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Fashion in spotlight at Water Street Studios fundraiser

Model Monica Sanborn walks the catwalk wearing a Sandra Leonard creation at Water Street Studios in Batavia on Saturday.
Model Monica Sanborn walks the catwalk wearing a Sandra Leonard creation at Water Street Studios in Batavia on Saturday.

BATAVIA - Sharon Sychta of Batavia knew she wanted to make a bold statement with her fabric and metal dress, which featured a six-foot diameter bottom hoop.

"I wanted it to fill the runway," she said.

The dress was just one of the cutting edge fashions on display at Water Street Studios Saturday night as part of its second annual On-som-bel fundraiser. This year's theme was "The Chair and What You Wear."

Fittingly, the dress that Sychta designed featured a metal cage and chair inside.

"I wanted to create beauty and comfort and intrigue and mystery," Sychta said.

Sychta was one of the original board members of the nonprofit Water Street Studios, which is marking its fifth anniversary this year.

"It's good to be part of all of this," Sychta said.

Modeling the dress was her daughter, Claire Sychta, 17, a senior at Batavia High School.

"It was fun to wear," she said. "I'm really proud of my mom."

Claire Sychta herself designed a dress made out of coffee filters that took second place at Batavia High School's Rock the Runway event in May. The dress will be part of the Student Legacy Project at the Art In Your Eye fine art show and festival in Batavia on Sept. 21 and 22.

Sarah Pomaro, of Geneva, modeled "electric chair" leather cuffs and collar with metal chains. She became involved in the show at the last minute.

"I am good friends with one of the organizers," she said. "They were short a model. They needed someone who could walk down the runway and look confident."

She was happy to help out. She also helped with last year's event.

"I want to support them," Pomaro said. "Water Street Studios is doing something special. They do a lot of outreach."

One of the outfits that Sandra Leonard of Chicago designed featured a hand painte purple and white "flower" top with a textured skirt and head wrap scarf.

"I call it sculptural clothing," she said. "I like to paint my own fabrics."

An auction at the event raised about $8,000 for Water Street Studios.

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