Last weekend, I had the honor of modeling in Sonoma Community Center’s annual Trashion Fashion Show, part of their week-long series of events that draw attention to recycling, reusing and limiting waste.
The Trashion Fashion Show is a runway show featuring outfits and costumes made from discarded materials – secondhand items, trash, anything that’s been cast off. Artists and designers from all over Northern California apply to create amazing wearable art using trash.
Two years ago I attended the Trashion Fashion Show with my friend Michelle. It was such a wonderful and fun show! I couldn’t believe how fabulous the outfits were. Talented artists and designers made such extraordinary outfits.
My friend and Sonoma artist Nora Russo saw some photos I posted from the show on Facebook and told me she wanted to create a dress for a future show. Two years later, and she made that happen with me as her model. Nora made not one, but two dresses for the show. More about her creations later in the post.
The Seventh Annual Trashion Fashion Show took place at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Building. There was both a matinee and an evening show on Saturday.
We had an elevated catwalk to show off the fashions and there were lots of seats for guests. Seeing all the seats was more than a bit intimidating for someone with stage fright like me. Thankfully we had a three-hour dress rehearsal the night before with Cat Austin, who is a fantastic runway and theatrical coach. She showed us what to do and got us into the right frame of mind. By the time I hit the runway, my nerves were calm and I had oodles of confidence.
The stage was beautifully decorated. Nora also designed the stage’s backdrop. She made two tall panels and painted chandeliers on them. She even added LED lights to the candles! Additionally, she covered the entire edge of the runway with fabric matching the panels which she gathered along the top like a bedskirt. It was quite the undertaking, especially on top of making not one, but two dresses for the show. Nora was the only artist this year to make two dresses.
The models and designers had a big dressing room just across from the auditorium with plenty of refreshments from Sonoma Market, one of the Trashion Fashion Show sponsors.
Nora did my hair for the show and a makeup artist from Crush Beauty Bar of Sonoma did my makeup.
My first outfit was a 1960s look so Nora gave me a bouffant and Crush Beauty did a cat-eye look with frosty eye shadow. Later Nora added bright pink frosty lipstick just like they wore in the 1960s!
Once my hair and makeup were ready, it was time to put on the first dress which was not an easy feat. I required assistance and couldn’t sit down once it was on. My accessories included hot pink go-go boots (footwear and undergarments did not have to be repurposed from discarded materials), secondhand beaded necklaces and clip-on hot pink earrings.
With my dress on, I was ready to hit the catwalk. A live band played during the show. They changed the music for my outfit and played Sonny & Cher’s “The Beat Goes On” during my walk down the runway. What a fun surprise!
My dress was also titled “The Beat Goes On” and was made using a pink and purple paisley shift dress Nora found at a local thrift shop. She then sewed hand-cut Venetian blinds onto the dress after she painted each one. She used spray paint a friend was tossing out.
The blinds were sewn in a way that when the dress moved, they all swished together in an entrancing motion. Our runway coach encouraged me to shimmy, which I did at each point on the runway. It was a blast!
With my dress I wore a pink fuzzy coat Nora made out of old bath mats sewn together. She trimmed it with pink rope fringe, the kind you would find on heavy drapes. So clever and creative!
After the first dress made its appearance on the runway, it was time to run – yes, run! – over to the dressing room to change into my next look: a wedding gown titled “Spring Bouquet.”
The wedding dress was another thrift store find. Nora painted the embroidered parts of the dress in bright, cheery colors then made hundreds of flowers out of egg cartons, dryer sheets, tissue paper and toilet paper rolls, painting them all one by one.
Flowers cascaded down the front, back and sides of the dress and around the shoulders.
You can see how much work went into these colorful flowers. Nora also made me a bouquet and a headpiece that had a veil made out of the plastic bag potatoes come in.
There were kids in the show, too. So darling!
Lots of creativity, fun and innovation went into these outfits. The couple in the bottom corner photo above had such colorful and interesting costumes. They went all out, even making their own platform shoes.
Artists used materials like corks, bubble wrap, eBay shipping bags, cheese cloth, cheese wrappers and even the plastic from a 6-pack of soda cans.
These two gowns were so beautiful. On the left, a designer who owns a Santa Cruz bakery made a wedding dress out of bread bags and a crown and bouquet out of pie tins. On the right is a gorgeous ball skirt and matching bustier made out of thousands of sliced corks.
The winner of the show was “It’s a Small World After All” which had a long pleated skirt and bolero jacket, both made out of maps, and was topped off with a globe hat. “Catch of the Day” was also such a fun and innovative costume. The fish on the headpiece was battery-operated and moved!
The finale had all the models and their designers out on stage. At the evening performance, the winners were announced while we waited excitedly on the runway.
Nora carried “The Beat Goes On” dress and coat during the finale which won 4th place! We were so excited to place!
After the show, a reception was held. Since the window blind dress was the winner, I changed back into that dress for the remainder of the event. I got a few more photos taken in it – one with my brilliantly creative and talented designer, Nora.
And a final photo of the winning dress. I think I need to go to a Halloween party this year so I can wear this fun outfit again!
A special thank you to Nora for choosing me to be her model. What a wonderful experience!
April’s “How I Wear My” is happening next week! The theme Jill and I chose for April is the spring-y color “Greenery” which has been named as Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year 🍃
To participate, style an outfit featuring this vibrant shade of green, take a photo of your look and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org before the end of the day today (4/3/17). Be sure to tell us a bit about your outfit, which will be quoted directly in our posts.
The posts will go live this Wednesday, April 5th. We can’t wait to see how you wear Pantone’s Greenery!