When artists Erin King and Mary Allison Cates got their box of 400 condoms from Choices to use in designing a dress for Condomonium, they envisioned peacock feathers.
And so for three weeks, they set about flattening, spray-painting, hand-glittering, and bejeweling the prophylactics to create hundreds of "feathers" for an evening gown to be modeled at the third annual Condomonium event on Saturday at Playhouse on the Square. Theirs is one of 16 gowns and dresses created with condoms by local designers for the event.
- The third annual Condomonium
The event is a fund-raiser for Choices Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, and proceeds will support the center's reproductive health education program and patient assistance fund.
At the event, models display the condom dresses. Attendees are given five wrapped condoms when they arrive, and each condom counts as one vote. Each model has a bucket, and the attendees place condoms in the buckets for their favorite dresses.
Besides the main event fashion show, there will also be a burlesque show and a flashdance to Salt-N-Pepa's "Let's Talk About Sex." Artists will be selling condom jewelry and accessories — earrings, bracelets, bowties. And there's a "naughty bits bake sale" (think vagina cupcakes and boobie truffles).
"In Shelby County, the rates for STIs [sexually transmitted infections] and teen pregnancy are both very high. Condom use is one of the most-effective, most well-researched, and proven ways to address that," said Katy McLeod Leopard, director of community partnerships for Choices. "Not only is this a fund-raiser for Choices, it's also a great way to get people touching condoms and laughing at them. We want to normalize condoms and condom use."