But to Candice Kenmuir, it does make an offbeat statement on South Florida’s ability to cope and recover from a hurricane.
In the fall, the Barry University student collected debris from Hurricane Wilma and used it to make four pieces of fashion. As a fine arts photography student, she was searching for the right images for her senior class exhibition project.
Inspiration came in the aftermath of the October storm, when outside of her photo lab she observed a large tree uprooted, its leaves decaying and falling off.
"After the hurricane ... there was just garbage everywhere," says Kenmuir, 22. "I figured why not use this surplus debris. I wanted to make something [where people] would say ‘Oh, wow.’"
With duct tape and glue, hundreds of dead brown leaves morphed into a "Foliage Evening Gown."
She tied together the broken remnants of a storm-blown wooden fence, red with specks of white paint and jagged splinters, to make a ballerina-like dress.
Black and gray shingles from a caved-in school roof became a "Roof Tile Couture" dress.
"I made a very small contribution to the cleanup," Kenmuir jokes.
For a fourth garment, "60-Watt Wear," she used wire to string together about 150 light bulbs she bought for a piece intended as a tribute to Florida Power and Light for its effort to restore power after the hurricane.
Kenmuir recruited volunteer student models to dress in the four pieces and she photographed them in a studio.
"They definitely were not comfortable," says Kenmuir, who graduated in December and is considering graduate school. "The models were good sports."
Oversize prints of the models in her designs were on display at the Barry University library, along with other students’ photography and graphic design projects.
"She took what was a devastating event and used it as her inspiration to come up with beautiful imagery," says Silvia Lizama, the photography professor who gave her project an "A." "She turned [it] into something positive."
© 2006 South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
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