Notes from Saturday evening’s glamorous “Trashique 2018,” in which an aircraft hanger at the Fresno airport was transformed into a shimmering creative oasis. (Except that an oasis brings to mind a desert, while this year’s show, thanks to Mother Nature, was closer in terms of topography to Arctic tundra):
My favorite piece: Kristine Doiel’s tribute to mid-century designers Charles and Ray Eames. This power couple is best known for their contributions to mid-century American architecture, furniture design, industrial design and manufacturing. Doiel’s creation, modeled with a strutting certainty by Katerina Guerrero, offered a whimsical tribute to the Eames’ artistic vision.
The materials: Doiel used plastic mattress packaging, milk containers, mesh vegetable bags, food packing boxes, magazine pages, leather and fabric upholstery swatches, rubber, rope, packing foam and cardboard boxes. She fashioned a stunning dress boasting a cheerful grid of colors and textures, along with a wide-brimmed “hat” that suggested a giant Eames wedding-cake topper — it also made me think of an immobile mobile — complete with full-sized light bulbs. (Guerrero, the model, told me that it was actually quite easy to wear.)
My favorite detail: I don’t know why this cracked me up so much, but the circular hat brim was cut out of a Costco “Kirkland” packing box. Take that, haute couture.
The biggest challenge: I asked Doiel after the show what was the hardest thing to pull off, and she told me it was the glue. Have you ever tried to get a lightbulb to stick to cardboard?
My takeaway: Doiel’s design captured something fundamental about the legacy of Charles and Ray Eames, both literally and in creative spirit. It made me want to get online afterward and dive more deeply into these artists. That’s always a happy byproduct of “Trashique.”
Best tag-team: Artists Pattie Wilkinson and Carmen Hoyos offered a striking combination of designs in their tributes to Marcel Duchamp. Wilkinson’s models (Chloe Tatro and Tommy Guerrero) sported massive bicycle wheels on their backs, and Carmen Hoyos (with help from Alena Gerard and Peter Reynaud) gave us a statuesque garment in silver fabric and crown pulled along in a cart by, you guessed it, a bicycle. (Full disclosure: I did a preview piece on Wilkinson’s work and knew right then it was probably going to be one of my “Trashique” favorites.)
Most stylish: I loved the elegance and sass of artist Ginger Kay Lewis Reed’s homage to Edward Hopper, made of nylon screen, mesh vegetable bags, plastic food containers, cigarette butts (!), drinking straws, shopping bags, Hopper postcards, matchbooks and Styrofoam. The sheer green dress, floating “belt” and out-there headpiece made me think of the “Jetsons” meets a Hula Hoop. Model Rachel Hibler made the whole ensemble seem effortless.
Biggest out-of-town splash: What a treat to see the work of Bulgarian artist Jivomir Domoustchiev, whose five avant garde “mix and match” creations were shown for only the second time. (The first was at the Alternative Hair Show in London.) The fashion scoop was courtesy of hair wizard Eric Gomez, who talked Domoustchiev into sending his designs to Fresno. The artist is known for working with PVC plastic in a pop-art palette, and the stunning primary-color array of five garments looked terrific on stage.
Interesting tidbit: The various plastic components of the dresses can be easily configured in different combinations and colors; Gomez actually constructed each one to the physical specs of his models. It was like working with Lego blocks of fashion. Perhaps in the future people will just “design” their outfit for the day on a whim?
The runway show: Impeccably designed in terms of lights and sound (a nod to Rusty Rocca of Light & Sound Solutions), the show had a sophisticated vibe throughout. Artistic directors Roseanne Guaglianone, Debra Erven, David Bonetto and Gomez all delivered slick results. (The projected visuals and choreography worked very well.) My one suggestion for next year would be the incorporation of a little more narration during the show itself. The audience was enthusiastic but a little shy about applause, and could have been encouraged to be more effusive by the fine but underused master of ceremonies, Joel Abels. And just a bit of backstory about each artist to complement the printed material in the program would have helped add to the engagement level as well. (Also, my toes got pretty cold.)
Final thoughts: “Trashique 2018” was a top-notch affair, from the big-city ambiance of the beautifully decorated airplane hanger to the community spirit (with models and artists mingling with patrons) after the show. Museum director Michele Ellis Pracy and event manager Tasha Mendoza have a lot to be proud of.
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