Denver Fashion Weekend (DFW) has wrapped for another season. If you attended each night of Spring ’17, it’s likely you’re as exhausted as we are. With three nights, thousands of attendees, hundreds of models and sold out shows — it’s easy to feel like all of it happened in a single instant. That’s why we wanted to go back and take a look at the best moments from this season so we can remember what made this whirlwind so incredible.
Now in its ninth year, DFW decided to go back to its roots and returned to EXDO Event Center in RiNo. The neighborhood has changed quite a bit since we first started almost a decade ago. In most cases, the hot new restaurants, chic boutiques and hip workout studios in the area didn’t exist. And the thought of not find a parking space? It barely crossed our minds. But despite the struggle to find real estate for our rides, coming back to RiNo during its heyday made it even more special.
It seems the change of scenery may have been for the best. This spring was our most attended season yet, with almost twice the attendees from last year. Curious to see what you missed? Continue on to get a break down on what happened each night. And if you want to know who won the 303 Awards, presented during DFW, go here.
Night One has always been our day to show off something new. Whether it’s our non-traditional model night like last year or the introduction of a designer, you can expect to find something fresh at night one. Duane Topping, one of the presenting designers, definitely fits the bill in terms of bringing a new perspective. A former military veteran, Topping does not scream “fashion designer” on first impression. Donning a leather biker vest and an untamed beard, the burly man could easily be mistaken for a lost husband. But after presenting his ultra-feminine collection, consisting of clean lines and pretty pastels, Topping walked out on the runway sporting a “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” shirt. The message paired with the beaming grin on his face made it unmistakable — this was his night.
In general, the men dominated night one. Jeremy Willard came out strong with his men’s line of acid wash and animal print denim outfits that were effortlessly pulled off by his male models. Their swagger matched with the ultra cool vibes of Willard’s designs made one think, looking cool in an acid wash jumpsuit would be easy. And while that’s not true for the majority of us, designers like Marget Sanzo also gave us a ready-to-wear collection of floral separates and dresses that most women would want in their closets.
For the finale, we saved the main attraction for last. Madeline Stuart, the world’s first professional model with Down Syndrome, headlined the event with her collection 21 Reasons Why. Stuart, who has walked at fashion week’s all over the world, choose Denver to be one of the very first cities to see her debut collection. Witnessing her transition from model to designer was not only inspirational but empowering. Stuart strutted her stuff in her athleisure line and hit her marks with precision each and every time. Despite any potential misconceptions, she quickly proved she was a true pro. Alongside her, she brought models of diverse backgrounds including a model who wore a prosthetic leg. She, like Stuart, walked with such ease that many attendees didn’t even notice she was missing a limb. By the end of it, Stuart’s show brought everyone to their feet. Their resounding applause closed out a successful Night One on a high note.
Go here to see the full gallery of Night One.
Hosted on a Saturday night, Night Two is often our most attended show. This year was no exception. It was a completely sold out event. Attendees filled every nook and cranny of Saturday’s runway in order to catch a glimpse of spectacle that was about to occur.
With expectations running high, the lineup of designers was tailored for a strong show. Many of DFW’s veteran designers were on the docket including Maggie Burns, who also won the title for 303 Award’s Best Local Designer. Presenting her signature custom wedding gowns, the collection showcased everything you’d expect from a bridal line. Tulle, silk and lace, all in shades of white graced the runway for an elegant showing.
The glamor continued with two more DFW veterans, Gino Velardi and Rachel Marie Hurst. Earlier this season Velardi vowed he’d return to his roots with “drop-dead gowns.” The Colorado native did just that by presenting slinky vintage dresses that glittered with sequins. Stuart played his muse and came out in a bright red gown to compliment the fiery hues of her hair. Hurst followed suit with a chic line that used neutral tones and on-trend ruffled bell sleeves to thread together a cohesive collection.
Aside from the glamor of the veteran designers, the other trend on the runway looked towards the future. Frances Roces, Kotomi Yoshida and Nicholas Anthony all sewed a story that depicted their vision of tomorrow’s clothes. Both Roces and Yoshida drew from the east with Japanese influences whereas Anthony went intergalactic with structured suits and high priestess gowns.
After the spectacular showings, Night Two wrapped right before midnight — leaving just enough time for the team to prep for the third and final show.
For anyone unaware, Night Three of Denver Fashion Weekend is by far the most unique show of the bunch. The legendary Hair Show is what originally started Denver Fashion Weekend more than 10 years ago and we’ve kept the tradition ever since. Last season we celebrated its 10th anniversary with a huge lineup of more than 20 salons. The anniversary was a hit and for this season we decided to keep the format. For spring, 19 salons were present. Each one, armed with a team of stylists, crafted a handful of looks. The result was a non-stop presentation of unbridled artistry.
One thing that is never constrained at DFW is the concept of gravity. Stylists at The Look salon drew from the heavens for their unique hairpieces. Our favorite, the Scorpio design, curved a braid that poised right above the models head as if it was about to strike. The Grand Salon went even further in a test of physics by employing ballet dancers to leap and prance along the runway for a show that could only be described as “en pointe.” For the finale, Beto’s salon also felt the need to challenge Newton with massive hairpieces and beautiful white gowns that were almost as tall as the models who wore them. The very last look of the night came in close to 10 feet tall. The massive headpiece was made of white feathers and worn by a model enveloped in a cloud of tulle. The show-stopping design was flanked by a sea of screens that captured final seconds of the show. Even within the crowd, you could see snapshots flooding their phones. It was as if all the attendees were getting armed and ready so that the next day they could say — see, look what you missed!
Don’t be on the wrong end of the screen next season and make sure to check back to 303Magazine.com/DFW for dates of our upcoming fall show.