Art You Can Wear

By Laura Kepner
. . .


Wearable Art (Sweet) 16
Celebrating Fashion this Weekend

. . .
August 27 from 7-11 pm
Dunedin Fine Art Center
Details here


Ten years ago, Adrianne Butler retired from her career as an engineer and dedicated herself to creating art — perhaps most notably, wearable art. Butler leads Bay to Bay Wearable Art Collective, a group of artists who come from different backgrounds but have a shared flair and love for the art form.

Butler has long been part of artful high fashion for Dunedin Fine Art Center’s annual Wearable Art fashion show, which started 15 years ago.

Fashion by Adrianne Butler

This year, Wearable Art (Sweet) Sixteen takes place on Saturday, August 27 beginning with a Pre-Glow party at 7 p.m. and a cash bar, concessions and music by the G.E.N. Trio is at Dunedin Fine Art Center. The main event, the Runway Show, takes place at 8 p.m. at the Dunedin Community Center, adjacent to DFAC’s parking lot.

In-person ticket sales raise crucial funds for the Art Center. The show will also be livestreamed at the Dunedin Fine Art Center for $20, standing room only. The After-Glow party will follow there with a cash bar, concessions, music by the G.E.N. Trio, designers and the Wearable Art 16 team.


The G.E.N. Trio will perform at Saturday’s event

This wildly popular event has sold out since its debut and 2022 will be no different thanks to featured runway presentations by Bay to Bay Designers, Mark ByrneRya DeMulder, Neva Durham, Cindy Linville, Olga SarestkyFrank Strunk III and Lina Teixeira. There is also a featured gallery exhibit by Leslie Joy Ickowitz entitled Windows in Time.

“Our art is all so different,” says Butler, who is known for creating tall, imaginative hats, each a showpiece. ”The challenge for me is I have to bring all of these outfits and make them one whole collection.”

Fashion by Olga Saretsky’s Kikimora Studio

Wearable Art Sixteen’s theme is “Ocean Oddities” – along with the color orange to encourage unity. “Our show will have six divas and one contortionist,” says Butler, who is excited to share her passion and perhaps introduce it to a new crowd of people who’ve never experienced such altered fashion.

“It’s not all about the jewelry and accessories — it’s about the actual clothing you can enhance. Fashion can be upscaled, upsized, so you can add to your existing clothing.”

An Adrianne Butler Hat

For Butler, choreographing the event requires careful calculation, just like with her hats. “It’s not as easy at what you’d think,” she says. “I have to keep it under 2.4 pounds. Otherwise, my models complain about the weight. I have to balance it so it doesn’t fall sideways. Balance is very important.

“The Garden Fairies (now Bay to Bay Designers) started participating in this nine years ago and I was one of the first involved with it,” Butler continues. “In those days it was more Trashy Fashion — that’s about using what you find. You don’t buy fabric.” The group of artists went to New York for Fashion Week and Butler remembers a chandelier over the runway and because of the height of her hats, the models had to go around it. “We won the CMG award,” she says.

Pants by Melissa Dolce

According to Butler, Wearable Art has not fully blossomed in the US. “Unfortunately, after all this time, it’s still in its infancy. In New Zealand, they shut their town down for WOW (World of Wearable Art). They bring in Cirque de Soleil.

“That’s what we’re trying to do here in the Clearwater area. We want recognition for this art. We need sponsors. I think it would really enhance tourism and draw in a lot of artists.”

She’s excited and ready for Saturday’s show, which will undoubtedly spur some jaw-dropping moments. “It’s probably the best runway show in the Southern US.”


Fashion by Mark Anthony from Wearable Art 13 – designer Irina Bilka

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