Wednesday, April 8, 2015

black magic woman

WOW. What a night! Altered Couture was SO much fun! In case you missed it, the 5th Annual Mid-Coast Altered Couture contest was Saturday, April 4th, and it was a hoot. Here's the summary, as advertised on Frontier's "events" page: "Now in its 5th year, the Mid-Coast Altered Couture Contest is a wonderful opportunity to see local creativity on display. 25 participants will walk, strut, and dance their way down the runway, modeling their designs constructed around this year's theme challenge, 'Enchantment and Fantasy'. Each year, the proceeds go to community-based programs that benefit youth and art. This year, we will have a special treat, as the Portland Youth Dance will present 2 dance pieces to share with our audience. This popular event sells out quickly, so get your tickets early for an enchanted evening!" Sounds interesting, right? It was!

Now, I am not a fiber artist. I am not a seamstress. I am not skilled at sewing or anything like that. If I lose a button on a coat, I can get it back on, but it's not going to be pretty or neat, and chances are, it will be a temporary, when Christine DeTroy asked me back in January if I would consider being a part of this year's event, I thought about it for about two seconds before I said, "YES!" Some of you might remember that I was a last-minute model for one of the designers involved in last year's Altered Couture. When I say "last-minute," I mean last-minute: I was asked to participate 48 hours before the event. This was good because I didn't have a lot of time to freak out or get nervous. Don't misunderstand me- I was nervous, of course, but since it was such a last-minute thing, I wasn't dwelling on it for weeks.

Anyway, when I heard that this year's theme was "Enchantment and Fantasy," the ideas started flowing. The inspiration for my costume came from one of my favorite cards in the Tarot deck, the Temperance card. I started to think of ways in which I could incorporate some of the elements in that card into my outfit. I knew I had to have wings...but how would someone like me figure out how to do that? One word: PINTEREST! Now, I typically only use Pinterest for recipes, but I know there are tons of ideas for crafty projects on there, so I started hunting around...and sure enough, I found a tutorial on how to make wings out of an umbrella! This was cool for a couple of different reasons: 1. One of the themes of Altered Couture is to use recycled or repurposed materials, and 2. the wings looked like bat wings, and I love bats! So, I found a couple of umbrellas at Goodwill in Topsham, and I got to work. I wish I could tell you that I was able to whip those wings out quickly, but I was not. There were a lot of late nights, a lot of long afternoons, and a lot of mistakes. I was way out of my comfort zone and in over my head. I'm glad I picked up two umbrellas, because my first attempt was rather botched. I kept at it, though, and with the help of black electrical tape, the finished product was not half-bad!

What do Paul McCartney and I have in common? WINGS! 

I already had a black nightgown that came from Estilo, the women's consignment shop in town, but I felt like that wasn't enough. I scored big-time when I found an underskirt in wedding dress section of the South Portland Goodwill! It had more material than I needed, so I just scrunched it up and safety-pinned it into place. No sewing necessary! Bringing the black-and-white elements together was another item I already had that came from Estilo: a silver sequined scarf could easily become a cummerbund for the evening. I knew I needed some sort of headdress, and I wanted something that gave the feeling of emanating light. Once again, the answer came in the form of a Goodwill purchase! I found a wreath with silver and gold sequined balls, so I cut it up and affixed the plastic branches to some wire. I already had a bunch of rosary beads in the house (they had belonged to my parents), so they became necklaces and bracelets.

getting in the zone

The angel in the Temperance card is barefoot, so I figured I ought to be barefoot, too. The song I had chosen to walk to was "Black Magic Woman" by Santana, so the only logical choice for nail polish was- you guessed it- black. I felt like I was having a high school flashback! 

photo by Susan Perrine

I was the third person to walk the runway that night, which was good...I was able to get it out of the way fairly quickly, and I was able to relax and enjoy the rest of the show! I had a wonderful support team cheering me on (Terry, Heather, Sarah, Trish, Esther, and Annie), and their hooting and hollering put a smile on my face and a spring in my step! 

On Monday, I was thrilled to see that MaineToday covered the event, and two photos of me managed to make it into their article! Check it out: Lauryn Hottinger really captured the evening beautifully! 

I am so happy to have been able to participate in this fun and diverse community event. Major props to Susan Perrine for snagging first prize with her incredible submission, applause for Louanne Schoninger for stepping in so beautifully to cover for a last-minute bailout, and, of course, I bow down to the one, the only, Christine DeTroy, whose creativity, humor, poise, and out-and-out ass-busting hard work made the entire evening possible. Thank you to everyone who came and everyone who participated! Hope to see you next year!