Story and Photography by Leslie Joy Ickowitz

Enter the dark room, where Dunedin Fine Art Center's Wearable Art 9 runway show made an impression. The sold-out crowd was treated to visual fantasies as artists presented wearable designs created from unconventional methods and materials. 

Last year was the first time I attended the show and this year it was my pleasure to photograph it—it was my first time shooting a runway and I had a great seat! 

To the left, we see something shiny from Wearable Art newcomer Julian Hartzog who sculpted dresses out of metal and even a giant bow (so apropos for this year's twisted bow fetish). His collection was one of my favorites to take the stage. This piece, in particular, is so disco it makes my heart throb (to imaginary music by Diana Ross or the S.O.S. Band).  

Down under, a didgeridoo player led The Garden Fairies' procession and something super safari from Neva the Diva Durham added wild drama. The zebra caused quite a stir with an uproar of applause coming from the audience.

Fashion lover or not, art lover or not, it's tough not to have an appreciation for the vision put forth by these participants. As we like to say in VERTICAL-world, "There is no box," and these artists proved they can think outside of one.  

The interesting lighting and set graphics added a fabulous extra layer to the spectacle and one artist, Johnson Hunt, made her looks light up like the vivid backdrops. I love the colors and shapes in this shot (to the left) and the model's pose as she preps to step off stage. 

The extra design elements are best viewed in the top shot—from Rogerio Martins' "Beauty Without Name" presentation and back on safari with Neva. 

Next up, Eve Kuczynski  presented a caged beauty covered in roses followed by a dramatic display by The Garden Fairies—beloved by all as far as I could tell, two years in a row. 

These next three looks are from Lina Teixeira's "Something Borrowed" collection—voted "Best Runway Presentation at Wearable Art 9" in Creative Loafing's annual Best of the Bay awards. Lina's work looked impeccable up there and her models were the fiercest to take the stage that night.

The two looks following, one royal and one street smart, are from crowd favorite Rogerio Martins—the show's only true fashion designer and an artist extraordinaire. 


This sleepy shot from the show's dramatic opening, makes a beautiful closing. Sweet Dreams Wearable Art 9. See you next year!


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