Denver Creatives to Showcase at Paris Fashion Week this Month

This time of year, fashion weeks are prime focuses in the fashion industry. During these fall months, creatives are quickly making last-minute touches and edits to new collections and styles to present to audiences of thousands. This year, three talented and goal-driven Denver artists are scheduled to showcase at the international and majestic Paris Fashion Week. C.R. Lee, Encounter Hat Co and Denver hair artist, Cecelia Kirby, will team up to provide a breathtaking and unforgettable runway show. Scheduled to present on Sunday, September 29 at the Ritz Hotel, these creative artists are sure to provide a show for the ages.

C.R. Lee

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Photography by Madison McMullen.

303 Magazine: What should audiences expect from your Paris Fashion Week collection? 
C.R. Lee: Anytime I show in a new market I want to make sure the audience gets some classic 𝐂.𝐑.𝐋𝐄𝐄 mixed with a few new vibes. Highlighting where we have been while also showing where the brand is going.
 
303: What specific inspirations influenced the designs in this new collection?
CL: The power and strength of water and the creative journey.
 
303: As a major designer in Denver and the states as a whole, how does it feel to now be labeled as an international fashion designer?
CL: Thank you for the compliment. Well, I try not to get too caught up in titles and such, but it’s definitely really dope to see my dream manifest and all the hard work really starting to paying off.
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303: Can you explain how the process of working with two additional Denver creatives, Encounter Hat Co. and hair artist, Cecelia Kirby, for Paris Fashion Week has been?
CL: Funny story, I didn’t even know Cecelia until after I signed on to do the show. Small world right! Really looking forward to working with her and her team. I tell people all of the time Denver has some real talent and that’s why I also make it a focus to link up with other Denver brands and creatives like @24inthemix — who is the official shoe sponsor for the show — when it makes sense and that’s how the Encounter Co partnership happened. Their hats are beautiful and right on brand with the 𝐂.𝐑.𝐋𝐄𝐄 agenda to introduce Denver talent and businesses to other markets whenever I can. Plus Parker and Kyle are great and I am really excited to see where their brand goes in the future.
 
303: You recently started producing hand-made kimonos. What inspired the production of that specific design?
 
CL: My really good friend and the first official 𝐂.𝐑.𝐋𝐄𝐄 makeup artist, Natalie Tatum, asked me to make a couple for her for a trip to Turks and Caicos. She encouraged me to start offering them so I shared one on my Instagram and the DM orders came rolling in and have kept me busy all summer. They were a perfect fit for the brand. They are easy to wear, they are anything but basic and super fun to create. Win-win!
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303: Following Paris Fashion Week, where can consumers purchase your from-the-runway pieces?
 
CL: The new collection will be available on the website. I just might do something I’ve never done before and release the collection a few days before the show and give first access to my current clients and past customers as a little perk and the full collection will be available the same day right after the show.  Stay tuned to the C.R. Lee Instagram for release date and updates.
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C.R. Lee photography by Madison McMullen

Cecelia Kirby

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Photography by MJ Kampe.

303: Can you please tell us how you got involved in Paris Fashion Week?

Cecelia Kirby: I started my fashion journey with Charlie Price of Beauty Underground. I participated with the team at New York Fashion Week. From there, I continued down the 303 Fashion Week path, volunteering and participating at shows. My work online was noticed by Fashion Week Studios via Instagram. They reached out wanting to have me for an upcoming show in Paris. As we got discussing ideas and came closer to the date, I was offered the hair lead position. The first show was a success and I have been working with them ever since. Traveling to Paris twice a year managing the hair team.

303: What should audiences expect to see with your hairstyling during Paris Fashion Week and is there a specific hair trend you are gravitating toward?

CK: The final looks have not been chosen. I can say sleek styles and hair accessories are on the final sheet of selections. Before submitting potential looks to the designers, I put together styles based on the cut, texture and mood of garments. We are adding to the vision of the designers’ showcase. I use Pinterest as a tool to organize outlines for the hair looks.

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303: Can you describe your process when deciding on what specific hairstyle(s) to showcase for the runway?

CK: We want the style to be elegant, flattering and simple. My job is to enhance the design with the hair, not overshadow the wardrobe. For the Avant-Garde showcase, we are allowed a little more creative license. This is where we bring it up a notch.

I create an image board of looks for each showcase, when a look is selected, I deliver a very specific outline for the stylists on the hair team — all looks must be streamlined. It can be difficult with different artists, 30 [or more] models per show, different hair textures and the short amount of time. For me, pulling it all together is the fun of the whole process.

303: Are runway hairstyles different than editorial or street style hairstyles? If so, how?

CK: Yes! The hairstyles selected for the runway are chosen to sell the designs to the buyers. The hair is not the centerpiece. For editorial hair, you are wanting to focus on interest, texture, movement and shape. Color is important, but many times to get a photo to really stand out, you are wanting the hair to grab the interest of the viewer. Detail, precision and skill.

303: With the fall season only a couple of months away, what hair trend are you most excited about and what trend are you tired of seeing?  

CK: Long and sleek is what I’m excited to see. Glossy straight hair is back, as are simple top knots with oversized hair clips. I look forward to seeing what I can do with this behind the chair.

It’s hard to say what I am sick of seeing. A style is just a style until you put it to the right person. You can have an old outdated look, but it is exactly what brings someone else to life. It’s about shape, balance and adding your own unique modern twist.

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303: As a prominent hair creative in the Denver area, what advice do you have for upcoming hair artists looking to get involved in your field? 

CK: For fashion and runway, new stylists should get out from behind the chair. Collaborate! Build your community, as it is everything in this industry. Denver Fashion Week is such a great opportunity for stylists to get valuable experience, content and it opens doors to the runway world. Also, it is okay to kindly say “no” if a collaboration does not match what you are trying to build. And make sure you credit all involved. It shows professionalism and appreciation but can also ruin connections you’ve made. With posting work online you want to credit all artists involved.  This is a business of relationships. Every head you touch, every person you work with is part of your community. Grow consciously and gratefully.

My other piece of advice for this industry is to find your “why.” There is a reason you have chosen this profession. We each have our own unique. Be mindful of your intention when selecting a salon to work for, or gig to take on. If you are driven and want to get closer to your ultimate goal, ask yourself “How would taking this on, help me in getting closer to where I want to be?”

As paths shift and change this can help guide you in the right direction. Having a good mentor can also prove to be important. I’ve had my Juno — Jules Juno — from day one and she is my rock.

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Cecelia Kirby photography by MJ Kampe

Encounter Hat Co

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Photography by Lauren Magin.

303: Encounter Hat Co is known for custom, stylish and timeless hats. Can you tell us what types of designs audiences at Paris Fashion Week should expect to see?
Encounter Hat Co: We will be creating hats that match the upscale modern creations C.R. Lee will be showcasing. Our hats will have sharp lines and beautiful silhouettes to ultimately introduce a new age style that will be something a little different than the Paris fashion scene is accustomed to.
 
303: With an overwhelming amount of creative energy around us in Denver and across the world, can you tell us a few specific things that inspire Encounter’s hat designs? 
EHC: Our designs are inspired by the mix of modern urban fashion with a new age of western quality hats. We are making it possible to wear quality, classy hats that improve someones look while allowing them to be the most creative they desire with their look.
 
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303: Can you explain how the process of working on a runway show might differ from an editorial or commercial photo shoot?
EHC: The main difference is the excitement and preparation leading up to the show. There are so many moving pieces, so many people working together to create something special, that it becomes a performance and ignites the butterflies inside which is the ultimate reward for all the work put in.

303: Going to Paris, you will have an idea of the model’s head sizes, but what happens if a hat doesn’t perfectly fit a model? How do you improvise in this type of situation? 

EHC: There are a few techniques that will make hats better fit the models individually, but we are only going to be able to bring so many hats. The beauty about having a show of this size is that we are provided a wide range of models with what seems like an unlimited lineup so we will sometimes have to just get new models with heads that fit the hats and outfits if necessary.
 
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303: Collaborating with Denver designer, C.R. Lee, and Denver hair creative, Cecelia Kirby, has to be an incredible and invigorating experience. How did the collaboration between you three evolve?
EHC: We connected initially through social media and mutual friends. Once we discussed ideas for the show, it was clear that we would be a great fit for each other personality and style-wise. We realize that we are the lucky ones to be able to work with them and could not be more excited.

303: In one word, can you define what fashion means to you?

EHC: Expression.
303: What should Encounter Hat fans expect next from you? 
EHC: We are currently building out The Encounter Headquarters which will be located in Denver and looking to open later this fall.
Denver fashion, Denver style, Denver fashion week, Denver designer, Denver hair artist, Denver fashion designer, 303 Magazine, 303 Magazine fashion, Cheyenne Dickerson, MJ Kampe, Lauren Magin , Encounter Hat Company
Encounter Hat Co photography by Lauren Magin
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