SMoCA Mix Brings Avant-Garde Fashion to Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Four galleries at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art will be transformed with red-carpet runways on Saturday, May 7, as the museum presents its annual SMoCA Mix fundraiser. Last year, the museum ran with a street art theme. This year, it’s all about the intersection of fashion with art.

It’s the latest fashion-inspired offering here in the Valley, where Phoenix Fashion Week took place at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale last October. Vision Gallery in Chandler recently exhibited styles from Arizona’s past, and Phoenix Art Museum’s current fashion exhibition includes collection highlights from the collection's last 50 years.

Even dance companies have embraced the fashion scene – with such shows as Scorpius Dance Theatre’s Catwalk and Halo Movement Collective’s Savage Beauty. Both presented runway-inspired choreography and fashion by local designers.

SMoCA Mix: Fashionably Avant-Garde features art, fashion, and performance – as well as gourmet bites and mixed libations. Festivities begin at 6 p.m., when Emmy Award-winning news anchor Carey Peña greets attendees on a celebrity-style red carpet. Being there will set you back $250 per ticket.

Naturally there’s a dress code for such a swanky affair. Think cocktail attire with an avant-garde twist (the evening's color palette includes black, gold, white, silver, and red). Sounds like a perfect place to rock those edgy but sophisticated accessories, too.

Throughout the evening, patrons will experience live performances and fashion shows featuring designs by Rocky Gathercole, Galina Mihaleva, and Fouad Sarkis.

Gathercole, a headliner for last fall’s Phoenix Fashion Week, is best-known for intricate designs popular with performing artists and red-carpet fashionistas. Sarkis creates red-carpet designs featuring luxurious fabrics, which are often worn by Hollywood celebrities.

Mihaleva, of Scottsdale-based Galina Couture, is renowned for coupling unconventional fabrics with traditional tailoring. During SMoCA Mix, she’ll be showing pieces created with new 3D-printed material.

In the museum’s SMoCA Lounge, a small gallery turned performance space where artist James Marshall (aka Dalek) painted brightly-colored geometrics in May of 2014, event-goers will find garments once worn by celebrities including Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, and Carrie Underwood.

The following day, Sunday, May 8, the museum is holding a free event called SMoCA Family Mix from noon to 3 p.m. – which features interactive activities, crafts, and the chance to see a fashion-forward balloon gown created by Balloon Art International. Kids can wear their funkiest outfits, then make stylish hand-made accessories at the museum.

But the fashion focus can’t last forever, because SMoCA has to reclaim its galleries from the idyllic land of red carpets to present two new exhibitions opening in May.

“Permanent Collection/Impermanent Museum,” which opens Saturday, May 14, explores the marks left by 17 years of previous exhibitions. It’s curated by Peter Bugg, who joined SMoCA as curator of programming just last year.

“Mel Roman: Coming Out Under Fire,” opening the following Saturday, May 21, includes sculptures, installations, and photographs by the late Mel Roman, who tackled U.S. government policy that discriminated against gay members of the military.

SMoCA Mix: Fashionably Avant-Garde takes place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Tickets are $250. For information or tickets, visit the SMoCA website.

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