Aspen Fashion Week (AFW) didn’t just start with a bang – it started with a Bentley. Of course it did. Just days after recovering from 303 Magazine’s own Denver Fashion Week(end), I found myself seated along another runway…this one at an even higher altitude.
The 4th Annual Aspen Fashion Week kicked-off on Sunday, March 11 with its presenting partner, Bentley Motors, orchestrating quite the entrance. Professional skier and BASE jumper Ted Davenport dropped from the sky straight onto the runway (well, almost) in a Bentley branded-parachute.
The ice rink in the heart of town was converted into the “Snowstage” where the week’s runway shows were presented après ski each day. “The Chateau” played host to the nighttime presentations at the super swank St. Regis Aspen. Of course it did. Again. Since its inception by founder Lisa Johnson in 2009, Aspen Fashion Week has transformed itself into the premier event for luxury skiwear and outerwear brands to debut their collections.
With M83 blaring and the well-heeled – I mean well-booted – crowd sipping on Milagro and Stoli cocktails in the sunshine, I immediately fell under Aspen’s contagious spell of laid-back luxury. Twenty labels, five boutique events and three late-night parties later, it was Wednesday and time to return to real life. After you check out the runway rundown below…I’m pretty sure you’ll have Aspen Fashion Week on your calendar for 2013 – in pen.
The bright sun brought out even brighter outerwear from the Vail-based winter sportswear line Skea. Neve Designs, also Colorado based, highlighted their performance apparel that mixes old school alpine charm. One of my new favorites, Pajar Canada, showcased puffy coats, furry hats, and lots of flannel. I’m loving their chunky snow boots, which are a solid upgrade from the Sorel’s that everyone and their mother are rockin’.
Both the vibe and looks transitioned as the sun went down and guests made their way to “The Chateau” at the St. Regis. The evening turned elegant with the CrOp by David Peck runway show. The Houston-based Peck created CrOp, which stands for “creative opportunities,” as a “clothing line with a conscience.” For every collection he creates, he chooses an inspirational nonprofit and donates 10% of its profits back to the cause. Ending the night were Marc Daniels’ and Ricky Hendry’s with their menswear line ISAORA. Slightly resembling ninjas, the masked models posed on platforms in bold streetwear designs that effortlessly blend urban edge with mountain casual.
Veteran brand, Roots Canada opened day two with their mountain town must-haves. I was seriously excited to see that their classic varsity jacket has officially made a comeback since my original from 8th grade sadly no longer fits. Meanwhile, Denver’s own hair genius Matthew Morris continued to work his magic backstage as the official stylist of AFW.
Recently wrapping the SIA Snow Show in Denver, the SnowSports Industry of America presented the Snow Collections runway show featuring brands including Dale of Norway, FERA, Helly Hansen, Killy, Krimson Klover, Obermeyerand SKEA. Ski industry legend, Aspenite and founder of the brand that bears his name, Klaus Obermeyer even took a walk down the runway.
The evening was all about mixing charity with chic at the “Fashion for a Cause” event at “The Chateau.” Lauren Bush Lauren, founder of The FEED Foundation, along with Krochet Kids International co-founders Kohl Crecelius and Stewart Ramsey, shared their visions philanthropy. Granddaughter of President George H. W. Bush, and wife of Ralph Lauren’s son, Lauren designed the FEED bag, each with a number on it, representing the number of children that its purchase will feed for one year. The FEED Foundation has served more than 60 million meals and raised $6 million since it’s launch in 2007.
Krochet Kids International was started in 2008 by three friends who happened to have a passion for crocheting and wanted to make a difference…go figure. Over 150 women in Uganda and Peru work for Krochet Kids who hand-knit each hat with a personalized tag sewn in. If you want to follow their mantra and “buy a hat, change a life” head to Unity on South Pearl Street – one of the only two retailers in Denver that carries Krochet Kids.
One of the most anticipated shows of AFW, KJUS turned “The Snowstage” into a party on the runway with their technical and sleek outerwear in bold brights and geometric prints. Authier, the iconic Italian skiwear line, presented its fun and flirty collection with male models sans shirts waiting in the wings. Authier is also one of the latest addition’s to J. Crew’s “In Good Company” section – with camouflage jackets, down vests, ski pants and vintage fair isle sweaters.
But perhaps they saved the best for last, when the over-the-top Finnish clothier, Duohtavuohta, closed AFW at “The Chateau.” This eco-conscious luxury brand uses only natural materials and all pieces are handmade from pure wool, arctic fur and reindeer leather. I was blown away by the intricate design work and indulgent use of fur. And although I don’t think I could ever pull off the “Eskimo Chic” look entirely, I am still lusting over everything I saw during their runway show (don’t tell PETA).
*ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF ASPEN FASHION WEEK/NICK TININENKO
Katie Shapiro is one of Denver’s (and now Aspen’s) resident gals about town. A “Jill” of all trades, she is a freelance writer, blogger, and PR guru. She likes skiing, drinking Manhattans, scarves, recycling, to-do lists, Gittel, and putting pins in the map. Check back often for the latest in travel, music, fashion, culture, and happenings.