BAR HARBOR — The good news is that Bar Harbor’s “Fashion Night Out” has more than tripled in size. This post-Labor Day event when business owners (and some of their customers) dress to the nines and invite folks to enjoy refreshments and special offerings at their shops and restaurants, grew from just ten participating businesses in its inaugural year to more than 30, last Friday night.
The bad news is that only an Olympic sprinter could have taken advantage of all the fun things to see and do and buy.
Still, it was a great night out, and a wonderful excuse to check out Bar Harbor.
The new Artemis Gallery on Albert Meadow turned out to be a visual treat with some of the finest Maine artists represented on the walls, including Rebekah Raye, Holly Meade, Robert Pollien and Nancy McCormick. It also was great to see that co-owners Chris and Cody Van Heerden, who lost their lovely Moss Gallery to that tragic Main Street fire in Northeast Harbor, have rebounded in such fine style. Along with co-owner Deidre Swords, they have created a handsome venue for their artists.
At the gallery was Ellen Dohmen, who continues to rein as one of, if not the, most stylish woman in Bar Harbor. She was appropriately attired in a royal blue cashmere top and shawl over a black pencil skirt with lapis jewelry and fabulous Calvin Klein peep-toe heels, which she swears she got for a song.
The second stop was an old favorite, Sage Grass Gallery and boutique, in its new Main Street location. Along with its exquisite collections of international blown glass works, jewelry, fashions, home décor and sundry items, owner Susan Stanley invited weaver Rose Sainemberg to demonstrate how she creates her beautiful and versatile silk shawls. The “poncho” style shawls are made with a variety of silks and wools (some with sparkles!) and a variety of patterns, which instantly transform a plain dress or blouse into a unique and fetching fashion statement.
At “A Little Mad” in Bayside Landing, I found a collection of to-die-for Harvey handbags made from seatbelts – really! I also found my favorite Fashion Night family – store proprietors Jolene and Patrick Fogarty, and their adorably bow-tied son, Jeffrey.
Macey’s was well worth the walk up Main to check out the fall fashions here and to meet eleven-year-old Genevieve Archer of Pittsburgh, who apparently had persuaded her parents to take her on the town that night. She was wearing a pretty paisley scarf a shop girl at The Emporium had shown her how to knot in a special manner.
The most thrilling interlude of the evening was the stretch of participating shops on Mount Desert Street.
At the Argosy Gallery, Charles and Amy Sidman (dressed in vintage art deco) were giving foxtrot lessons to all comers. Right next door, the Eclipse Gallery of glass art beckoned with its array of brilliant colors and shapes. A few doors beyond that, murder most foul was being committed at Spruce & Gussy with some talented young actors performing excerpts from “Macbeth” complete with bloodied hands and mind-addling guilt.
Across the room was Karen Zimmerman looking as dramatic as the proceedings in her black full-skirted dress, black gloves, patent leather boots and black net stockings. Gail Caruso looked stunning and svelte in a Local Color bamboo fabric cocktail dress and lemon yellow linen jacket. Hmm, maybe Northeast Harbor needs to have its own Fashion Night out?
Moving on to the D’Alessio gallery – which, by-the-by, had the best dressed refreshments in the form of stunning cupcakes with decoration matching Russel D’Alessio’s brilliant art on the walls. Here, folks were invited to walk a red carpet and, if they liked, take a ride in one of the two horse-drawn carriages hired for the evening.
Finally, there was a sock hop theme going on at the Lazy Lobster, with vintage fifties music on the jukebox and where proprietor Laurie Smallidge and her crew were adorably outfitted like fifties soda jerks.
Many well-dressed folks were seen around town including Susanne Hathaway and Dan Hurley, Dorrie LaBianca and Susan Kelley, Tammy Thomas and Andi Peppler.
For an Ohio couple, Marlon and Donna Charles, at Sea of Cotton on Cottage Street, Fashion Night in Bar Harbor added an extra sparkle of romance to their fifth wedding anniversary, which they were spending in Bar Harbor because that is where Charles proposed to Donna and she said “yes.”
Well, the whole evening was a “yes,” making the town a fun place to visit after Labor Day and bringing back, for one enchanting evening, a little of the glamour of Old Bar Harbor.
For more arts & entertainment news, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.