‘Making the mundane magnificent’: Fishin’ for Fashion stuns for ninth year

Mon, 06/17/2024 - 2:45pm

    If there was a theme for the ninth annual Fishin’ for Fashion, it would be “more:” more designers, more merchants, and even more to do!

    Ticket holders began arriving at Boothbay Harbor Shipyard at 1 p.m. for drinks and appetizers, but this year’s expanded event meant a lot of the fun was held outside. In addition to a photo booth area and displays showcasing original designs from past years, there was also the inaugural Makers Market for local artisans and creators. Jazz music performed by The Wharf Cats complemented the sunny day as attendees shopped and mingled before the show. 

    Michael Maxim picked up the mic for another year as the event’s emcee, strutting down the runway to Ariana Grande’s “yes, and?” The judges included his mother, Donna Maxim; Weekend Vintage owner Kristen Furrow; and Home and Garden Tour Co-Chair Julie Krug.

    The best Original Student Design went to Jackie Branch, who modeled her red, white and blue sailcloth dress alongside her dog Sushi, carrying the pup down the runway by his life vest. He was her (literal) purse dog. 

    People’s Choice Award went to Lorna Andrews’ original design, molded by her granddaughter Olivia Paolillo. The dress was made entirely out of woven and pleated vintage maps with a starburst effect on the skirt. Andrews also won best handbag.

    Bethany Field won Judge’s first runner-up  Her model, Kristian Vermeulen, wore a billowing green and white sail ballgown with a tie at the waist that transformed the back of the skirt into a bustle. Field emphasized the importance of sustainable fashion in her artist’s statement as Vermeulen showcased the look. “This dress is not merely about aesthetics, it's about reimagining the materials around, turning the mundane into the magnificent.”

    The Judge’s Choice Award and the People’s First Runner-Up went to the event’s last contestant, who ended the show with a bang. “Poseidon has risen from the depths of the ocean,” Maxim announced as Earl Brewer walked out in his own design, an orange dress covered with handpainted cloth to resemble fish scales, complemented by high heels covered in foraged mica. The crowd went wild. Brewer also donned on a net cape full of shells, bones and starfish to complete the sea god look. 

    Other designs included:

    Boothbay Region Elementary School second grader Lucia Flores modeled her dress made of a recycled blue lifejacket and boat cushion fabric. Flores has been wanting to participate in the show since she first attended at age 4. 

    Last year’s winner of both the Judge’s and People’s Choice Awards, July Hasch, returned this year with a red, orange and yellow multi-color trenchcoat made from sailcloth. The sail was acquired in Portland during the late ’70s by its previous owner’s late husband. Unfortunately, it never set sail as he later took his own life. The owner has been holding onto the sail since, and gave it to Hasch with the hope that repurposing it for Fishin’ for Fashion would bring it some “renewed joy.” The bottom of the coat had the national suicide hotline number (988). 

    From Karen Jordan and Lexi Hughes, modeled by the 15-year-old Hughes, was a soft blush pink dress with matching mesh sleeves, and headpiece giving it a mid-century flair. The dress included a blue mesh skirt that could be removed to change the look. 

    From Kamala’s Boutique were four distinct looks modeled by Annie Lamontagne, Mylese See, Annie Thompson and Katie Lamontagne. One highlight was a jacket modeled by Annie Lamontagne, the owner’s daughter, made of recycled light sail and a lifejacket, and repainted to add a whimsical beach feel. 

    From Emily Wilson, worn by Charlee Fuchswanz, was a long black evening dress hand-printed with local starfish of various sizes that cascaded down the bodice and skirt, resembling stars falling in the night sky.

    Maple Behrends, with some help from Marianne Behrends, wore her own design inspired by hula dancing. The little girl made her catwalk debut last year but returned sporting a grass skirt made from an old wetsuit with sea glass and local shells decorating her hair and wrists. Her phenomenal posing made her an audience favorite. 

    From Cheryl Nelson and modeled by Kari Blake was a multi-layer outfit inspired by the women of Cornwall, England in the early 1800s. The red fur-lined coat was a nod to the warm clothing needed to survive the harsh coastal winters while bringing in the yearly harvests. The canvas dress also included a detachable sail-cloth apron that could be used as a shawl. 

    From TEAM CALPYSO, modeled by Kathleen Viens, was a little black sailcloth dress with matching netting. The sides were adorned with coiled black fabric with bouy sections between each fold to “keep her afloat.”

    As always, the original designs were interspersed with models showing off fashions from local merchants, including Joanne Quinn from Mainely Nautical, Spencer Pottle and Sarah Harris; BBH Apparel, Mariah Andrews, Scout and Allie Teel; 3 Buoys, Megan Cope and Cesar Teel; Janson’s, Pam O’Connor; A&E Homes, Darlene Carmolli; Seawicks, Luke Morley and Sarah Kreft; Log Cabin Shoes, Colby Allen and Lily Nein; Weekend Vintage, Meredith and Justin Fowlie; House of Logan, Morgan Mitchell and Andre; Mitchell & Co, Susan Endicott, Carri Langlois and Nicola Netcalf; Calypso, and Savannah Compare; Cannery. 

    At press time, the amount raised this year had yet to be tallied. Proceeds from ticket sales and the auctioned handbags benefit Project Graduation and the Fishermen’s Memorial Fund. Last year, the event raised $3,000.