This weekend’s balmy weather couldn’t have come at a better time than Friday night at the Calhoun Beach Club, which hosted the sixth annual ARENA Bikini fundraiser.
ARENA Dances’ annual benefit is an entertaining (and sexy) mash-up of dance and runway fashion, showcasing the season’s latest swimwear looks on hot-bodied models alongside energetic performances by ARENA dancers amidst a neon-infused backdrop for this year’s “Neon Glam” theme. Members of the modern dance company, founded by ARENA creative director Mathew Janczewski in 1995, performed a trio of short, high-energy pieces between runway segments.
Swimwear included metallic, barely-there swimsuits by Perfect Fit Gear, a Minneapolis-based line that apparently specializes in custom bikini modeling and competitive bodybuilding suits (!). Another local line with a knack for swimwear was ArielSimone by Adrienne Yancy, whose latest collection of well-cut suits showcased the models’ curves -- and the designer's handiwork -- with strategic cutouts in a bold, neon palette.
Local designer Max Lohrbach made his first attempt at swimwear with a “resort” collection that featured a bikini with clam shell bra cups, a pair of men’s short-shorts featuring a strategically-placed clam shell, and a pair of silk cargo board shorts a featuring hand-painted banana print. Richard Beckel brought the show into Victoria’s Secret territory with a bride-inspired bikini that cheekily featured a tulle train pinned to the back of the bottoms.
The juxtaposition of fashion and dance proved a dynamic, engaging one for the well-heeled crowd -- a mix of fashion scene regulars and ARENA patrons -- while offering a glimpse into the world's local fashion and dance.
[Photos: Chris McDuffie, courtesy ARENA Bikini]