Green is golden and by any standard the fashion show presented Saturday by the Festival of Arts was a 24-karat winner.
Talented festival exhibitors created nine eco-friendly designs from at least 80% recycled or natural materials, the second year, to an even more enthusiastic audience than in 2009.
The show opened with a design by jewelers Barbara Hendricks and last year's inaugural show winners. They called it Festival Diva, a party dress in keeping with the Pageant of the Master's theme: "Eat, Drink and Be Merry."
"The artists spent hours emptying wine bottle and beer cans for their art," said Arts Commissioner and festival board member Pat Kollenda, who served as commentator for the show.
Materials included packaging from chips and oranges; wine and beer bottles and old tickets from the opening night party.
"Mona Lisa [whose face embellished the tickets] is doing a peek-a-boo somewhere on this ensemble." Kollenda said.
Painter Dagmar Chaplin managed to convert plastic grocery bags, packing material, bubblewrap and corregated cardboard into a costume worthy of a banquet in the court of Henry the VIII.
Decorative elements include flowers made of newspaper advertisements, dried lotus flowers and rosebuds, salvaged jewelry, Christmas trimming and a hand-painted pizza fan.
Sophie Higuchi, daughter of Festival of Arts promotion and publicity director Sharbie Higuchi, was the model.
Painter Brad Elsberry's inspired design drew from nature and Laguna's well-documented history of overcoming adversity.
Elsberry used a thrift store bridesmaid gown altered with cardboard for the base of his "Eucalyptus Phoenix." He covered the base with spirals of bark shed by the large eucalyptus near the entrance of the festival to create a gown that fit as if painted on the model.
Fallen branches, leaves, blossoms and seeds pods trimmed the back of the dress until the model raised her arms and transformed the bustle into wings, a tribute to Laguna's ability to rise like a Phoenix from disaster.
Photographer Rick Graves used recycled tools of his art for "Out Takes."
The body of the dress was created from part of a damaged 121-by-19-inch canvas print originally used for a show at the Dana Point Ocean Institute.
The body inside the dress was Graves' poised 11-year-old daughter, Camryn, who will be starting the 7th grade this fall. She modeled her father's entry like a pro.
"I would get a lock and a key," Kollenda advised.
The image on the canvas was shot at the Monterey Bay Aquarium with a unique camera that exposes an entire roll of film as a single frame.
Embellished with 25 feet of unexposed 35 mm Kodak Duplicating film, the dress was fringed with rolls of Fujichrome Provia film test outtakes.
The hat that accessorized the outfit was made of Styrofoam rings, 220 and 35 mm film, wire and a lazy susan that allowed Camryn to spin the brim. She also wore sunglasses made of 35 mm film and slide mounts copyrighted in 2005.
Jeweler Troels Larsen, who also participated in last's year's show, stayed close to home this year for inspiration. He used stacks of magazines, a few trash bags and fluffed-up toilet paper for a prom dress fit for a teen queen.