Gender bending fashion at the Utica Queen opening

The Rochester Art Center hosted the opening reception for the Utica Queen exhibit on December 4. Attendees received the following message about dress code: “In the spirit of the exhibition, gender- nonconforming attire is encouraged. Feel free to be YOU, honey!” And Rochester rose to the occasion.

Desiree Sweet and friend Benji Miller suited up.
Sweet says, “I really wanted to honor the spirit of the event. I decided a dress was out, but still wanted something I thought would be striking. A woman in a tux is not something I have seen often, but I feel it makes a powerful statement.”


Brian Dukerschein, Rochester Art Center board member and co-curator of the exhibit, wore a Maison Margiela jacket and jabot, Burberry Prorsum brooch, Bode shirt and Alexander McQueen jeans and loafers. He says the ensemble was inspired by such queer British luminaries as Stephen Tennant, Quentin Crisp, Luke Edward Hall and Oscar Wilde—with a nod to the fctional character Sebastian Flyte from “Brideshead Revisited.”

Amarama Vercnocke wears a look by fashion artist and Minnesota native, Samantha Crossland of Samantha Rei. The coat is from her 2013 collection called “Party Monster.” Vercnocke says, “I love that it is a style infuenced by 90’s club kid culture, and to this day it reminds me of when my fellow LGBTQAI+ friends would head out to the drag shows and dance clubs. Rei makes custom clothes for all body types, all gender expressions and sizes. When I put her clothes on I feel comfortable with a touch of rebellious unbridled beauty and joy!”

Sarah Miller is pictured with Audrey Hunt. They wanted to sparkle for an evening of fne art, inclusiveness and joy as they celebrated Utica’s big nigh




Phallyni Korng and Brooke Burch are both wearing pieces from Vintage Rack. Korng’s is an oversized white blouse. She enjoys structural, unique garments. Brooke is wearing a handmade, printed, cotton robe that she altered into a high-low style dress with pockets. Brooke says, “I was looking to try something new, while
being comfortable and hip at the same time. We wanted to stand out and put together liberating looks for this huge fashion event. What a wonderful reception!”

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