Neighborly Fashion
Photos by Steve Satterwhite. Bottom photo by Steve

Neighborly Fashion

Now 24/7

Dazzling designer duds debut on Biscayne Boulevard

Part high-fashion atelier, part curiosity shop, part funkadelic boudoir, FG Presents, designer Fernando Garcia's store on Biscayne Boulevard, naturally attracts the residents of the surrounding schizophrenic neighborhood. Among the current fans of his sexy evening wear and thrift-shop couture for women and men, Garcia notes "cool, trendy kids, young professionals, and hot-looking older women." A hooker recently came in for the pair of gold ankle boots she saw in the window.

A frequent stylist for photo and film shoots and clothier to long-time clients like Gloria Estefan, Garcia is a deft DJ of fashion, mixing old and new to create something fun and always impeccably tailored. "My clothes are done very couture even if it's polyester," says the impish man with the convivial, conspiratorial manner. In addition to silk dresses, some made from vintage saris, and body-hugging jersey separates, he updates thrift-shop finds, turning a pair of Lilly Pulitzer stretch pants into tight lowriders. His men's line features resuscitated velour and Banlon shirts, silk cargo pants, and restyled batik Dashiki-style shirts.

Garcia, reputed for his party dresses and "alternative" bridal wear, first opened on Lincoln Road in 1984, and as South Beach emerged from its Scarface era, he became an arbiter of its new trend-setting style. He later moved to Washington Avenue, but retreated as mall culture crept over the Beach. "Think about it: A bunch of CEOs are deciding what you're going to wear!" scoffs the designer.

He's found Biscayne Boulevard perfect for the pistol-print skirts, Seventies T-shirts, strapless silk dresses, local artwork, and unique accessories by international young designers he stocks. And he's optimistic about the city's fashion future. "In Miami, people don't show themselves through their clothes; they show themselves through their cars," says Garcia. "The locals have been dressing safe for a long time, but now I think they're looking for a quality of life that's more fun." -- BY JUDY CANTOR

FG Presents is located at 7120 Biscayne Blvd. Hours are Monday through Saturday, by appointment preferred. Please call 305-756-9113 or e-mail

Now 24/7

Tunnel Vision

It's amazing what two feet, nine inches of concrete can do. In the case of the eastbound median wall on highway 836, it actually makes Miami International Airport disappear. With the $2.6 million construction project wrapping up this month, clever engineers have found that piling 33 impermeable inches atop the existing barrier keeps us "attention deficit" drivers focused. No longer can we race 747s in our Honda Civics while yapping on cell phones. No more rubbernecking accidents that occur on the opposite side. The new barrier impedes our imaginations with a perpetual concrete mantra that says "keep moving." Precisely, says the Miami Expressway Authority. The point is to improve traffic flow in the 2.5 miles of clogged asphalt. America's fast-moving lifestyle needs blinders, it seems. Good fences make good neighbors, poet Robert Frost wrote. Higher barriers are part of a nationwide transit movement that not only stops rolling SUVs from bouncing onto oncoming traffic, but keeps minds trained ... on driving. -- Juan Carlos Rodriguez

Sat 5/3

No More Couch Potatoes

Agency hooks up volunteers

If you know about Hands On Miami, you no longer have an excuse for not donating your time to a worthwhile cause. The agency is South Florida's largest nonprofit volunteer organization, coordinating more than 80 monthly projects throughout Miami-Dade County to be involved in. From environmental cleanups or delivering food and gifts to AIDS patients to reading bedtime stories to homeless kids at shelters, HOM can connect you to volunteer work that is meaningful and fun. Check out their regular volunteer orientations, where nice folk can sign up to do good deeds in their community. Orientations take place at 10:00 a.m. at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach, and 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, at Borders Books and Music, 3390 Mary St., Coconut Grove. Call 305-646-7200. --BY JUDY CANTOR

Thur 5/1

Move It Light rail wail

Already we can hear the derogatory nickname reverberating through the air: BayStink. Just like its mainland counterpart, MetroFail. The proposal to create a light rail system shuttling people from Miami to Miami Beach and vice versa sits mired in controversy. Miami muck-a-mucks love the idea (sure, they can leave the precious cars at home, save on gas, and forget all those parking hassles). Many Beach bigwigs aren't as amenable. More people, more pollution, more noise, more smelly clubgoers relieving themselves on their manicured lawns after a long night out. Their darling little island overrun by riffraff. Oh, make it stop, please! Even if you spend most of the year in Canada, make your opinion -- whatever it may be -- known from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. when the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects offers the AIA Miami BayLink Community Forum at the Miami Beach Woman's Club (2410 Pine Tree Dr., Miami Beach). On the panel: Miami Beach Commissioner Simon Cruz, AIA president Bernard Zyscovich, and Miami Beach Community Development Corporation community development coordinator Randall Robinson. Admission is free. Call 305-448-7488. -- Nina Korman


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