Scuba Fashion Week Comes to Blacktip Island

Designer wetsuits hang ready for Blacktip Island’s Underwater Fashion Week.

Designer wetsuits hang ready for Blacktip Island’s Underwater Fashion Week.

Underwater Fashion Week returns to Blacktip Island this weekend, with top local and international fashion designers showcasing their latest collections.

Underwater runway models have been chosen from local dive staffs following last year’s near-drownings.

“Blacktip has always been at the cutting edge of Caribbean dive fashion,” event organizer Georgio Pompano said. “This year’s designers have pushed that edge to put us at the absolute fringe of the submerged fashion map.”

“‘Retro, sassy and fun’ is the touchstone this season,” said local designer Kitty Smarr. “Your grandpa’s black is the new black. It contrasts phenomenally with our models’ sun-bleached hair”

“We’ve done some daring things with board shorts,” local designer and Sand Spit bartender Corry Anders said. “We’re using mole fur and alligator skin to enhance the sensory experience before, during and after the dive. And all our shorts are edible, of course.”

As ever, the wetsuit is at the heart of Blacktip’s sub-aquatic haute couture.

“We’ve re-imagined warmth protection to transform cliché into major pizzazz,” Pompano said. “Our suits are not your quotidian, urine-soaked farmer john-and-jackets.”

“Beaver tails are back, with a mid-60s retro vengeance,” Anders said. “And French-cut women’s shorties. It gives divers a definite ‘Dr. No’ vibe.

“Throwback dive knives are hip, too. We’ve taken the Sea Hunt-standard dive machete and updated it with a faux black coral handle, sheath and matching sunglasses.”

“The showstopper is our Chanel-inspired mid-thigh hooded vest with a chinchilla fur-rimmed hood and duct tape accents,” Pompano said. “When is a hooded vest not a hooded vest? When it expands into a hoodie-mini! Hello!”

“Makeup is the biggest challenge,” Kitty Smarr said. “All our divemaster models have brown noses and white eye sockets. We have to mask that. And the makeup has to hold up under water.

“This year we’re mixing all our bases and mascaras with a neutral-tinted axle grease to make sure they stay on during the grueling runway presentation and any backstage scuffles that may break out.”

The runway finale will be podcast live to Sand Spit bar during next Friday’s happy hour. Free hors d’oeuvres will be served.

“We’ll have all-you-can-eat popcorn and cocktail weenies,” Anders said. “Plus the full cash bar menu, of course.”

A second television will feature the first round of the NBA playoffs.

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