Friday, September 12, 2008

Friends with Benefits - 30

No this is not a posting about sex. It’s about something more important; fashion shows, dinner parties, award events and other hot tickets that only one man I know can get his hands on, Guy. Now first let me state that I am very thankful to have Guy as a friend for the past 17 years. But he doesn’t read this blog, “I can’t read yours and not someone else’s.” and he sometimes says the wrong thing, “I only read blogs that are from important people.” and sometimes he is just an ass, “I asked for your opinion so you would tell me what I wanted you to say in the first place.” But I love him anyway.

So thanks for his schmoozing with the “important people” I get to ride on his coat tails to some of the hottest events in the area. Usually we get steerage tickets, but I can live with that, just as long as I am there. Except in the chance we have to stand for a 90 minute fashion show, then I throw a fit and get a VIP ticket so I can sit, take pictures and talk with the “interesting people in the important section.”

The Wearable Art Fashion Show in Dunedin was one such event. The designs were incredible I say. Kina Kouture started the night off with a bang and a whimper (striking flappers in sensual feathers). Jeanne and Bert Halle started Kina Kouture in 2007, but have been together for more than 30 years. Their style are emblazoned with fuchsia (the new pink) and are crafted in a mélange of gothic seduction and pouted flirtation. Roz Doherty is Jeanne’s creative partner, while Deborah Kynes designed the headdresses.

A student of the Academy of Design and Technology (ADT), Blaire Barham shared a spectacle of painted garments that showcased simplicity with drama. I considered them some of the most wearable pieces that could actually be spotted in a club or restaurant downtown. A small-town girl, Blaire is looking forward to taking a bite of the Big Apple when she graduates. Good Luck.

There is always a place in my heart for balloons. Mark Byrne, the Balloon Guy has been in the Bay Area for more than 20 years wowing us with his unique designs. And the Wearable Fashion Show was no different with balloon bikinis (with a surf board), red evening gown, and Iron Man there was something for everyone to giggle, swoon and ooh and ahh at.

To soften the ruckus and give us back some couture was Ben Chmura. His designs were very runway-esque and art yes, but most definitely wearable. Called the AZTECA collection, this group featured natural fibers with dramatic post-apocalyptic Germanesque makeup. Doesn’t make sense? I kept thinking of the drab East German stares the models projected paired with Paris chic and I was also confounded. It was the most “fashion” of the show and had its place in the “art” world.

Just call it Candyland on acid. Jennifer Stachon and Courtney Davis gave us all a sugar high with their candy-laced pieces featuring skirts made of cotton candy and bodices crafted out of Twizzlers. One of the highlights of the show people cheered for not only the fashions, but the rotten-toothed happiness they inspired from childhood happiness. The models danced, had fun and make it more performance art than runway staunch. Plus it was quite a step up from the sensuality of edible underwear.

Katy Long, another student at ADT, was presenting for her second year at the show. Taking the “wearable” part of the title into play, she inspired women to open up and try something new without going too overboard. Her pieces has a bit of an edge, but were truly feminine pieces that resonated with a touch of class.

Found art becomes wearable art in Rogerio Martins’ designs. From influences like Carmen Miranda to a bikini made out of meat, Rogerio let his dreams fly and invited us to transcend the norm and experience his psyche. Childlike colors and bitter realism took us deeper into his realm so that we never knew what was coming next; a mistress and her slave? A hip 60s chick with a dress made out of bottle caps? How about a flowered sheath that stood out in form and color? His works seemed to encompass the basic sense of the title of this show---it was wearable and art all at the same time.

Lastly was the true modernistic wonder, Frank Strunk III. A St. Pete artist, this was the first time I had seen his work, though the name had floated around me for a while. The most industrial and technically crafted, Frank’s pieces incorporated molded metal, what looked like auto salvage and working lights. Models pranced in black bodysuits with perfectly situated bikinis of metal coil, playing on stage like lost children unaware of how exposed they are. The innocence was lost though when the metal mavens, and one man, took to the runway. Whether a bikini top and skirt made out of Red Bull cans or the striking lighted boobs with flame headdress, Frank left the crowd roaring.

It was one of the most dramatic nights I experienced and no one got hurt. Guy was a love to invite me and give me the VIP ticket. He has a habit of including me in the wild and whacky. Next is a fundraiser for the Independent Film Festival – Party Like A Movie Star. It will be a fun night to dress up in chic Red Carpet garb and prance around with the “interesting people”. But even without his connections, Guy is still my best friend even if all we do is drink martinis and watch Celebrity Big Brother at the Swingin’ Beach Pad. I wouldn’t trade any moment for the world.