Local Designers Take the Stage Night Two of Denver Fashion Week

Night two of Denver Fashion Week, presented by The Green Solution and Medicine Man, showcased an inventive ensemble of looks by local designers. This season brought new creatives to the stage for their big debut as they presented their designs to the Denver fashion community. Eager attendees filled their seats as a showstopping performance by multi-talented entertainer N3ptune once again greeted the crowd. With twirling split dye-colored braids and fiercely showing off knit pants by designer Nell, patrons could already tell they were in for a treat.

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N3ptune performing for the DFW night two audience

The crowd first welcomed MadVan Designs to the stage as tribal music opened up to designer Madison Vazquez-Van der Lingen’s debut show. This collection highlighted cultural inspiration from Galicia, Spain-which is her father’s hometown. A mixture of ready-to-wear and avant-garde pieces featured tasseled details along with significant cultural artifacts like a tambourine and a panpipe paying homage to the folky-ritualistic looks. Vazquez-Van der Lingen’s designs lived up to the collection’s name, “Carnival” with its playful silhouettes complimented by hues of pink and clay-colored earth tones. Hints of gold were introduced throughout the show through the model’s makeup and attire playing up the tone of regal renaissance fashion. Every hand-made piece artfully captured the cultural significance of her father’s hometown while keeping the crowd enthralled with every look. The designer ended the show with a model dressed up as a fashionable faun, proving that there are no limits to what can be introduced on the DFW stage.

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READ: Meet 8 New Designers for Denver Fashion Week

Introducing a whole new community to the Denver fashion scene, Dr. Brad Poppie, founder of Bradley Allen, fills the gap of ready-to-wear items for bodybuilders. Bradley Allen provides classic basics and business professional pieces that this clientele often misses out on. This also being Poppie’s debut show, the idea itself opened up a dialogue of vulnerability that this niche audience has when it comes to finding properly fitted clothing. The show started off with a toned male model in briefs wearing a white unbuttoned dress shirt. Throughout the show, the muscular male models slowly became more and more clothed showing vulnerable confidence in the way clothes fit and make one feel as a whole. Familiar faces like Dr. Poppie himself and former NFL wide receiver, Pierre Garcon made an appearance on the runway sporting a fitted black dress shirt and brown plaid slacks complemented with a black wide-brimmed hat.

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READ: Bradley Allen Introduces Apparel Fit For Bodybuilders to Denver Fashion Week

Next up, a collection replicating the fun and flair of the 80’s took the DFW stage. If a John Hughes movie had a Taylor Swift, “Reputation Era” moment, that’s exactly what Gabriela Couture embodied throughout her designs. Designer Gabriella Martinez is typically known for her wedding gown designs and alterations. However, this master seamstress brought the crowd back to a time of glam and 80’s rock as masked models stomped down the stage to Queen’s “I Want to Break Free.” After models hit the halfway point of the runway, they ripped off their masks and revealed colorful makeup and signature vibrant blush to define their cheekbones. As an added bonus, each look was complete with big hair or a nostalgic side pony. This edgy collection featured stunning metallic fabrics and utilized bold animal prints like zebra and cheetah print.

READ: How a Local Seamstress Became a Celebrated Fashion Designer

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Skilled to perfection with print and fabric choice, Steve Sells’ sophisticated pieces ruled the runway. Playing on texture and blue and yellow hues, Sells had us reaching for our passports with his muted tropical designs. Symbolizing rebirth, this collection showcased models in flowy silhouettes and capes mimicking the freedom of ocean waves. Models floated down the runway in hand-dyed garments in order to highlight intricate vibrant colored line patterns strewn across the garment’s midnight background. Working with textures like silk and producing hand-made patterned fabrics, this local designer produces unique wearable art.

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KetiVani brought a piece of upscale New York fashion to Denver during her debut show. Designer Keti Mckenna beamed backstage with anticipation of getting her collection “runway ready.” Mckenna’s attention to detail and fit made a memorable appearance on the DFW stage as polished models showcased her latest collection. The looks featured well-tailored suits, beautifully printed jacquard fabrics and an emerald jumpsuit that stole the show. KetiVani for the first time also featured menswear in her line as a model stunned the crowd with a smoky silver jacquard tailored suit. Overall, this collection was very well constructed – simple and elegant for the Colorado woman eager to make an entrance at cocktail hour or the office. 

READ: Behind the Scenes Look at KetiVani’s Denver Fashion Week Collection

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Following intermission, Tyne Hall brought us into her own dark fantasy with her horror film-inspired collection – let’s just say, Wednesday Adams has officially met her match. The show kicked off with a skeletal mini-dress detailed with white hearts down the center creating a fashionable ribcage. 

“October is my favorite time of the year, and my birthday is on October 31st. I’ve just always loved Halloween. I want to elicit the same childlike feeling throughout my designs of being excited about that spooky time of year,” said Hall. 

Mission accomplished. Hall left audience members at the edge of their seats in order to guess which horror motif would creep around the corner next as glimpses of Alice in Wonderland’s Cheshire Cat, vampire fangs and signature Beetlejuice black and white stripes made an appearance. A clever and tasteful spin of Stephen King’s Carrie dress displayed bold red splotches carefully splattered across a pale pink tulle dress. This seasoned DFW designer never fails to keep it classy with her blend of old-Hollywood glamour throughout each look.

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DFW’s favorite family duo returned to the stage with their signature asymmetrical design proportions and edgy flair. Menez’s captivating logo made a consistent appearance throughout the collection seen in gold belts and zipper pulls embodying functional jewelry. Each design felt exclusive and otherworldly like attending a brooding opera house – hauntingly beautiful. A dance between gentle and brash textures mingled throughout the looks as models wore custom satin and leather fabric blocked dresses. Accents of leather were a staple throughout the looks and showed up in pieces like a corset-style belt, a vest with gold side zippers and a matching set featuring a nude leather skirt and bra top.

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Another DFW first-timer hit the stage with custom knitwear handmade by designer Nell Tercek. Born from Tercek’s senior thesis, this collection mimics the natural body like a second skin and argues that the natural form is more beautiful than alterations.  

“I want people to take away that the natural body is beautiful and we don’t need to conform to an idea of what a model should be like. You are beautiful. Natural is beautiful,” Tercek said.  

Barefoot models drifted down the runway in clay-colored knitwear setting the intention and mood of the show. Models wore their hair natural, braided or in loose hairstyles to compliment the raw essence of  Nell’s designs. Themes of post-apocalyptic and netted details threaded their way throughout the collection, keeping the audience absorbed in what will come next. The final piece, we’ll peg as the “heroine dress,” differs from the rest of the collection in color and style. Maybe it was a coincidence in the way that Tercek opened the show in skin-colored loungewear pieces to then slowly tighten the silhouette. The style then gradually opened up the color palette to a warm blushed hue showing the victory of reaching comfort in one’s skin.

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Rachel Marie Hurst took the runway with a bold statement on strength. The first look set the tone of strong feminine energy as a model stomped down the runway dressed in a pure white gown with floral details and black leather boots. Many of Hurst’s designs included ruffled elements to show power in the shoulders while her ultimate inspiration derived from butterflies.

“This collection is a love letter to myself. Seeing as butterflies are often misunderstood as weak and fragile, they are actually vital and very fruitful to pollinate the ecosystem. They are resilient and a sign of hope. I kept telling myself that if I finish this collection I can do anything,” said Hurst. 

The rest of the collection included bold black statement pieces with lace and tassel finishes incorporating a meek sexiness to each look. Hurst also didn’t shy away from popping in her favorite color palette – pink and red hues. The final look was standing ovation-worthy. The crowd was stunned by Hurst’s red tulle dress perfected with a train and thigh-high red boots to match. Rachel Marie Hurst’s resilient dedication to design and storytelling left the crowd inspired and ready to see what she’ll create next season.

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Our final artist, Mirtha Art, captured the show with a model in a stunning gold headpiece encrusted with ruby stones circulating throughout the crown. Designer Mirtha Santacruz worked with many textures in order to transform everyday clothing items into something theatrical. These looks were meant for the stage as models circulated in showstopping pieces like a multi-colored deep v-neck feather top, an ornate jeweled showgirl corset and custom jeweled denim jackets. Santacruz’s creative hand-made pieces were the perfect ending to night two Denver Fashion Week.

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Throughout the night, the Denver fashion community dressed to impress all while coming together to support the show’s local designers. True to 303 Magazine’s nature, we had to celebrate our incredible community by capturing patrons in their sharpest DFW gear. Here’s a round-up of our top runway-ready looks.

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Street style from all three nights of DFW.

All photos by Roxanna Carrasco.

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