For the first time in its history, The Bay department store in Toronto's Yorkdale shopping mall showcased the most modest of fashions as some 400 women packed the retailer for a groundbreaking Jewish fashion show.

Turnout for the program, titled "A Fine and Fashionable Evening," was so great that The Bay shut its doors for three hours to accommodate the guests. Hosted by Toronto television personality and songwriter Erica Ehm of the show "Yummy Mummy," the event centered on acknowledging Jewish women and their work. Its finale showcased the latest in modest women's apparel.

Organizer Goldie Plotkin said that the evening began as an annual tribute to the Chabad-Lubavitch women emissaries that serve Toronto and its environs. But the 30-strong hosting committee decided that a fashion show would be a great way to show attendees – who spanned the range of Jewish life in the Canadian city – that Jewish laws of tzniut, or modesty, needn't be unfashionable.

Other elements of the program stressed the role of the woman in Judaism.

International speaker Miryam Swerdlov delivered the keynote speech, "If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy." Although the title appeared humorous, the talk centered on the very serious topics of handling stress, sensing Divine Providence in everyday life, and understanding the effect a woman has on her family and the world around her.

"It's a strong message," said Plotkin, co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Markham in the Toronto suburb of Thornhill. "Her talk was very emotional and met the needs of all women in the city."

After the presentation of awards, some 40 mother-daughter models presented a variety of ensembles. Fashion coordinators from the department store assisted in the planning of outfits, which including items from the Effy and Ralph Lauren lines.

"The clothes show that you can be beautiful and still be modest," said Plotkin.

Following the event, The Bay remained open for the attendees, who received discounts on purchases, raffle prizes and gifts. Included in each gift basket was information about the Jewish laws of Family Purity.