Fishin’ For Fashion: Nautical haute couture

Wed, 09/04/2019 - 2:00pm

Story Location:
216 Ocean Point Road
East Boothbay, ME 04544
United States

    Fishing netting for lace, sailcloth for dresses, maps turn into shoes, rope for ornamental braiding, life jackets become totes ... these fishing industry materials and gear are used to create charming, often breathtaking clothing for the Fishin’ For Fashion Show. This is the sixth consecutive year for what has become a much anticipated event during Boothbay Harbor Fest. Ocean Point Marina’s boat shed is the venue for a second year for the sixth annual Fishin’ For Fashion Show Sept. 7 at 5 p.m.

    The show is a fundraiser for Project Graduation and as such always features Boothbay Region High School seniors as designers and/or models. This year, the senior class is quite small so fashion show creator/coordinator Dana Paolillo has students from other classes as well. Among the student designers, senior Kate Kilpatrick has designed an ensemble for a couple – something Paolillo says hasn’t been done since the first show. And senior Rowan Kristan also has a design.

    Who’ll be modeling the original designs and cool threads from local shops? You’ll see: Grace K. Campbell,  Kylie Brown, Cortney Meader, Hali Goodwin, Della Hahn, Nicholas Morley, Isabel Harkins, Chloe Arsenault, Maddie Faulkingham, Ally Nein, Katie Nein, Rowan Kristan, Sydney Blake, Fox Elder, Graham Harris, Lexi Haedrich, Sarah Harris, Emme Harris, Catherine Tracy, Dusty and Amy Goodwin, July Hasch (2018 Judge’s Choice winner), Katie Sibley, Kara Weiske, Josey Smith, Ida Lancaster, Connie Colby, Stacey Laird, Kathleen Sheehan-Viens, Pam O’Connor, Laura “Mrs. H” Honey, Delly Clarkson, Deanne Clarkson, Charlene Fuchswanz, and last, but never least ... Slick’s Boutique show-stoppers Adelle Savastano and Andy Bielli!

    And Fishin’ For Fashion wouldn’t be complete without Two Salty Dogs’ models Lianna, Max and Auggie sporting what all hip canines want to be wearing.

    Judging this year’s show: Mary St. Pierre (for her sixth year) of TownSquare Media of Augusta; Mark Osborn of Topside Inn; and Anastasia Stevenson, formerly of Los Angeles. with her own clothing line (and additional experience in the floral and wedding industry), now living in Boothbay Harbor.

    Having Ms. Stevenson on board is a real boon for the students interested in the fashion industry – and that is intentional. “I like to have a judge or judges that can help guide the students interested in design, marketing, merchandising ...  to have someone they can learn from,” Paolillo said. “I want those doors open for them.”

    Recapping last year’s award winners, let’s start with the Best Student Design by Reagan Cola. Created with used shrink wrap (courtesy of Edgecomb Boat Works) and emblazoned with lobster bands in the design of a flower. Along the waist was a reclaimed lobster line found at Morse Mountain in Phippsburg. The shoes were adorned with the same lobster band flowers. To complete the look, Cola paired lobster trap jewelry to give the outfit a lobster and nautical-themed finish.

    July Hasch’s design won the Judge’s Choice Award. She modeled her contemporary ensemble in BRHS colors of blue and gold composed of rip stop nylon pants from a spinnaker, a crocheted twine top, and jacket from overalls.

    The People’s Choice Award went to Kay Kilpatrick. Her original design was modeled by Faith Blethen. The gorgeous gown had a detachable bottom ruffle that doubled as an evening wrap. The model and design were stunning. Local Award: Team Calypso (Carrie Langlois, Susan Brackett, Lindy Bragg and Pandy Dickenson). Model: Kathleen Sheehan Veins; Best Materials: Tobi Nevers/Modeled by Page Brown.

    Announcing the original designs and threads at local boutiques and shops is the ever entertaining Michael Maxim as emcee. Savastano and Bielli return as the show-stopping opening models. And we all cannot wait to see them in this year’s ingenious, hip headpiece and ensemble. Who doesn’t love this trio?

    Last year, some of the design plans Paolillo and Boothbay Harbor Fest creator-coordinator Lori Reynolds had for the boat shed didn’t materialize due to the microburst that hit the region two days before the show. Paolillo likes to change things up each year, but the Ocean Point Marina venue has been deemed the perfect choice by Fishin’ For Fashion Show fans – and Paolillo, naturally. The huge rainbow sail returns this year to be flanked by sails; and that clever and oh-so apropos lobster trap runway returns. As for the planned venue design surprises ... let’s just say those flanking sails may not be moving due to airs, but they will be active, so to speak ... say no more, say no more.

    This year, the Goodwin family, Amy, Dusty, Hali and her cousin Sydney Blake, will all be walking the runway. Maybe even the family’s new great dane, Tonka, will make an appearance! Last year, the Blethen family rocked the runway. Who can forget Brian both rocking and hamming it up looking out to sea dropped on one knee? Fun stuff.

    “The creativity of the outfits brings out a, I don’t know, a spark in people,” Paolillo said. “(Modeling in a fashion show) is so completely different from the rest of their lives.”

    Fishin’ For Fashion is all about creativity; how these designers not only create on paper but with the actual materials that hold together is a mystery. OK, so maybe some are just held together with glue sticks for safety pins.

    Year after year, this show has produced fashion accessories that live on in the memories of fashion fans. Take Sandy Barry’s map shoes – shoes with a black and white map  finish. Paolillo says whenever she shows a picture of those shoes ... “I still get requests for them every single time. I told Sandy she should quit all of her jobs and just make those shoes!”

    The Minnow Bucket pocketbook caught the eye of one fashion fan who bought it for $200. Paolillo’s parents created the shoulder tote that could become a clutch by rolling up the fishing line with fishing wire; Calypso sold bags from J Rich (Jordan Richards) Designs, made from a vintage life jacket; years ago, a designer created a dress of woven netting that is now a mainstream line of shirts and dresses! And, speaking of Calypso, the dynamite team there created a wedding dress for the first show back in 2014. Post-show, the dress was displayed at the shop where a bride-to-be saw it, fell in love with it, and bought it for her wedding.

    As Paolillo says, “Things that have come out of this show have become real world designs.”

    Tickets are $30 and include admittance to both days of Boothbay Harbor Fest’s East Side Vibe Sept. 7 and 8. They are available at, at the Farmer’s Market this Thursday, Sept. 5, and at Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce.

    Bring your lawn chair and make a day of it. The music lineup on Saturday: Headliner is Nashville recording singer-songwriter-musician Jamie Lee Thurston(!), The Reconstructed, and Two Wild Horses, the food and merchandise vendors, vintage market, Kid Zone ... something for the entire family!

    Park your cars at Bigelow Lab or Washburn & Doughty Shipyard. The shuttle will be running continuously between those two points. Follow signage to parking within walking distance. Just get there, Boothbay Harbor Fest fans – another weekend of making merry is on its way.

    For a recap of last year, visit