By Loreen Berlin, Special to the Independent
It’s a fashion show that’s simply stunning, with untold surprises from beginning to end.
Four local artists, exhibiting their own art specialties in the Festival of Arts, took time to showcase handmade designer outfits Sunday, Aug. 18, at the 11th annual Festival Runway Fashion Show. Their designs consisted of 80 percent recycled, reused and reclaimed materials blended into new “Time Machine”-themed apparel.
A panel of four judges chose the top looks in four categories, and nearly 2,000 Festival visitors had the opportunity to cast their votes for “People’s Choice Award.”
Acrylic painter Brad Elsberry took the award for “Most Creative Concept” as well as the “People’s Choice Award.” His models were Eli James Wanket and Hummingbird Meadows.
Meadows first showcased a wrap-around top, looking akin to a rocket top, with a pencil-type skirt set. After one runway walk, the top transformed into a lavish wedding gown. Wanket, in his printer ensemble and top hat, proposed to Meadows with a larger-than-life diamond hooked to the end of the runway, which released a multi-colored 6-foot-wide streamer that Wanket pulled up over the runway as the pair returned to the stage area.
Inspired by the Stonewall Riot and LGBTQ culture, Elsberry’s runway looks were created from materials collected from the dumpster of a nearby printing business, including paper scraps, color registry cut-offs, posters, display cards, vinyl leftovers, billboard pieces, and packing supplies.
Taking the award for the “Most Exciting Ensemble Inspired by The Time Machine” was oil painter Elizabeth McGhee, who also modeled her design—an H.G. Wells-inspired floor-length timepiece dress made entirely of magazine clippings of clocks and watches, held together with staples, tape and thread.
The “Most Innovative Use of Materials” award was presented to mixed media artist Rachelle Weir and her model Logan Campus, which was also inspired by the Pageant’s theme and H.G. Well’s sci-fi novel, infusing steampunk couture with time travel. The garment was made of recycled Amazon packaging, a laundry soap jug, plastic lettuce packaging, straws, soda bottles, Starbucks coffee stirs and cardboard. Silk ties lined the interior of the large umbrella Campus carried. Other cleverly placed items included clock parts, a lampshade frame and a crystal candlestick.
Garnering the “Most Glamorous ‘Red Carpet’ Worthy Creation” was Mariana Nelson, who dumpster dived and made her outfit from award ribbons found at a local school play.Pink, red and blue ribbons were bleached, shredded, folded, heated and chopped up to create the dress, and plastic florist ribbon was used to top off the head piece. Her model was Natasha Nelson.
Other participating artists included Mike Tauber and Kate Cohen.
Winners each took home $1,000 in cash for their creative efforts.
Judges included: Pageant of the Masters Director Diane Challis-Davy, Clothing and Costume Designer Alex Jaeger, and Radar Online Entertainment Editor Alexis Tereszcuk. The show was hosted by film production designer Nelson Coates.