On the outside, the Kaskaskia Hotel in La Salle still looks like another empty building waiting for a second chance. Inside, for one day at least, the hotel was once again the setting for glamour as photographer David Raccuglia prepared a photo shoot for America's Beauty Show.

"Because the hotel's so in disarray, it'd be a great place to do a sort of degradation and beauty," Raccuglia said. He eyed the peeling paint in the hotel's foyer, where a layer of pink gives way to green and cream beneath. Most of the photos were to be shot in the adjacent former dining room, which once was painted a cheerful sky blue.

"It looks like Pompeii or Versailles. I don't think you could get a movie person to come in and give it a better patina. It's just got this Bohemian, artistic quality to it," Raccuglia said.

"I just saw the beautiful color, how old it looked," Raccuglia said. "Photographers look for this location all the time."

Raised in La Salle, Raccuglia has come a long way before returning for this shoot. As the founder of American Crew and now its creative director, Raccuglia now spends most of his time taking pictures of hairstyles.

"Neil is a friend and I think he's a great hair designer, so when I thought about shooting here, I thought he'd be the wise choice," Raccuglia said.

For his part, Pleskovitch was excited to be included in the project.

"I'm just very flattered and honored to have been asked by David to participate," Pleskovitch said. He described the hairstyles he created for the models as "post-modern Victorian," inspired by Italian stylist Paolo Roversi.

"It's this once-glamorous place that is sort of wilting. The juxtaposition of that space, with all this beauty, will make for really beautiful photos," Pleskovitch.

For more on this story, see Thursday's NewsTribune

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