ARENA Bikini goes 'Neon Glam'

JAHNA PELOQUIN | Updated 5/1/2013

The annual benefit for local dance company ARENA is one of the sexiest fundraisers of the year.

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.

Look by ArielSimone
Look by Max Lohrbach
Look by ArielSimone
Look by Max Lohrbach
Look by Max Lohrbach
Look by Perfect Fit Gear

[Photos: Chris McDuffie, courtesy ARENA Bikini]