Summer may be over the hump, but it's not over yet, dammit! That's why the team that brought you the Mercury's spring fashion show, Forecast, is rallying once more for the Last Splash, a pool party and experiment in avant garde swimwear designs commissioned not just from apparel designers but from visual artists working in various mediums. Throw any notion of practicality out the window—I along with Connie Wohn, Kirk Sutherland, Frances May owner Pamela Baker-Miller, and freelance fashion writer Brett Glass encouraged participants to think big and way outside the box.
Readers of this column will recognize some of the artists, like apparel designer Adam Arnold, Paperdoll Fashion's Heather Treadway, Hecklewood's Sam Huff, and Dana Bruington, whose show-stopping textile designs were part of the Forecast emerging-designer showcase. In addition, Last Splash will feature swimwear entries from artists like Dana Dart-McLean, whose past work has included gouache, ink, and graphite; Fritz Mesenbrink, who's designed for local hot spots like Stumptown and Clyde Common, among many others; multimedia artist Israel Lund; Jeremy Pelley and Philip Iosca, both of whose past work includes commissions for the Portland Ace Hotel; painter, sculptor, and animator Jo Jackson; sculptor Kent Richardson; art collective Oregon Painting Society; Russell Short, AKA stencil artist Klutch; and Plazm's Sarah Gottesdiener.
Few of the pieces will actually be swim-friendly, and will parade on a custom floating runway built over a junior Olympic-sized pool by Kent Richardson and Justin Gorman, where audience members can watch either from poolside or in the water itself. Dundiggy will soundtrack the event, and Por Qué No, Koi Fusion, and Fifty Licks will provide food. (Peninsula Park Pool, 700 N Rosa Parks, Sat Aug 22, 6 pm, $8)
Thinking beyond summer to fall, Portland Fashion Week is getting ready for its October run, this year with the addition of an emerging apparel designer showcase, wherein new designers can benefit from the event's exposure at a reduced participation fee of $350 to show seven looks. Open auditions are taking place this week, and I will be serving on the jury alongside the Art Institute's director of apparel design, Sue Bonde; Physical Element's Jo Carter; designer Anna Cohen; Sofada's Alice Dobson; Saturn Style Studios' Marie Saturn; Modi Soondarotok of IDOM; and Lisa Radon of the Portland Monthly/Spaces Culturephile blog. (Art Institute of Portland, 1122 NW Davis, Room 263, Sun Aug 23, 2-5 pm—be sure to bring fully completed samples!)