Denver Fashion Weekend (DFW) kicked off its fall season last night in RiNo at the Exdo Event Center. The lineup was stacked with local designers and boutiques, as well as a special presentation by John Paul Ataker from New York City.

The night began with Denver’s Jesse Mathes. She set the bar high for the rest of the weekend with her intricate metalwork that elaborately encased her models with rods of aluminum, copper and brass. Instead of evoking a sense of entrapment, the designs imbued them with power and strength. Many of her pieces came from her “Territorial Defense” collection which is inspired by aggressive interactions with men and the need for personal boundaries. According to Mathes, her collection was influenced by Queen Elizabeth I of England, whose “gowns and jewelry enlarged her presence physically and asserted her dominance over her subjects — including the many men who wished to usurp her power.”

Next up, Royal Outerwear maintained the strong attitude of Mathes work but took it to a street level. The local designer, whose shop is just blocks away from the event, used a neutral palette mixed with eclectic patterns to give us an urban luxe line. Nuorikko then softened the scene with custom wedding gowns. The local shop utilized non-traditional bridal silhouettes, capes and separates for sophisticated yet modern looks. Velvet Wolf, a Denver boutique, took a similar route as Royal Outwear and featured more casual apparel that came with a bite: Leather, fur and denim mirrored popular trends in modern streetwear with an undertone of punk.

Last, but not least, was John Paul Ataker. A family-ran NYC/Istanbul design house, the line featured impeccably tailored gowns and separates. Similar to Mathes, it also channeled medieval England. But instead of metalwork, Ataker used high necklines and thick textiles to give the models a chaste yet intimidating power. Many of the looks drew from Catholicism, which makes the Fall/Winter 2017 line incredibly timely with the recent announcement of the Met Gala theme.

Two more nights of incredible fashion remain. Don’t miss out on the most popular shows on Saturday and Sunday, both of which feature concepts completely new to DFW. For Saturday, Denver’s premiere high-end boutique, Garbarini, will showcase fresh international designs from all corners of the earth, including a strong presence from NYC. Then on Sunday, the legendary hair show returns. But this time, our top salons are teaming up with our favorite Denver designers to put on a truly avant-garde show. Don’t miss the spectacle and get your tickets before they sell out.

Get your tickets to DFW Fall ’17 here.

Make sure to check back with 303Magazine.com for more photos from opening night and the rest of the weekend. 

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