FAM in focus: A look back at Fresno Art Museum’s wonderful Trashique 2022
Editor’s note: If you haven’t yet seen the Fresno Art Museum’s stellar traveling show, “A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes,” which runs through Jan. 8, then you need a pep talk. Sure, when the exhibition you opened on July 30, you figured you had all the time in the world to make it to the museum. Now it’s in the final weeks.
Pictured above: A screenshot from a video account of Trashique 2022. Photo: CMAC
Pictured above: A screenshot from a video account of Trashique 2022. Photo: CMAC
To offer last-minute encouragement, TMR offers a special package of coverage. In a CMAC video production I posted last month, I took a tour with museum curator Sarah Vargas, who offers keen insights about the “Queen Within” show. (You can read my short post introducing the video or go directly to it on YouTube.) TMR also features two articles written by local fashion journalist Sarah Delgado, a Fresno State journalism major. Delgado attended Trashique, which she writes about in the following story below, and also a separate story about a lecture by Shannon Bell Price, which is related to “A Queen Within.” In her story about the lecture, Delgado shares 5 Things to Know About Alexander McQueen.
Special thanks to Delgado for her fashion enthusiasm and for helping to spread the word about the museum.
Trashique 2022 offers a triumphant return for an event that has put Fresno’s fashion scene on the map
By Sarah Delgado
The night was chilly and the audience members warmed themselves with wine and conversation. As laughter and joy filled the environment, the audience — many of whom were wearing fur coats themselves — sat down to celebrate local designers on Nov. 5.
Trashique, a Fresno Museum tradition, is a fashion show that occurs every other year. After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 (the 2020 installment was canceled), the show opened to an ecstatic audience awaiting to see local creations. The show was inspired by famous artists and at the end, fashioned to include the theme of the current exhibition on view at the Fresno Art Museum, “The Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes.”
At the event, 28 designers and artists worked to produce 42 total garments in a show about finding the beauty in unconventional items inspired by the artwork of famous artists.
Mark Standriff, the master of ceremonies and director of Beautify Fresno, joked that when he thought about beautifying Fresno, the ability to “make trash into something beautiful” was not something he envisioned.
For the past 12 years, Trashique has focused on crafting haute couture using recycled materials, with the focus on sustainability. Many of the pieces are secondhand finds from local thrift and consignment shops crafted to create something totally new. Others use such materials as zip-close bags and tarps to have more than one function.
Pattie Wilkinson’s creation, modeled by Chloe Tatro, was a performance on its own. Inspired by Maxfield Parrish, the garment was composed of a discarded bridesmaid dress, AC filters, chair cushion stuffing, and a rusted screen. Tatro walked the runway with holding handles that controlled the train of the dress. She swayed the poles to the ethereal music, creating a mystical view for the audience.
Leslie Batty brought France to the runway with Kayland Love and Shamira Evans walking in synchronicity. The garments were inspired by Louis Bourgeois, an artist with emphasis in sculpture and installations. Both garments were composed of painter’s drop cloths, wooden thread spools, buttons, school binders, and popsicle sticks.
The Marc Chagall section included a statement from one of the designers. Enrique Cabrera modeled an orange getup with an emphasis on construction cones. Damen Pardo, the designer of the garment, said, “It’s a message about fragile masculinity.”
Cabrera took on a character, with female models batting eyelashes at a character he has become. This section was a performance, with the models attempting to seduce his character. It’s avant garde, and it captured Chagall’s essence well.
Nothing at Trashique truly captured art as directly as the section for Yayoi Kusama did. Kusama, known for her polka dot art, completely dominated the models. The models all displayed a form of polka dots in their garments.
As NeFesha Ruth and Henry Ellard, Jr. walked the runway, the boldest designer statement was Charnetta Hall with nothing more than a faux fur cape, glass, and plastic beads. It embraced Kara Walker’s background rather than her work, but still embraces gender and sexuality.
Two alumni of previous Trashique shows closed the show with their creations made in correlation to the current exhibition of female archetypes at the Fresno Art Museum show. Eric Gomez and Debra Erven worked together since August to produce something for the show.
Gomez worked to produce four of the seven archetypes, whereas Erven crafted two.
Erven was a costume design professor at Fresno City College. After 28 years, she recently retired but continues to make garments as a hobby. She says that Gomez had come to her in August to propose a Trashique project. She produced garments related to The Sage and The Thespian archetypes.
Erven’s creation for The Sage was a black textured dress with bell sleeves. In addition, a stuffed snake draped around the model. The dress and snake were made from garments from a local consignment shop, Repeat Performance.
For The Thespian, the garments were composed of a plaid two piece with gold accents. It was heavily inspired by Alexander McQueen (Highland Rape), and made to mimic the presence of McQueen’s designs in the room dedicated to the Thespian archetype.
When asked about Erven’s biggest challenge in regard to Trashique, she remarked that the snake was her biggest complication.
“Finding out how to make the snake hang on to the dress was my biggest problem,” she said.
Conner McKnight, another designer present in the show, was given the objective to fulfill a design inspired by artist Ruth Asawa. Modeled by Lin Mochi, his design played with obscure silhouettes and the addition of hair ornaments.
McKnight, who is a teacher and makes garments as a hobby, also worked since August to produce something for the show. Compiling some of his own fabrics from past garments and a sleeping bag he had planned to donate, McKnight created a bubble baby doll dress.
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“The top is actually a sleeping bag that I couldn’t donate because it had already been slept in. So the seams you see are actually added on,” he said in an interview.
To create the silhouette, the model was fitted with a wire skirt, with the top added and held together by a bowed ribbon. To further accentuate this dress, the addition of more wire was added to the outside to play with the conventions of fashions.
“The organza on the skirt is recycled from another one of my garments,” he said.
McKnight and Mochi, who are both also heavily involved in Fresno’s fashion scene, both said they wished people took fashion more seriously.
Mochi, who modeled McKnight’s creation, remarked that fashion was her career. In the past, she has also modeled for local brands House of Francisco and KD Dollhouse.
The night is remembered for its extravagant designs made by locals. Amongst Erven and McKnight, the other designers excelled in the creation of haute couture with the restriction of only using trash or secondhand items.
What’s behind this and why is it significant? In recent months, Downtown Fresno has become a new hub for Central Valley Fashion. With shows arising during Arthop and others taking place in notable nightlife spots like Full Circle Brewery, Fresno is starting to see a fashion boom.
With the addition of Fresno Art Museum’s current exhibition, it’s a first for giving access to high-fashion garments to Fresno locals. “A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes” introduces the seven female archetypes in fashion and showcases many high fashion designers such as Alexander McQueen, Iris van Herpen, and Vivienne Westwood.
“The Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes” is currently on display through Jan. 8.
Sarah Delgado is a junior majoring in Media, Communications and Journalism at Fresno State. She is the incoming arts and entertainment editor for The Collegian, Fresno State’s student-run newspaper.