When thinking of dress fabric, what comes to mind are materials like cotton, silk and wool. However, once a year dozens of Denver designers challenge this notion with the annual Art Directors Club of Denver Paper Fashion Show.
In its twelfth year, the country’s largest paper fashion show once again found its home in the Mile High. The event consists of students, designers, and artists who create an outfit from paper after a specific theme has been assigned to them. Proceeds from the show benefit ADCD’s scholarship fund and Downtown Aurora Visual Arts, which provides community-based arts education programs for at-risk youth ages 3 to 17.
Started in 2005, the Paper Fashion Show has become a Denver tradition the art community flocks to every year. Stepping into the mezzanine room at The Westin Hotel, the energy and excitement were apparent as over 40 design teams prepared for the big show. With 90 percent of the paper donated through Vertitiv, teams ranging from Northglenn High School, Metropolitan State University, Artistry Events and Design, and even the Denver Art Museum created incredible articles of clothing.
4 Trends From This Year’s ADCD Paper Fashion Show
1. This year’s designs drew inspiration from the mythic.
Designers Kate Oakley, Lauren Chestnut, and Victoria Chestnut madd a wolf headdress from Yupo paper for an empowered female viking look titled “Warrior of the Wild.” The second look, “Aphrodite” was crafted by Carlos Valles and modeled by Lisa Wright.
2. History also had a turn with inspiration from Marie Antoinette.
Neenah Stardream paper was used for “Under Pressure” by a design team made up of Michelle Booren, Anthony Lieser, Julia Lieser, Marie Lieser, Randy Lieser, Randie Lieser, Justin Booren, and Jessica Lieser.
3. Different cultures were represented.
“Samurai” was created by Derek Keenan from the Denver Art Museum with Smet paper. Sydnee Masias from Sydnee Masias Illustration & Paper Creations used Mohawk Carnival + Via paper for “Untitled”.
4. Nature served as a muse as well.
“The Ocean Stirs the Heart” was made by Brielle Killip, Jennifer Garber, and Cris Geissinger out of Mohawk Strathmore. Sea shells and a water-colored palette made this dress pop. The second look, “At the Bazaar” was designed by Arielle Bergman from Chaparral High’s Fashion Club.
1st Place- “The Huntress”
“Artemis Queen of the Hunt” was the grand winner of the night. Designers Kevlyn Walsh and Sarah Bouna made this mythical forest ode to the Artemis, the Greek Goddess of Hunting out of Neenah Stardream paper. Modeled by Sarah Bouma.
2nd Place- “Nascha”
Designer and model Katie O’Neil made a Navajo-inspired dress from Mohawk Carnival + Via paper with the help of Megan O’Neil, Hala Jarrar and Arleigh Woods.
3rd Place- “Dragon Warrior”
Designers Kristi Rogers, Miranda Podmore, Joel Diffendarfer, Shane Bryan, Gabriel D’Silva, and Casey Kikendall created this wonderfully macabre piece titled “Dragon Warrior” out of Neenah Sundance paper. Modeled by Miranda Podmore.
Star Student- Kayla Wolins: “Bipolar”
Designer Kayla Wolins said she found her inspiration for this dress from Bipolar Disorder. A mosaic of multiple colors and groupings of Mohawk Curious Collection Metallics paper to create a sense of different textures made up this design. Modeled by Diana Sapron.
Dava Favorite Student Entry: “Spring Kimono”
Designers Jacquelyn and Isabella Bartels wowed the judges with their Japanese-inspired “Spring Kimono” made with International Paper Hammermill. Modeled by Isabella Bartels.
Art Director’s Spirit Winner: “Diosa de Oro”
Karen Hofmeister used Legion Paper Corkskin to make this shining piece. Modeled by Kristi Gilman.
An enjoyable and unique experience, ADCD’s show is one event that you have to see for yourself. Be sure to grab some friends and purchase your tickets the next time the Paper Fashion Show struts through town.
All photography by Romeo Fernandez.
[Revised & Edited at 6:00 PM to include additional details]