Highlights from an amazing night judging Design Mix 2019 — a runway show featuring art, fashion and design — hosted by The International Interior Designer Association.

When someone invites you to judge a fashion event called “Peculiarium,” with a vintage circus theme, it definitely gets your attention. Step right up! Cue the ring master and feast your eyes on one of the coolest, most creative events I’ve seen in Miami in a long time. How’s that for an introduction?

Every year, the South Florida International Interior Design Association hosts Design Mix, an amazing runway competition. It’s a great concept that pairs design companies with textile sponsors; as a team, they collaborate to create a unique, show-stopping garment. The result? An explosion of originality and innovation on the runway.

Judging the event was not only awe-inspiring, it reignited my passion for fashion. Sometimes, I’m guilty of getting stuck in an artificial Instagram world, where the only mojo available is “How to Keep Up” rather than “How to discover what inspires.” At Design Mix…

They use tile, carpet, paint, drapery and other interesting textiles to create the fashion-forward, festive and even freakish — it was a circus theme, after all. The Scottish Rite Masonic Temple, in the Valley of Miami overlooking the river, was the backdrop for the stylish soiree, and it didn’t disappoint. The Egyptian-inspired architecture added a sense of mystique to the already magical “Peculiarium,” theme.

Before the runway show, there was a cocktail party where circus food like hot dogs, french fries, peanuts and popcorn were on the menu, not to be outdone by a photo booth, adult beverages and carnivalesque performers. The main event opened with clowns, jugglers and the always entertaining Athena Dion, who happens to be one of the most popular drag queens in South Florida. Talk about entertainment!

Once the runway show started, the crowd was electrified, cheering for its favorite model wearing its favorite creation. Each ensemble delivered way more than just a walk down the runway, it was more like a deliberate saunter. Music, background video and choreographed steps were part of each presentation. They pouted/twirled/clawed/grimaced/smiled/danced/lunged, pretty much OWNING their respective themes. It was totally orgasmic, fashionably speaking.

I’m not gonna lie, judging Design Mix was no easy task. I don’t want to sound clique, but seriously, everyone should have won for pushing the visual envelope. I’m sure my fellow judges (fashion TV host, Lucia Riano and fashion professor, Mario Braghierri) would agree. There were different winners for different categories, but for overall fabulousness we could only choose one. The winner was … drum roll please …

Edge of Architecture (EOA) was the design firm and TileBar, the sponsor — and yes — tile was one of the outfit’s main themes, not an easy textile to manipulate, mold and eventually master into fashion, but WOW, what an outcome.

Congrats to everyone who worked it like the rent was due or in this case, the mortgage and thank you for inspiring me to take risks and embrace my individuality, which is what fashion is ultimately about. Design Mix 2019 is officially one of my #FavoriteThings. See you next year! Wanna see the winning outfit and other entries? Visit www.ShireenSandoval.com.


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“Be faithful to your own taste, because nothing you really like is ever out of style.” — Billy Baldwin

James Woodley Photography
dress: Homer Avenue IG: @shophomeravenue www.shophomeravenue.com
earrings: @lexijewelry, clutch: @aldo, boots: @bcbg #LincolnRoad #SouthBeach
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Circus Boy” Auerbach

Special thanks to Susset Cabrera & Peacock Public Relations

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