Fall fashion took the runway at the Matthew Morris Salon and Skincare 16-year Anniversary Show at Reelworks on Thursday, Sept. 22. With a collection from nationally-acclaimed designer Jonathan Simkhai and in collaboration with A Line Boutique, the ready-to-wear collection brought fall hues and silhouettes to the Denver fashion scene.
READ: Matthew Morris Salon and Skincare 16-year Anniversary Show Presents a Night of Style and Fundraising
With fashion at the forefront, the night was all about raising awareness for the Matthew Morris Scholarship Fund, which provides opportunities for members of the Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) community to further their careers in the beauty industry. The industry is notoriously built on teaching and resources for white hairdressers and clients; therefore, the fund promotes diverse opportunities and education. In partnering with Elevate Salon Institute, funds raised at the fashion show will allow a member of the BIPOC community to attend beauty school free of financial obligations.
The night began with words from Morris himself alongside co-owner at Matthew Morris Salon and Skincare, Marvin Gutierrez. Morris described his experience in beauty school where white hair stylists learned to style hair like their own, while Black stylists were left to teach themselves the techniques to style hair like theirs. Morris strived to work alongside his Black peers to learn and teach how to style any hair type, although his experience is rare in the beauty industry. This led him to create the scholarship fund which has evolved to provide opportunities for BIPOC stylists.
“Our community should be one that can accept any client at any salon,” Morris told the audience.
After thanking the hardworking team behind the event including Jam Productions and the Matthew Morris Salon and Skincare team, Morris welcomed scholarship recipient Amy Rau to the stage. As a recipient prior to the shift in focus on the BIPOC community, Rau learned valuable techniques from Morris that have led her to continue to work at Matthew Morris Salon and Skincare for over 10 years. Rau grew up homeless and faced adversity throughout her life, so receiving the Matthew Morris scholarship provided her with the opportunities necessary to be successful in the beauty industry.
“It made me believe in belief,” Rau explained in a heartfelt speech to the audience.
The night continued as Morris and Gutierrez hosted a live auction to collect funds for the scholarship fund. In a packed audience at Reelworks, attendees raised their bidding numbers to donate hundreds and even thousands of dollars to the Matthew Morris Scholarship fund. In addition to the live auction, Morris hosted a silent auction that took place prior to the start of the runway show. All proceeds from the auction will go towards serving the BIPOC community members in the local beauty industry.
Following the paddle raise, Jonathan Simkhai’s fall ready-to-wear collection transformed the space alongside an elaborate light show. The models took the runway in a production-style show, where every step was intentional and deliberate. The professionalism of the runway show alluded to that of a bigger market like New York, which aligns with Simkhai’s brand as he had left New York Fashion Week early to show a collection at this event.
Each runway segment fit a colored theme, where tan and creme, sage and olive green, burgundy and maroon, black and sequined looks glided across the runway. The hair and makeup, done by the Matthew Morris Salon and Skincare team, were simple yet elegant and resembled a high-fashion ambiance straight from a New York-style runway.
Simkhai’s looks were chic yet wearable. There was variety in materials as each segment included leather, sherpa, satin, knits and more. The hues were earthy yet the looks resembled city-chic women that were ready to hit the town or the runway.
To conclude the show, every model took the runway a final time, coming from every direction. The Matthew Morris Salon and Skincare team walked the runway with the models, showcasing their work and providing credit to the talent behind the hair and makeup. It is rare in a runway setting to provide credit for the behind-the-scenes work where it’s deserved, so this was a heartfelt touch to the show.
The grand finale included Karmen Berentsen, owner of A Line Boutique, and Simkhai, who joined Morris and Gutierrez on the stage with the models, celebrating the success of the show and the fundraising event. Simkhai pieces, including the ones on display at the fashion show, are available to purchase at A Line’s four locations across Colorado.