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Art Meets Fashion

Self-expression takes many forms in visual art and personal style

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When the world of art progresses, fashion progresses with it, taking beautiful elements from the past and showcasing original ideas and combinations. Bright colors, striking poses and a few perfect high heels completed our looks at this year’s fall fashion photo shoot at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, where we let art and fashion meet to showcase bold trends.

The Fitton Center for Creative Arts offers a wide variety of opportunities for locals to engage with the arts. The studios allow attendees to throw a pot on a spinning wheel, create mosaics or paint a canvas. The Fitton Center performing arts programs bring high-caliber concerts, musicals and films to the intimate black-box theater space. The many galleries on the first and second floors of the building are consistently getting new and diverse exhibitions and are free and open to the public.

“Artists that get our attention are ones that show obvious skill and craftsmanship, but also communicate something in a new way,” says Cathy Mayhugh, Director of Exhibitions at the Fitton Center. “I think the strongest visual artwork makes us ask questions, causes a strong emotional reaction or triggers a personal story that we want to share with others.”

The “Sign of the Times” exhibit featuring three female artists is currently on display through October 4. One of the exhibit’s artists, Jeanette May, pushes boundaries with her photographs, inviting the viewer to think about the past and the present through the lens of technology. Every article of clothing and accessory in these looks offers insight into where fashion has been, with classic and vintage elements, as well as where it is going, including the use of new and surprising fabrics that create eye-catching new sensations.

Our model, Alison Shiver, is the residential sales and marketing manager and part of the fourth generation in her family’s business, Shiver Security Systems. In her personal life, she puts together a variety of looks, from bold, colorful evening wear to professional workwear. While she works extensively with her father, much of her fashion sense comes from experiences with her mother.

“A lot of my fashion stemmed from my Mom,” says Alison. “We’ve always been shoppers. I still, to this day, can go in her closet and find something I want to borrow.”

Artwork, Left: Photographs from “Tech Vanitas” by Jeanette May

The Look: Designer Items and More—Desigual jacket, Dolce and Gabbana dress, Stuart Weitzman heels, vintage earrings.

Artwork, Right: Donor Wall entitled “Everything You Can Imagine is Real” by Edward Casagrande

The Look: Designer Items and More—Michael Kors dress, Akris jacket, silver chain earrings, Michael Kors heels.

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Artwork: Sanaz Dezfoulian, artist based in Iran, painting from the “Among simple events” series. *This piece was turned sideways and enlarged for this photo shoot.

The Look: Designer Items and More—Open Ceremony & Magritte art dress, Escada jacket, Herve Leger boots, vintage earrings.

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Artwork: Photographs from “Tech Vanitas” by Jeanette May

The Look: Designer Items and More—Escada dress, black belt, Michael Kors heels, fringe earrings, vintage ring.

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Artwork:  Symmetry Boutique & Gallery—“Moonlit Sail” by Emma S Davis

The Look: Symmetry Boutique & Gallery—Simply Art by Dolcezza dress, Keith Lewis earrings, Manifest Design bracelet, Manifest Design ring. 

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Alison sees how fashion may start with a dress or suit, but as in visual art, the details are what makes a style your own.

“I love the accessories, from the shoes to the sunglasses to the handbags and jewelry,” says Alison. “It’s a bit of an addiction. A great pair of shoes can really make an outfit.”

The pieces in this fashion collection both juxtapose and mirror the art. One artwork, by Iranian-based artist Sanaz Dezfoulian, is a painting from the “Among simple events” series. It is part of the larger “Inner Fragments: Contemporary Iranian Women Artists” traveling exhibit; it was curated by Parisa Ghaderi and Mahsa Soroudi, and runs at the Fitton Center through October 4. By placing the Magritte art dress against the painting of abstract shapes and loose references to clothing, we are invited to see both pieces differently. 

“Art can challenge and amuse and entertain. We strive for an incredible balance,” says Ian Mackenzie-Thurley, Executive Director of the Fitton Center. “We invite the conversation that goes with the art. Sometimes you’ll love art and sometimes it will evoke lots of other emotions.”  

Starting conversations and turning heads is at the core of both fashion and visual art.

“I tend to go a bit bold, royal blue and pink are some of my favorites,” Alison explains. “I tend to have both a trendy and chic style as well as a bit vintage; I love the older designers.”

Pairing a love of fashion with the busy lives of working women can require some creative choices. Ultimately, part of what makes fashion so energizing is that it is a path toward self-expression, one that communicates just as well in the boardroom as it does downtown for a night out.

“Artistic expression used in daily life, like what we choose to wear or the way we create our home environments, is valuable in the sense that it is another way of communicating,” says Cathy. “It gives clues to our interests, personalities and moods. This visual language is universal and can bridge cultures, borders and even time.”

Artwork: “Baroque Trajectory” by Michael Poast

The Look: Interiors Plus—Hand-painted silk blouse, OMG jeans, wrap bracelet, rhinestone ring, chrome necklace and silver earrings. Designer Items and More—Jimmy Choo boots.


Felisa Insignares, owner of Designer Items and More; 7791 Cooper Road, Montgomery; 513.349.2080;

Helen Wright, owner of Interiors Plus; 6203 Snider Road, Mason; 513.777.7717;

Sherry Armstead, owner of Symmetry Boutique & Gallery; 1000 Symmes Road, Fairfield; 513.844.2787;


Hair by Brandi Moss of B. Moss Salon in The Lofts at Liberty Township, 513.256.0493

Makeup by Taylor Barnett of West Chester; traveling services offered, 513.804.4539


Fitton Center for the Creative Arts, 101 S. Monument Avenue, Hamilton; 513.863.8873;