Real makeovers: Zippy transformations of movers and shakers

From the classic Jerry Springer maniacal shows (Help me, Jerry! My stepmother's in love with me, but she won't get rid of her mullet!) to Oprah's teary remodelings of frumpy housewives, one thing is clear everyone loves a makeover.

The Hook recently teamed up with the area's top fashionistas to transmogrify some of our most notable locals. Politicians, students, and even a well-known radio personality agreed to be transformed.

While none of our participants needed quite the level of help that the specimens on daytime talk shows require, we know that almost everyone can benefit from a fresh spring look. Our makeover challenge involved 10 specialty clothing stores, seven willing participants, five salons, and more than a little elbow grease.

But will there be tears or cheers? Will our subjects be Hooked on their new look, or will screaming fans demand a return to their old styles?


Meredith Richards, city councilor

The Challenge: A self-described clotheshorse, Meredith has a passion for fashion rivaled only by her passion for politics. And though she didn't garner enough votes to sweep the Fifth District last fall, her windswept look for The Hook's makeover issue won her hoots and honks from certain appreciative constituents.

The Execution: Stylist Gena Mills of Vanity Salon says it "didn't take much" to transform Meredith's look for spring. Mills added highlights and red lowlights and used a flatiron to create a funkier hairstyle. A playful bustier completed the transformation.

The Result: Meredith threw politics to the wind for a look that is sexy and fun. Her updated hairstyle and dark sunglasses are more pinup than politician.

 Meredith models an embroidered Marisa Baratelli silk bustier, $362, Levy's; pleated flounce skirt by lafayette 148, $228, Levy's; silk scarf, $42, Levy's; Claudia Ciuti sandals with rhinestone dragonflies, $210, Scarpa; stretch bracelet, $22, Spring Street.


The Hook's own Italian stallion Marc Messina wears a black Vespa windbreaker, $60; Jimmy color blocked t-shirt, $34; Vespa helmet, $250; gray goggles, $140; all available at Vespa.Vespa ET4 (light green) $3,999


Blake Caravati, city councilor and contractor

The Challenge: While we're most accustomed to seeing this former mayor in suits, Blake's day job as a construction contractor requires a more functional wardrobe.

The Execution: Blake headed over to Bubbles Salon where Rhonda Jackson gave him a trim and a cleaner look. Rather than a suit, we decided to dress Blake down in an outdoorsy outfit.

The Result: Blake's rugged new look will serve him well on the job and on the trail. We like his snazzy sunglasses and zip-off pants, too.

 Blake wears Ex Officio amphi-convertible pants, $70; Patagonia Integral jacket, $125; Ex Officio Air Strip long sleeve shirt, $78; Lowa "Nevada Lo" boots, $85; Native sunglasses, $80-$125; all available at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports.


Carol Ann Robertson, dental assistant

The Challenge: Carol Ann's classic bone structure made her an ideal candidate for a makeover. This occasional artist was willing to submit herself as a canvas on which we could paint a vibrant portrait.

The Execution: West Main Design Co. owner and head stylist Glenn Gibson used a color blocking technique with a star pattern to intensify Carol Ann's color, and then added a chunk of blond in the front for interest. West Main Design Co. makeup artist Angie Ferguson gave her a brighter look for spring. As a dental assistant, Carol Ann did have one advantage over our other makeover subjects. Her employer, Dr. Gary Haines of Viglione, Haines & Associates, donated a power bleach tooth whitening treatment to make her smile gleam.

The Result: Whoa, baby! Vamping for the camera with her head-turning hair color and sassy spring outfit, Carol Ann looks ready for the runway.

 Carol Ann wears an Elie Tahari scrub stretch denim jacket, $228, and matching pants, $168; J.P. & Mattie sleeveless shirt, $58; flower belt, $76, all at Levy's; plaid fuchsia mules by donnabella, $110, Scarpa.


Dan Dolezal, student

The Challenge: Dan is hoping to go from studying in Charlottesville to banking in the Big Apple, but his surfer boy locks are more Malibu than Morgan Stanley.

The Execution: West Main Design Co. stylist Linda Noble updated Dan's color and cut by working with his natural hair to create a look that's "rugged, sexy, and touchable." Noble took his color a shade darker and added some variegated color by highlighting the front.

The Result: Wearing a snazzy new suit, Dan looks ready for Wall Street. The new, more natural hairstyle is professional, though Dan admits that the shorter length will take some getting used to.

 Dan models a contemporary birdseye suit by Arnold Brand, $695, Beecroft & Bull; textured birdseye shirt, $97.50, by Beecroft & Bull; Italian woven tie by Robert Talbott, $97.50, Beecroft & Bull.


Glenn Bangley, freelance artist and Orbit Billiards restaurant manager

The Challenge: Glenn expressed some separation anxiety at the thought of losing his long ponytail, which he's had since the '70s. He agreed to a big change for The Hook's makeover issue, however, as long as his fiancée, Dana, wasn't opposed.

The Execution: Shear Power stylist Roy chopped 10 inches off Glenn's hair but didn't leave him feeling scalped. We picked out some duds that worked with Glenn's personal style, which he describes as "casual, retro yuppie."

The Result: Glenn is comfortable in his stylish threads and says that his shorter style is "easier to manage." The final verdict? Fiancée Dana approves of the transformation. Looks like the new, sophisticated Glenn is here to stay.

 Glenn wears a black and white houndstooth sports coat, $295; silk polo shirt, $69.50; pleated dress pant, $69.50, all available at Jos. A. Bank. Shoes, model's own.


Mike C. Friend, station founder and manager

(WNRN... New Friend to Fashion!)

The Challenge: Mike arrived at The Hook's makeover shoot straight from an all-nighter for WNRN's spring pledge drive. He was showing his WNRN spirit by wearing an old station t-shirt, and we decided it was time for a more professional look.

The Execution: Mike gave Vanity salon's Gena Mills free rein so long as she "didn't use any chemicals." We confiscated Mike's tried and true wire-rimmed glasses and replaced them with a pair of hip plastic frames. A sports coat and dress pants, which Mike noted were worth more than his car, complete the look.

The Result: Mike may not have been a close friend to fashion before, but the two made up for lost time at Vanity salon. While Mike claimed he felt "more real estate agent than radio host," we hope that the change is here to stay.

 Mike wears a Samuelson all-wool tropical sport jacket, $795; steel blue pants by Ballin, $145; and Tommy Bahama silk camp shirt, $95, all from Beecroft & Bull. Plastic frame glasses by Marchon, $96, Spectacle Shop. Not shown: Johnston & Murphy handmade dress oxford shoes, $155, Richey & Co.


Julia Ferguson, student

The Challenge: Julia's tresses hadn't felt the helping hands of a stylist since her high school prom, so we decided the time was ripe for a little pampering. With no time to prep before classes, Julia usually ties her hair into a ponytail and wears very little makeup.

The Execution: Stylist Sonia Chapman at Reflections salon cut several inches off Julia's locks to eliminate split ends and then added some eye-catching highlights. Bristles makeup artist Judy Hayward intensified Julia's look by defining her eyes and lips.

The Result: The retro floral dress and sandals that we picked out were a welcome change from her usual relaxed style. "I wish I could wear little dresses like this all the time," says Julia, who loves her new feminine look.

 Julia models a yellow floral dress by Mario Balthazar, $180, Dixie Divas; leather sandals by rafe new york, $250, Scarpa; vintage butterscotch bakelite bracelet, $36, Glad Rags; glitter ring, $22, Spring Street; stone earrings, $22, Spring Street; vintage two-strand crystal bead necklace, $36, Glad Rags; vintage wide brim straw hat, $32, Glad Rags.




 Beecroft & Bull in the Barracks Road Shopping Center

Blue Ridge Mountain Sports in the Barracks Road Shopping Center

Dixie Divas on the UVA Corner

Glad Rags on Hydraulic Road

Jos. A. Bank in the Barracks Road Shopping Center

Levy's in the north wing of the Barracks Road Shopping Center

Richey & Co. in the Barracks Road Shopping Center

Scarpa in the north wing of the Barracks Road Shopping Center

Spectacle Shop on the Downtown Mall

Spring Street in the Meadowbrook Shopping Center

Vespa, Preston Avenue


Hair Styling & Makeup:




Shear Power


West Main Design Co.



 Maxey Hackworth



 Jen Fariello