dress for fashion or practicality?

Comfort and practicality. Depending on what I’m doing, metal filings and shavings and/or very dirty everything from polishing can be involved!


Best and worst parts of your job?

The best is seeing people love something that my brain and hands made. It’s insanely rewarding and what keeps me going. The drawback is probably the lack of benefits most people receive from working for a company—health insurance, 401k, and at this point, maternity leave. At the end of the day, though, I still would rather work for myself.


Outfit that gives you confidence?

I have always wanted a well-fitted suit. A pair of cigarette style pants, silk cami, tailored jacket and phenomenal shoes... Yep, that would probably ignite a strut or two. 


Favorite accessory to spice up an outfit?

Earrings, always and forever


Do you consider yourself fashion-forward? 

Sadly, not as much as once upon a time. I recognize style for sure, but I have a two-year-old with one on the way. My main concern when leaving the house isn’t what I’m wearing, but if there’s food on it.


What made you want to be a part of this shoot? 

I loved the idea of being in it with my son Oliver while being pregnant with his future little brother. It’s such a short period of time and such a gift for it to be captured and time-capsuled like this. It was very cool looking around and seeing two and three generations of women who were prepping for the shoot. I loved the idea of women of all ages being highlighted and the beauty that is held at any stage in life.


Any prior modeling experience?

Definitely not! I tend to be very awkward in front of a camera. The second I look at the lens, my face contorts in bizarre ways. I was a little nervous, but I knew I could focus my attention on Oliver and try not to be aware of the camera. 



Model, Mary McGuire

Elisabetta Franchi dress, Annarlette @annarlette

Hair: High Klass Hair @highklass_hair

Makeup: Katie Ambrose @katiemakeup


Model, Shannon DeMarco

Sara Roka dress, Annarlette @annarlette

Hair: High Klass Hair @highklass_hair

Makeup: Capellos @capellosalons


MARY MCGUIRE has some prior modeling experience but is sharing the camera with her daughter for the first time.


Outfit that gives you confidence?  

Classic, stunning dress with great shoes! I’m classically fashion forward.


Favorite accessory to spice up an outfit?  



Favorite season to dress for?

Spring/summer. I love sleeveless dresses. 


What made you want to be a part of this fashion shoot?

I liked the location. Most importantly, I knew it would be a great opportunity to do this with my daughter. Any time I can spend time with my daughters, I am happy. This was special because I used to—I am a has-been—model quite a bit before I had children. It was fun to share this part of my life with her. Just wish I could have done it with both of them. [Mary’s other daughter was out of town.]   



Model, Emma Storfer

@emersonlincolnpalmer; Scotch and Soda suit and shirt, Half & Half Boutique @halfandhalf_1088; rings, model’s own

Hair: High Klass Hair @highklass_hair

Makeup: Capellos @capellosalons


Model, Tara Hauer @tara0hara

Capulet jumpsuit, Half & Half Boutique @halfandhalf_1088; jewelry, model’s own

Hair & makeup: Capellos @capellosalons


Model, Kilby Bronstein @kilbymorganbronstein

Misa dress, Half & Half Boutique @halfandhalf_1088; rings, model’s own

Hair & makeup: Capellos @capellosalons


Young entrepreneur KILBY BRONSTEIN runs Half & Half Boutique with her mother.


What made you want to be a part of this fashion shoot?

Half & Half is a family and I love that we were able to show Buffalo what it means to us to be a part of this family. A couple years ago, my dad passed away suddenly so my mom and I have taken Half & Half and made it into our family. Every customer and employee who walks through our door is a part of us. Family has no definition. You make your own family and what it means to you can be totally different than what it means to someone else. Tara, Emma, and I and the rest of the Half & Half girls, including my mom, are at very different parts of our lives, but we all have mutual respect for one another and for Half & Half.


Any prior modeling experience?

I do not have any prior modeling experience and, in fact, I’m usually on the other end planning shoots for the store. I was a little nervous but also excited to pose for pictures with my two friends.


Outfit that gives you confidence?

I’m a low-key dresser so I definitely feel most confident in jeans, a T-shirt, and booties. I’m all about the boots these days; little fake cowboy boots are my personal favorite. I do not think I am particularly fashion-forward, but I think I’m fashionable.


Favorite accessory to spice up an outfit?

Hats! I’ve recently become a huge fan of the paperboy hat trend.


What’s it like working with your mom?

Working with my mom is my favorite adventure. Its amazing to have a partner to bounce ideas off of and we are quite the funny duo at trade shows. We’ve had a tough year at the store with the facade collapse last summer, and I could not have gotten through without her.


What do you consider when stocking your store?

Different trends, price point, seasons, colors. We like to create a story when we buy so that what is coming in aesthetically makes sense.



Model, Kym Mathis

Eileen Fisher jacket, pants and top, Alisha D necklace, Danahy’s @danahysfashion; glasses, model’s own

Hair: High Klass Hair @highklass_hair

Makeup: Katie Ambrose @katiemakeup


Model, Sondra Gallimore

Eileen Fisher pants and poncho, Simon Sebbag necklace, Danahy’s @danahysfashion; bracelet, model’s own

Hair: High Klass Hair @highklass_hair

Makeup: Katie Ambrose @katiemakeup


Model, Kirsten Johnson

Eileen Fisher pants and sweater, Lafayette 148 New York necklace, Danahy’s @danahysfashion; rings, model’s own

Hair: High Klass Hair @highklass_hair

Makeup: Katie Ambrose @katiemakeup


KYM MATHIS, former model, jumped at the chance to work with photographer Erin Habes again.


How did this compare to your prior experience?

I used to do runway modeling back in the day. Erin and her team made us so comfortable that there was no room for nerves. The atmosphere was very exciting from the make-up, hair stylist to wardrobe. It was so much fun.


What would you like readers to take away from this shoot?

How important family is and the beauty of powerful woman coming together.


Outfit that gives you confidence?

An oversized black top, leggings, and boots


Favorite accessory to spice up an outfit?

Layered necklaces


How was it sharing this with your mother and sister?

It meant so much for me to see my mom and sister get their hair and make-up done professionally and show the world how beautiful they are inside and out.


Favorite season to dress for?

Winter because we love boots, cozy sweaters, and layers.



Model, Pam Sinatra

Alice and Olivia harmony bodysuit, DVF Adina skirt, Sydney Evan bracelete, Tony Walker @tonywalkerco; shoes, rings, model’s own

Hair: High Klass Hair @highklass_hair

Makeup: Katie Ambrose @katiemakeup



Model, Renata Toney

Apricot shirtdress, Lysse ankle pant, Joy Susan scarf, SR Jewelry necklace, Turnstyle Boutique @turnstylebuffalo; earrings, bracelet, rings, shoes, model’s own

Hair: High Klass Hair @highklass_hair

Makeup: Katie Ambrose @katiemakeup


RENATA TONEY, a marketing strategist at the Burchfield Penney Art Gallery, is often told she’s “fashion forward,” but says, “I just like what I like.”


What made you want to be a part of this fashion shoot?

I admire the creative brilliance of Erin Habes. Annually, she presents Runway, a Buffalo State College student-run fashion show, with such precision, professionalism, and grace. The production is a tremendous undertaking but with Erin’s expertise, you feel as if you’re in Paris at one of the major couture shows during fashion week. She’s very talented and inspires scores of students to dream and exhibit their best.


Any prior modeling experience?

A little...excited about exploring how Erin makes all this all work.


What would you like readers to know about this shoot?

How much work goes into what they’re seeing, wow!


Outfit that gives you confidence?

Love Lagenlook, the “layered look,” a European way of dressing. Layers and layers of unconventionally shaped clothing worn one on top of the other. Some of my favorite brands are Kaliyana, Krista Larson, Comfy USA, Oska, Rundholz, Flax and Sarah Pacini.


Favorite accessory to spice up an outfit?

Local handmade jewelry. The Burchfield Penney Art Center’s gift shop has an amazing collection of local designers. I’m a big fan of Dana Banka Stone. Wild Things has beautiful pieces. I also wear felted art, British designer Inken Gaddass makes unique and quirky, sometimes abstract scarves, wraps, shawls, and jewelry. I also find cool things at handmade markets in Southern Ontario, Canada.


How do you like to dress for work?

Quirky, colorful casual


What do you like about working at Burchfield Penney?

I love art, artists, and museums much like my dad who worked at New York State Museum in Albany, my hometown. The Burchfield Penney is constantly evolving; nothing stays the same in the world of exhibitions. We also excel as a cultural laboratory, a space where you can present unconventional ideas and conversations; we’re at our best when we’re pushing the envelope.


Congratulations on the recent education grants!

Education is the primary reason for our existence. Earlier this year, we launched a renewed focus on education to serve diverse families, school groups and the community-at-large. We’re projecting a more than fifty percent increase in school and community group visits this year.


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