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Fashion by Kikimora Studios

DUNEDIN – Art need not be confined to those items that can be placed in a frame and affixed to the wall of a museum.

More than a simple extension of perception, art seeks to express, expose and embellish certain aspects of culture and nature, ideology and identity. Just as art cannot be circumscribed by any set of regulations, it also cannot be limited in media, style or scope.

Organizers of the inaugural wearable art presentation certainly saw no limitations back in 2005. That year, the Dunedin Fine Art Center selected a group of emerging Tampa Bay area designers and challenged them to create “wearable art.” The art-meets-fashion extravaganza was a success and has continued to draw crowds for 14 years.

The DFAC will present wearable ART 15 Saturday, Aug. 24, at 1143 Michigan Blvd., Dunedin.

The Pre-Glow party will get underway at 7 p.m. The runway show will begin at 8:30 p.m. and will be followed by an After-Glow party. Tickets range from $85 to $135. DFAC is also adding a party ticket for $20 this year. Attendees can enjoy the pre- and post-parties with all the music and fun and catch the runway show on a couple of video monitors.

Call 727-298-3322 or visit www.dfac.org.

“This always-surprising event promises to continue to be the standard against which all other art/fashion shows are measured,” said Ken Hannon, vice president and chief operating officer of DFAC.

As one of the first shows of its kind in the Tampa Bay area, wearable ART has a long tradition of showcasing a growing contingent of artists working in fashion-related ways. This year’s show will feature runway presentations by Jenna Barnes, Mark Byrne, Melissa Dolce, the Garden Fairies + Electric Diva, Jonny Hunt, Kikimora Studios, Cindy Linville, and Frank Strunk III, with a special installation by Line Teixeira. All of this is crowned by the hair and makeup artistry of Salon GW.

“With the inimitable Frank Strunk III coming back, Kikimora up again from Miami, and the rest of this year’s incredible lineup, this is going to be the year that people talk about,” said Catherine Bergmann, DFAC’s curatorial director. “The thing is, all of the designers seem to up the game very year. It just keeps getting more fantastic, if that’s possible.”

Great music has always been a hallmark of all DFAC events. This year’s wearable ART will be no exception. Both the Pre-Glow and After-Glow parties will feature live music.

The event will be complemented by “If the Shoe Fits,” a celebratory exhibit. DFAC invited the arts community to create shoes in all shapes and styles, using the media of their choice. People’s Choice Awards will be determined by popular vote.

This year DFAC will add a fashion boutique offering artist-made wares. The Groove-tique will showcase fashion-related merchandise created by a select group of artisans. Their creations will be available for purchase during the event.

Meet the artist/designers

Mark Byrne has made a mark entertaining upscale clients at exclusive events by creating one-of-a-kind wearable art right in front of their eyes.

“I do this with the most unique medium an artist could use: balloons and air,” Byrne said in an artist statement.

Mixing balloon art and stunning magic, his teams have appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” and his work has been featured in Tampa Bay Magazine.

“For the last 25 years, we have been creating and performing locally and internationally,” Byrne continued. To date, he has performed in six countries. “I help guests connect to each other while providing unique variety entertainment.”

Melissa Dolce has been involved in all forms of art and design her entire life – from coloring on her bedroom walls, cutting her sister’s clothes (without permission) to how she wanted them to look, to designing national ad campaigns.

After being a model in DFAC’s wearable ART 8 and 9, showing off fashions designed by Jonny Hunt, Dolce was so inspired that she decided to challenge herself. She submitted design sketches of her own for the show — though at the time she didn’t even know how to sew. She has been a wearable ART show designer ever since.  

Dolce’s passion and ambition is constantly growing as an avant-garde fashion designer. Now a sought-after designer, her collections have appeared in numerous fashion shows, events and publications. She was named Tampa Bay’s Best of The Bay Fashion Designer and has been invited to prestigious New York and Los Angeles fashion week shows.

This is the eighth year the Garden Fairies, an artistic co-op, has been selected for the show. Their theme for the show will be “Save the Butterflies + the Bees.” They will be working for the first time with Electric Diva.

Johnson “Jonny” Hunt is an artist and instructor residing in northern Michigan, where she teaches experimental fashion, new genres, drawing, and environmental arts at Interlochen Center for the Arts. While studying at Florida State University, she began to create wearables that became personifications of setting and environment. Oddity and humor combined with her response to media to create wearable sculptures that are informed by nature, landscape, travel, and joy.

Olga Saretsky of Kikimora Studio grew up in a Russian family in Kazakhstan.

Between the ages of 15 and 17, she began her performance career, which soon led her to organize Effect, her first dance company. There, she designed and produced costumes for the company in addition to handling the choreography.

After eight years of traveling to different countries as a performer, Saretsky arrived in the United States in 2006 and began freelancing for circus and entertainment companies. In addition to performing, she found herself making more and more costumes to suit her personality, unique worldview and passion for beauty and mystery.

In 2010, Saretsky organized Kikimora’s first fashion show at a studio in Miami where she teaches and produces wearable art.

Pinellas native Cindy Linville, a graduate of University of South Florida St. Petersburg, has a passion for all things related to art. She enjoys photography, painting, body painting and fashion design.

Linville also has a deep love of the environment. She tries to repurpose or reuse as much as she can when she creates. She’s been known to salvage discarded paint and purchase clothing from thrift stores for use in her work.

After participating in the first five incarnations of DFAC’s wearable ART, St. Petersburg resident Frank Strunk III will return to the event this year with a new body of work.

Two of Strunk’s garments from previous shows are currently part of the permanent and traveling collection for the World of Wearable Art Museum in Nelson, New Zealand. He is one of the American artists featured in the coffee table book “World of Wearable Art: 30 Designers Tell Their Stories,” published in 2015.

Strunk’s new work will invite attendees to examine their relationships with beauty, conformity, happiness, fear and attraction.

Though not included on this year’s stage, DFAC will feature an installation of three designs by Lina Teixeira made exclusively for the event.

Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, to Portuguese parents, Teixeira now resides in Dunedin. A master in multi-tasking, she is a busy mother of two, a business owner, a published author, a special concepts director and somehow finds time to share her passion as a wearable art creator.

Known for turning the mundane into beautiful forms of wearable art, Teixeira has been displayed internationally and around the Tampa Bay area. Her art has been featured in Mahaffey Theater, Studio 620, the Dali and the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts. She has been doing the fashion week circuit, which included opening for Michael Kors and Project Runway winners in Atlantic City, New Jersey; and closing Brooklyn fashion week with her “Something Borrowed“ collection.