Over the weekend, Denver Fashion Week (DFW) kicked off at the Forney Museum of Transportation in RiNo. It was certainly a display of Denver’s fashion chops, both from the designers, artists and hairstylists that showed, as well as the attendees.
Saturday’s show, Fashion x Art, showcased collaborative efforts from Denver fashion designers, as well as local artists. Sunday’s Avant-Garde show was an update to past DFW schedules, this time pairing up notable local hairstylists with some of the city’s more experimental fashion designers.
Overall, the shows were an exciting mix of wearable and aspirational. There were also nods to the current cultural landscape, some subtle, some not-so-subtle. That was the case of DarkDenim’s FUCK ICE hoodies and tees — and an obvious lack of color in many of the lines — with several designers choosing only to show black and white. Many examples of constraint — bondage, straight jackets, masks, chokers, etc. were perhaps an overarching commentary on how the diverse group of designers are feeling in this day and age. On the flip side, there was also a clear dedication to inclusivity in every show, truly showcasing DFW’s diversity.
Saturday, November 9 – Fashion x Art
Photos by Amanda Piela. Go here to see the full gallery.
The evening of shows kicked off with a collaboration between Denver-based Royal Outerwear and Savannah Pitts’ Lion Heart Project. The show featured street-style crop tops with chains and pearls draped over the shoulders, fedoras, luxe sweatsuits and a cape-raincoat hybrid, complete with a Lion Heart Project-designed umbrella. The show was very 1920s-meets-Venice Beach and felt very fresh and now.
Charlie Price and Tiaja Pierre collaborated on a show that looked like what one would wear to a snow rave in Tahoe. Showing bathing suits and silk robes with celestial, stained glass prints and shag overcoats with models sporting icy-silver hair that completed the looks. In direct contrast, the celebrated unisex brand, Darkm0th Industry, draped models in all black with occasional pops of colored fabric.
Sustainable, local brand, False Ego, with artist collaborator Shanah Leaf, was a crowd favorite — everything was extremely wearable and the music made it feel like a dance party. Utility roll-top backpacks, an asymmetrical zip parka and slim cargo pants made this particular show stand out. The last show of the evening was a mashup between NOVL and Ruben Cabrera, and it was a great cap to end the night. Designer Taylor Sandona described his collective inspiration coming from NOVL’s “personal street fashion styles with Ruben’s unique art style.” The show opened with a violinist playing alongside the live DJ, which set the tone for the Snoop Dog-era, Long Beach vibes from the fanny packs, beanies and nylon parkas sent down the runway.
DarkDenim was certainly the boldest show of the evening, opening with a model wearing an early 1900s physician’s plague mask and a straight jacket. Designer, AldoElCreator, based the collection on the “uncharted territories of Antarctica.” “I hope my collection gave everyone an overdose on adrenaline. I pushed my boundaries and I broke all my rules,” said the designer.
Sunday, November 10 – Avant-Garde
Photos by Madison McMullen. Go here to see the full gallery.
Night two — the newly-dubbed Avant-Garde show — was emceed by local host and drag star, Jessica L’Whor. She set the tone for the night’s outlandish fashion wearing exquisite makeup and a candy-pink dress with plenty of accouterments. The first runway show featured hair art by Beauty Underground and designs by Tyne Hall. The whole show was very androgynous and sleek, save for the brightly colored, spun-wool headpieces worn by most of the models. Award-winning hairstylist, Joe Denny, and local designer, Rachel Marie Hurst, put together a show that was fun and elegant at the same time. There was plenty of flair and mixed textures — think sequins and houndstooth, ruffles and tulle — and the most cotton-candy dream hair you’ve ever seen.
Rita B Salon and Equillibrium teamed up for the most narrative show of the evening with each model taking on an animal motif and electronic folk music pumping in the background. The last look was a crowd favorite — an exquisite headpiece complemented a blood-red dress complete with an arrow through the model’s heart. El Salon and vegan line, Ammunition Couture, sent models down the runway with intricate Queen of Hearts makeup which was an interesting contrast against the black and white, corseted designs. A favorite of the whole evening was a billowy white gown with plenty of black tulle, shown with a black rubber shoulder harness.
Swank and Idiot Cult really wore their heart on their sleeves — and emblazoned across models chests and legs — with shirts noting “Your Dumb” and “ABCDEFU.” It was activewear, meets activism. Charlie Price and Beauty Underground sent medieval looks down the DFW runway, with models sporting swords, chainmail both in the hair and on the clothes and plenty of silver. The night really turned up a notch when the Vanity Dollz and Mozze show kicked off, blasting a Fugees Remix from the DJ and a parade of early-days Lady Gaga-meets-Sia models wearing corsets, studded chokers, chains and plenty of black leather and sparkle. The Underground Studios x Femme Fatale Intimates show was a grand finale in every sense of the word. A performance directed by Allegra “Pi” DuVal featured dancers in blazers and fishnets high kicking to a remix of “Hey Big Spender” and strutting down the runway. Models continued the show, wearing lingerie with lace and silk and plenty of feminine details.
Denver Fashion Week runs through next Sunday, November 17. To purchase tickets, go here.