Fishin’ For Fashion: Nautical couture for every occasion

From the first Fishin’ For Fashion in 2014 at the former Rocktide Inn, locals and visitors alike have had a passion for fashion – make nautical fashion!

After a two year absence from the fashion scene, Fishin’ For Fashion was back and the venue was Brisol Marine. Ticket holders started arriving at 1 for drinks, oysters and other appetizers and enjoying the stage. The Wharf Cats were playing jazz and there was quite a buzz in the air.

Boothbay Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lisa Walby introduced Master of Ceremonies Michael Maxim. Maxim took to the track to the theme song “Jaws”, stopping frequently for selfies, and the audience loved it. Maxim introduced the audience to the three judges: Sarni Rogers is a Mainer native who grew up summers here in the Southport Yacht Club sailing program and works at JH Hawk. She moved to Los Angeles 16 years ago and for the past seven years has been chief consultant for the Nick Fouquet brand of luxury fashion and accessories. Originally from New England, Meranne Behrands owns the Maine advertising agency Words from the Woods, working with clients including Merrell, Clark, RTIC and the agency’s latest award-winning campaign for MaineHealth. She lives in Portland with her family. And Cristina Frank from WMTW Channel 8 news returned as an FFF judge. As Maxim said, “…she has a keen eye for the most important news and she is good at judging the designs. She too lives in Portland with her family.

And then, the long-awaited moment, the only way to launch Fishin For Fashion, was the appearance of local fashion mavens from Slick’s – Adele Savastano and Andi Bielli. Dressed in their now-iconic black unitards and outrageous fuschia seaweed and feather hairstyles, they moved down the runway to a classic mid-’70s disco, looking fabulous with all the right moves.

And then, when the twins left the stage, the audience was ready for the first original design. It was sensational: Lorna Andrews’ design was worn by Andrews’ granddaughter, Olivia Paolillo, Dana and Joe’s daughter. The sheath dress was made of a converted jib sail, vintage trapeze harness and adorned with shackles, skeins of jib, rope and fishing bobbers along the edges of the short train; a fun, playful and youthful design, perfect for a night out on the town. This was the design of the judges’ first finalist.

The Calypso team created a ball gown featuring a black spinnaker voile bodice with a lace-up eyelet in the back closed with a voile cord. The windsurf sail’s flowing red skirt was accented with a flounce made from a 218-inch piece of spinnaker fabric. A lobster trap yarn hoop ruffle gave the red and black dress the look of a Spanish dancer – and model Savannah Compare looked the part. In black sail-laced boots, she worked that twirling runway and striking poses as the fishing lures of her black spinnaker sailcloth collar caught the light as the set dazzled the eye. This design was chosen by the judges for best design.

As for the People’s Choice, it was none other than July Hash competing for the fourth time. With the event being a fundraiser for Project Graduation, Hasch came on board when her son Jay was a senior at Boothbay Region High School. His designs never fail to impress. It’s hard to believe that she doesn’t create for a living. she is a nurse.

But let’s go back to this magnificent sheath: it was topped with a yellow cape of reused rainwear; the bodice of the dress was once sailcloth, with two sections of woven lobster strips and sailcloth. Layers with lobster strips were tied together with nylon twine and eyelets. Even the shoulders had lobster band straps. The dress was trimmed with lobster claws. The earrings and necklace were created from donated spinner blades.

And this handbag of nylon string and lobster bands with funnel hoops handles! The small bag handles were funnel hoops; there was also a coordinating spinner blade keyring and a lobster trap tag that had belonged to the late Charlie Begin.

Hasch recalls learning that the series was returning after a two-year hiatus. “I had all these ideas in mind for the designs, but no show. Dana called me in February to tell me the show was coming back and I was so happy. I love it.” Hash is definitely addicted – and so are we. Her designs are unique and can be worn by anyone on a night out in Boothbay Harbor or anywhere else.

The award for Best Original Student Design was awarded to interns at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Modeled by Lara Beckius, the stunning short dress with a train was made of sailcloth, tarps, a fisherman’s jacket and waders, a net and fishing line. The drawing was painted by hand.

Desiree Scorcia modeled her own design inspired by 1920s flapper dresses. The dress was made from Glidden Point oyster shells and other materials from the oyster industry. Scorcia shook off the sheer red garment as she walked barefoot down the runway. This dress was not designed for the shy or introverted fashionista!

Hilary St. Jean modeled her own design called “Hook, Line and Sinker”. The only black dress in the show featured hand-sewn seashells and seashells woven through leather string, fishing net, buoy rope, a mini starfish, and sea glass. St. Jean had a certain “tude” as she walked the runway, even throwing her black bag behind her as she walked. Beautiful sea dress it was too.

Della Hahn, a recent BRHS graduate, has been designing for this show for many years. This year’s design was an 80s-inspired party dress made of boat vinyl and hand-sewn oyster shells from Mine Oyster. Hahn said she spent about 16-18 hours sewing all the seashells! She also wore handmade string sandals with oyster shell accents. And her necklace featured sea glass collected on Squirrel Island.

From Blue Fern Design was a navy blue and kelly green voile dress modeled by Scarlett O’Brien. The bodice was navy blue sailboat umbrella fabric with blue and green beach glass and rope straps. The green sailcloth skirt with green petticoat was adorned with blue fish and blue and white rope straps.

Earl Brewer’s original design, rocked by model Charlotte Fuchswanz, was hand-stitched from his dad’s recycled floaty rope onto a basic black linen little cocktail dress with a striking collection of encrusted sea glass in a “V” at the back of the dress. A very complex piece.

And I don’t think any of us will forget “Jellyfish Girl,” designed by Janson team employee Oxana Tarlow and modeled by Natalie Mayotte. Consisting of bait bags, hog rings and repair twine, it was an eye catcher. The jellyfish hat had a perfect shape and the tendrils of the fishing rope fell gracefully against the greens and blues of the dress and string. Imaginative. Attractive.

Models also showed yarns available at local stores: Slicks – featuring models Sarah Morley, Ida Lancaster and Shane McBay; from Calypso – Susan Endicott and Carrie Langlois; Seabags – Mariah Andrews; Boothbay Harbor clothing – Meg Sledge and Jackie branch; Windjammer Emporium – Kevin Danfelser and Jaelyn Crocker; Logan’s House – Colby Allen; Ceramic Ae – Pam O’Connor; Janson’s – Jessica Murray and Meagen Cope; and The Village Store – mom and daughter Breanna and Kennedy Davis.

At press time, the amount raised had not been accounted for. Proceeds from the sale of the tickets and the seven original design handbags up for auction were to benefit Project Graduation, as always, and the Fishermen’s Memorial Fund.

If you missed the show, you still feel like you’re there! Watch Jonne Trees’ excellent video on local cable channel 1301. And to get in the spirit of the event, grab your favorite drink, dance and get into the Fishin’ For Fashion beat! See you next year!


Leave a Comment