In 1932, when the Citrus Fiesta held its first PRODUCT COSTUME STYLE SHOW, Mission’s beauties slipped into outfits that were, shall we say, crude—just imagine the look, and smell, of models decked out in cabbage leaves. But technology and ambition over the years have led to a more sophisticated couture: Today’s fruit fashionistas, who strut the runway fully clad in some form of Valley produce (the show requires head-to-toe coverage), have created such elaborate costumes as a Princess Diana dress and a Highlander’s outfit, complete with bagpipe. How to productively suit up? We learned the art of organic design from Anne Whitfield, co-chair of the show. KATY VINE
The Art of Organic Design
Cover grapefruit seeds with pulverized onion skin to make gorgeous pearls, or create gems with hardened orange-infused gelatin.
Carefully remove and dry the membrane of a citrus peel for a stunning lace collar.
Accessorize with seeds, dried flowers, or wood-carved belt buckles. “Dried lemon or lime slices make for great buttons,” notes Whitfield.
“One hundred percent coverage includes nail polish,” Whitfield says. “Cover your nails with rubber cement and citrus product. We insist, and we check!”
To color your outfit, select and dry items of the garden variety: “Yellow is citrus, green is leaves, pinks and purples are cabbage or bougainvillea,” says Whitfield. Grind these into a powder with a food processor (warning: this may be its death), then rubber-cement the color onto your cotton or flannel base. “Two coats!” advises Whitfield.
See Elsewhere: Other Events for details and directions to Mission’s Texas Citrus Fiesta.