PORT ANGELES — With snowy coffee filters ruffling about her face and a laundry basket encircling her hips, Karesandra White was the belle of the Port Angeles Farmers Market on Saturday.
She was also the 15-year-old model of the winning gown in Saturday’s Costumer Death Match, an unprecedented contest between two teams of dressmaker-recyclers that’s part of this weekend’s Threads of History festivities in downtown Port Angeles.
The Death Match did not actually lead to any fatalities, fortunately, though rivals Team Diva and Team Glitz exchanged much verbal abuse while building their dresses, in front of a flock of spectators in the southwest corner of The Gateway pavilion at Front and Lincoln streets.
It all began shortly after 10 a.m. Saturday: a race to use all manner of materials, recycled and repurposed, to create gowns worthy of Queen Victoria and Marie Antoinette — and outrageous enough to stop farmers market traffic.
Team Diva — made up of costumers Deborah Strub of Silverdale and Lori Edwards and Margo Loes of Everett — had a slip of a girl as their model: Jaden Rockwell, 13, of Port Angeles.
First they encased her in a blue duct-tape corset; then came a cardboard-and-bubble-wrap bustle and a multi-layered, wrapping-paper skirt.
Less than two hours later, Team Diva presented the stunning package to the crowd.
The crowd went wild, cheering for Rockwell and her gown — yet they were just a touch louder for White, who wafted up the steps of the Gateway pavilion in an ensemble that mixed multiple influences.
Wicked Witch of West
Her full, deep-green skirt, freshly draped on site by Team Glitz’s Garth Stubbs and Amanda Harris-Forbes, featured fabric printed with images of the Wicked Witch of the West.
Her hips jutted proudly, thanks to the round laundry basket affixed around her waist.
Atop her head sat a hat that another Team Glitzer, Bethany Roulett of Seattle, constructed with white coffee filters and plastic Easter eggs around a big plastic detergent jug.
And to complete the look, White carried a delicate little purse, made of matching coffee filters and adorned with a sprig of anise from the farmers’ market.
The dress is “pretty comfortable,” White said after posing for scores of photographs.
“It’s very light,” though the hat is rather heavy.
When asked how she became a Costumers Death Match model, White replied that Richard Stephens, Threads of History’s coordinator, had asked her earlier this week, “What are you doing Saturday?”
Threads of History continues today with displays of costumes and historical fashions at five Port Angeles galleries.
Admission to the exhibits is free.
• At Studio Bob, upstairs at 118 ½ E. Front St., fashions inspired by the Middle Ages through the early 20th century are on display from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• The Art Front, 118 E. Front St., features “Steam Punk,” a fashion subgenre, plus work of many other local artists, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• The Waterfront Art Gallery, 120 W. First St., is presenting a show of wearable art, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Landings Art Gallery, 115 E. Railroad Ave., is displaying ethnic historical fashions, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd., presents “Art in Bloom,” an exhibit of floral arrangements paired with works of art, plus historical fashions with floral highlights from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Cottage Queen, 119 W. First St., is hosting an exhibit titled “1950s Desperate Housewives,” from noon to 4 p.m.
________Sequim-Dungeness Valley Reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-681-2391 or at [email protected]