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Dunedin center's wearable art show takes it to the edge with extravagant attire

DUNEDIN

The Dunedin Fine Art Center's beloved Wearable Art Fashion Show is now in its 12th year and that means adolescent hormones are in high gear.

Expect copious amounts of energy, flamboyance and unbridled creativity. And, shall we say, merriment.

The preparty begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday with DJ Muggles spinning the hits at the art center. The runway show follows at 8:30 at the adjacent community center.

This year's soiree will have a Hollywood vibe with emcees Eugenie Bondurant and her husband, Paul Wilborn, at the microphone. The New York and Parisian fashion model-turned-actor has a long resume including, most recently, her role as Tigris in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.

The after-party will feature the "inimitably cool" Tiki Lounge sound by the Stolen Idols, said Ken Hannon, chief operating officer of the art center.

"They are perfect for this event with their very sultry August vibe," he said.

Hannon predicts this year's show, like the 11 before it, will be a sellout.

"Each year the designers look to top themselves," he said. "It's what keeps each show new and fresh and keeps our shows sold out."

This year's designers include Mark Byrne, Stefania Costanzo, Melissa Dolce, Neva the Diva Durham, the Garden Fairies, Julian Hartzog, Johnny Hunt, Nancy Niss, Lina Teixeira, and the team of Dacota Maphis and Sue Woodall-Metas. Hair and makeup will be provided by Salon GW.

This is the fifth year the group of artists and gardeners known as the Garden Fairies will present a collection of wearable art. Last year's effort produced a glamorous school of exotic invaders, the lionfish.

This year's presentation, "Dragons, Divas and Dudes: A Homage to David Bowie," will be set to the deceased singer's hit, China Girl, and feature a handmade 30-foot silk dragon along with a cast of 20 models. The dragon will be lit with rainbow-colored lights in honor of the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.

Siobhan Nehin, self-appointed queen of the cooperative, said they will have at least 2,000 hours, maybe more, into their effort.

They do it all with passionate hearts — and paint-stained hands.

"We have an obsession to create," Nehin said. "Plus there's the social part. We like hanging out together and lunch is not enough. We need to keep our fingers busy."

In an odd coincidence, designer Lina Teixeira is also paying tribute to Bowie, but in an entirely different way. She is presenting 19 looks that reflect his changing style throughout the years, some more literal interpretations than others.

She'll also provide three outfits for Bondurant to wear to the pre-party and runway show.

Teixeira admits to being a bit nervous about meeting the actor for the fitting but said Bondurant was immediately "warm, energizing, open and loving."

"We had a great time playing dress-up," she said. "I am now her greatest fan."

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