September 4, 2013 • 04:24:45 p.m.

Furniture-inspired fashions to highlight On-som’ bel show


A model strikes a pose during last year’s On-som’ bel show. (Provided photo)

BATAVIA – Furniture-inspired fashions will hit the runway Saturday, Sept. 7, for Water Street Studios’ second annual On-som’ bel runway fashion show, artist exhibition and fundraising event.

Artists will assemble at the Batavia art studio to integrate fashion design, accessories, art and contemporary dance into this year’s theme – “The Chair and What You Wear.”

“Every piece is inspired by a chair, and artists submitted proposals based on a chair that was iconic to [them],” said event co-chair and resident artist Rita Grendze, the mastermind behind this year’s theme.

The idea stemmed from Grendze’s appreciation for Richard Martin’s book, “Fashion and Surrealism,” which discusses the art movement’s impact on fashion in 1920s’ Paris. Grendze credits one of the book’s featured artists, the late Elsa Schiaparelli – an Italian Fashion designer who collaborated with painter Salvador Dali to create shocking garments – as inspiration for the show’s chair theme.

“[Schiaparelli’s] avant-garde fashion and attitude toward fashion inspired me for this show,” Grendze said. “Fashion is conceptual. Clothing can be seen as sculptural and architectural. With chairs, there is a reference to the human body. The chair implies a narrative.”

Laura Spicer, who is on the board of directors and in charge of the event’s auction, concurred.

“At the couture level, there is a thin line – if any – between sculpture and fashion. Things on the runway are not always supposed to be worn, but inspire what you would find on the rack,” Spicer said.

One of the artist’s making a comeback to this year’s show is Chicago-based fashion designer Sandra Leonard, who has been interweaving sculptural elements into clothing and costumes for more than 20 years. She also has exhibited in galleries and art-wear fashion shows in cities such as Paris, San Fransisco and Washington, D.C.

In a news release, Leonard said she looks forward to bringing cutting edge fashion and wearable art to the local community.

“I am driven by the silhouette of the form on the body,” she said in the release. “By incorporating fabrics I have painted by hand, I am able to create unique, sculptural forms with a component of surprise.”

New this year, the Chicago-based Core Project will perform a contemporary dance, and at the end of the show, there will be an auction featuring “experience” packages, such as a catered Ethiopian dinner party at Water Street Studios and a travel package to the Chicago Art Expo.

There also will be a fund-a-need auction where guests can bid on monetary amounts to donate to Water Street Studios-funded programs, such as Art Flow – a program that provides free art education to students and women who have financial need or come from under-served communities.

Overall, 21 artists, including fashion designers, will submit work for On-som’ bel, and 22 pieces will be shown on the runway.

Last year, there wasn’t much opportunity for people to buy, so all the artwork, chairs and fashions will remain on display at Water Street Studios after the show and the next day, Spicer said.

Cocktails and substantial hors d’oeuvres catered by Wasco-based Cuisine Thyme will be served at 7 p.m. in the main gallery, where attendees can peruse artwork specifically created for the event. The Loading Dock Gallery adjacent to Water Street Studios will open at 8:30 p.m. for the runway show, which will begin at 9 p.m.

Creative cocktail attire is recommended. Those interested are encouraged to purchase tickets soon, as the show can accommodate only 200 people.

Tickets cost $85. For an additional $100, four VIP seats can be reserved, and the package includes a complimentary bottle of champagne. To buy tickets, stop by Water Street Studios, 160 W. Wilson St., Batavia, or call 630-761-9977. Email for more information.

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