The better halves of three prominent St Kilda figures will walk down the red carpet at tonight’s Brownlow Medal dressed in preloved gowns from the Sacred Heart Mission to spread an important message to the community.
D’Arne Finnis, wife of Saints CEO Matt, Jo Richardson, wife of Senior Coach Alan, and Karren Massen, partner of President Peter Summers, will all wear $8 dresses bought off the rack from the South Melbourne op shop, turning against the tide on football's most lavish night, which has become so focused on what people are wearing.
Tonight won’t be the first time Mrs Finnis wears a dress from the Sacred Heart Mission to the Brownlow Medal, having previously done so a couple of years ago by chance. This time around, she will be doing so to help support a community that supports so many of the broader community.
“They do such an amazing job for the community of St Kilda and both the club and Sacred Heart come from that community and are supported by that community,” Finnis told the Port Phillip Leader.
“Around the time Matt got the job, I went down to the mission to show the kids St Kilda and where the hub of it all is and explain the importance of the Sacred Heart Mission to the St Kilda Football Club and vice versa and we happened to see a dress there and I bought it and wore it to the Brownlow.”
While some women spend weeks and months planning what they will wear to the Brownlow, as well as spending a substantial amount of money on a new look, Mrs Finnis believes it’s more important to feel good about what you’re wearing.
“I think if you feel good about doing something you look better anyway,” Finnis said.
“Hopefully we look lovely too, but we also like to be feeling fantastic about doing something that has a much broader impact than just wearing a nice dress on the night.”
With another opulent event around the corner – the Spring Racing Carnival – Mrs Finnis hopes building awareness about the power of Sacred Heart Mission will encourage people to donate clothes to help other people less fortunate.
“Every female has copious amounts of dresses in the cupboard they flick through every time there’s a function and it would be great if we could get them to donate some of the ones they don’t wear anymore,” she said.
“The mission could then sell those dresses — every $8 provides three meals for someone, so it’s a small gesture that creates a huge impact on people’s lives.”