The Denver Fashion Week (DFW) finale — the Denver Originals Designers Fashion Show —promotes talent and creativity from designers based in the Mile High City. Through years of hard work, patience and continued commitment, these creatives proved their determination, endurance and love for fashion. 303 Magazine took a behind-the-scenes look at some of these Denver Originals featuring MENEZ, Gino Velardi and Nicholas Anthony Clothing, revealing elegant patterns, unique design techniques and inspiring blueprints.
303 Magazine: What should audiences expect to see from your Denver Fashion Week collection?
MENEZ: This season the MENEZ “Belisama Collection” will be showcasing an encrusted elegant approach with our traditional MENEZ edge.
303: Is there a certain theme you want to convey during your runway show?
M: Our theme for this collection is “Belisama” which means “brightest one.”
303: Can you describe how you, as brothers, founded the MENEZ luxury clothing brand?
M: We have always been passionate about fashion design. We started by making ourselves pieces from jewelry to clothing. Later people requested to make them pieces we had made for ourselves. We then decided to release MENEZ.
303: Have you two always been interested and involved with fashion?
M: Since an early age we were interested in what my mother and grandmother would create in their atelier. The design process really fascinated us and they would ask for our input in their designs. We were always excited to create.
303: What is one word that describes the MENEZ brand?
303: In addition to clothing, you design accessories. Can you describe how that incorporation of jewelry and handbags was introduced to the brand?
M: Our very first collection, which started the brand, was jewelry. We then decided to create clothing and handbags in addition to our jewelry.
303: Most of your designs include neutral colors with pops of gold detail. Will this runway collection be similar to that or differ in color?
M: This collection has a neutral palette with a jeweled approach. Definitely showcasing nature’s brilliance with our flower silhouette cuts.
303: In addition to designing, you have to provide hair and makeup inspiration for the show as well. Where do you find inspiration for that and what beauty looks can audiences expect?
M: We are very inspired by looks from the 1920’s with a mix of MENEZ DNA. Along with elegant finger waves.
303: Do both of you sketch and design or is there a specific person that handles each step throughout the process?
M: We both sketch and design. We work very closely in the design process, each piece has both our input.
303: If you could design a piece for anyone, who would it be and why?
M: If we had the chance to dress anyone it would be David Bowie. His brave style is very influential to us.
303: Do you both wear the signature “M” horns in your everyday wear?
M: Yes, we do love to wear our designs.
303: What was the design process and execution of creating the signature “M” horns?
Vince: I have a background in graphic design. I designed the signature
“M” logo with the goal to be elegant and empowering. We felt like the
horns brought MENEZ to life.
303: Can you tell us a little about your Denver Fashion Week collection?
Gino Velardi: With this collection, I would be showcasing my love of glamour, sophistication and daring sexiness. I love to use a theme for inspiration or a certain woman to design for that season. Everything has to be executed with class and inspiration. My clients love the jaw-dropping designs I create and they “oh and ah” over my collections because they know they can wear it. It’s not a costume, its real fashion.
303: How many looks are in the collection?
GV: I am using 16 female models for this show, so 16 outfits. When I have my own personal collection, I use up to 25 models with changes, so it’s a huge undertaking, but I know how to promote my fashion brand and make an impression.
303: What inspired you to design this collection?
GV: My goal in this industry is to make a woman feel confident in what she wears. I love to inspire women to be a little more daring and sexy in their dress. It can be something special occasion or some fashion staples for their wardrobe. My collections are mainly stirred by a theme of some sort. But I always stick to my designer DNA of elaborate designs. I love expressing myself through fashion and hopefully inspire others.
303: Music is a staple for runway shows. What type of genre are you leaning towards for your showcase?
GV: Awesome question! My main source of inspiration has always been music. I love imaging a fashion show in my head and what kind of woman do I want to design for that season. I’m old school, so I have a weird variety of musical interests. And each song creates a new collection for me.
303: What should audiences expect for hair and makeup within your show this year?
GV: Since I’m doing a glamorous evening collection, I always want gorgeous hair and makeup with a little twist. This makes women see the whole look from head to toe, so they can see what I’m presenting and my suggestions to women’s fashion. With this collection, I want to do something very sexy, blown out, working with the model’s hairstyles and keep it relatable.
Nicholas Anthony Clothing
Nicholas Anthony Clothing: There is a new disposition of cerebral intellect in the way our culture is uprising to express individuality. This season I want to convey to the audience that no matter who you identify as you have the freedom to be who you are. My collection anticipates to erase gender labels and stereotypes with clothes that enhance the natural beauty and form of all individuals in existence.
303: What was the inspiration for your DFW collection?
NAC: This upcoming collection is inspired by the soul of the city. Not just the idealism of modernistic times, but the substance of ornate architecture and historical Roman fashion. With the news of Notre-Dame de Paris devastatingly burning, I wanted to evoke the vitality of architectural design and devoted craftsmanship. Each look incorporates elements from history while encompassing contemporary Denver. This collection is reminiscent of neo-classical structures such as the Colorado State Capitol Building, cathedrals, and modern skyscrapers fused with the ideology of the mythical creatures that inhabit the towers, protecting and looking down at the city.
303: What textures, fabrics and colors are utilized in this collection?
NAC: This season my collection incorporates scaled textures and abstract architectural elements. The ensembles come to life with glossy textiles that have liquescent drape in elemental gem tones with a burst of Earth.
303: What should we expect to see you wearing at DFW?
NAC: The evening of my show I will be wearing a capsule of individuality.
303: Oftentimes, your designs include masks and headpieces. What is it about these types of components that draw you to incorporate them?
NAC: Nicholas Anthony Clothing incorporates mask and headpieces simply because this genre of accessory expands the look. While the extraordinary feeling of the runway evokes an intangible mythology, my true drive is to inspire my audiences’ streetwear. Fundamentally, ensembles that I create are intended to have the possibility to be broken apart. Maybe you love the whole look or label but the clothes are not your style, fit, budget or comfort level. One still must have the ability to have The Nicholas Anthony experience while remaining confident.
303: What is your favorite part of the fashion design process?
303: In one word, what is fashion?
Denver Fashion Week runs through Sunday, November 17. To purchase tickets, go here.