Artopia, Westword’s annual celebration of art, culture and fashion, is taking it to the streets on Saturday, February 25! City Hall will be the site of the artiest party of the year. While they sample cocktails and listen to the street sounds from some of Denver’s best DJs and musicians, party-goers can explore themed spaces curated by Artopia 2017 curator Jolt and dedicated to some of Denver’s most iconic streets – Larimer, Santa Fe, Federal and Colfax – and street artists.
Denver’s designers will show their street smarts, too, during the Whiteout fashion show that’s become a highlight of Artopia. D’Lola Couture, Equillibrium, Mona Lucero, Gino Velardi, Elyse Rainbolt, AnnaFesta, Blackberry Maverick, Denver Bespoke and Jiberish will be revving up the runway this year, working with style teams and models from Matthew Morris Salon, Well Beauty Co. and Wilhelmina Denver. The fashion show will be emceed by Brandi Shigley, founder of Fashion Denver.
And once again, Artopia will include the chance to shop some of Colorado’s coolest shops and services, as well as applaud this year’s thirteenth class of MasterMinds.
1) What is your earliest memory of loving fashion and how did you express yourself as a child with your own fashion?
12 years old, I started to master the art of simplicity with a pop of something interesting. I knew I wasn’t ever going to keep up with fashion trends. I used a lot of basics interchangeably with another garment that had great color or texture. I was more interested in slow fashion and wearing something that would endure the seasons. I was also obsessed with doing my nails to match outfits.
2) In 3 words, describe your aesthetic with your designs.
Simple, sophisticated hip, comfortable
3) What differentiates your collection?
The sizing is designed for curvy ladies and is somewhere in between model sizing and plus size.
4) How would you describe Colorado style and what do you do to contribute to that style in your designs?
I would describe Colorado style as having the ability to be layered because of the temperature swings, natural colors for the great outdoors but there’s also that special twist people put on their style here with color and pattern. It seems to be a lot about discovering the details.
My designs are definitely meant for layering. The designs work well together as garments and the color palate. If we’re talking about a pop of color or detail then I’d have to mention any items I add lining to; they’ll add some contrast in color or texture.
5) What does the upcoming year hold for Victa Designs?
Victa Designs is growing! We’re putting our big girl pants on to get organized and add ten more boutiques to our stockists. We’ve just designed our first men’s garment to try out. There’s also a collaboration in the works for a painters’ designs on our garments. The most exciting thing happening is the year long sewing class we do in Jacmel Haiti, ‘One Stitch at a Time,’ that will be finishing up in the summer. Graduates will be working on some designs that will make their way to Colorado markets.
6) Where can we find your designs?
In the Studio at 888 E 50th Ave, N2 Denver, CO 80216
I’ve always been obsessed with art. It started out with my desire to be a cartoonist, then shifted to art history as I got older. Now, I love the artistic development of fashion. Seeing my art in motion is a wonderful experience.
How did fashion become the symbol for your creative expression?
After I retired from military service I had a difficult time adjusting to my new life. Numerous combat deployments took its toll. One day I bought a sewing machine and found my niche. Now, my clothes have become an expression of who I am. I’m a soldier, a biker, a feminist, a scholar, and an artist. Being a clothing designer allows me to embrace all of that at once.
Do you see a stylistic connection between the things you do in your daily life that is reflected into your collections?
My clothes absolutely reflect me as a person. I try and keep a cohesive line but also diversify my aesthetics with each garment to match my personality. I’m always perfecting my construction and readjusting my design which is a replication of my own life changes. Being retired allows me to devote more time to my art and the softness of the textiles and the flow of the garments is an allegory to that freedom. Having the opportunity to bring people along on my journey is important to me. Women’s clothing, I think, expresses the feminist in me, so I always strive to design with that feminine power in mind. Every woman deserves to look and feel good regardless of the hegemony of the world.
What is your research process like before starting a collection?
I study every woman I see. What they wear, and how they walk has given me insight into how I can recreate that confidence. In terms of inspiration for the lines, I love talking with real women. That allows me a greater appreciation of how they express themselves through their clothes. I then strive to capture that internal character and translate it into something that can be worn. Every day is an opportunity to be inspired.
How has fashion impacted you?
Fashion has become my world. I’ve been able to shift from a very rigid environment to something magical. Designing clothes has opened my long dormant artist side and I’ve embraced that whole heartedly. I hope to use this new passion to make an impact in other areas of my life. Namely, I’m beginning to work towards more philanthropically focused endeavors. I’m not hoping to be rich, but I hope to share my good fortune with causes that deserve the support. Bringing my art to life, in the end, is what it’s all about.
What is your opinion on the fashion scene in Denver from a designers perspective?
Being new to the industry, I’ve got a lot to learn yet. But, I was able to attend the Denver Fashion Week and was very impressed with what I saw. The local designers were brilliant and approachable. The turnout was amazing and I sparked me to pursue this fashion dream.
I am still reminiscing about the zestful and lively experience I got to share with my Fashion Denver fam at Artopia last Saturday. The event took place at City Hall Denver (the night club, not the city hall where politics and other government-like stuff happens), and if you’ve ever been there you know it’s super easy to stay entertained and maybe sometimes get a little lost because of the venues three stories. But one of the aspects I loved about Artopia, was how well the setting of the event fit all that it had to offer. Three levels of art, fashion, and culture made for a perfect night for visual pleasure.
The Whiteout Fashion show portion of the evening featured eight designers; AnnaFesta Denver Bespoke, YOCISCO, Leon Designs, Equillibrium, Elyse Rainbolt, Gino Velardi, Mona Lucero and D’Lola Couture. Makeup was beautifully done by Vanity Dollz and hairstyling provided by El Salon.
AnnaFesta brought some serious energy to the show. The vibrant colors of her designs, the giant glowing balls her models carried, mixed with their awesome dance moves made me want to hop up on stage and shake what my mama gave me too. AnnaFesta is known for designing for plus
While I may have been a little distracted during YOCISCO’s slot by the…large men…we thought this designer truly captured the theme and concept of the show: the art of fashion. I’ve never seen fashion designer basically design on the runway and this is exactly what Gab did. If you don’t already know YOCISCO is a sexy men’s underwear line here in Denver. At the show, he painted on his models bums and it made for some awesome “art of fashion”.
Gino Velardi brought his signature style to Whiteout, high class and
serious sass! His designs featured an assortment of shiny golds, bold browns, and fur.
Denver Bespoke’s designs honestly made me wish I could wear suits. AJ takes the average suit, works his magic and transforms a typical vintage look into something exclusive and very unique.
Elyse Rainbolt brought me back to my 90’s days. I loved the color, faces, and just pure fun of her designs. And congrats to Elyse for being the Westword Whiteout 2016 designer contest winner! Our team thought Elyse Rainbolt and her designs also captured the “art of fashion” theme of the night very nicely.
When the day comes for me to say “I do” I know exactly the gal I’m
going to for my wedding dress. Deedee Vicory creator of D’Lola Couture not only brought the white to the Whiteout fashion show but displayed untraditional yet jaw-dropping gowns.
Leon Design had some seriously fierce looks. From sexy black lace head to toe, to en elegant all white dress with print on the back and sticks stemming from the models wrists and hair reminding me of a lion fish.
Mona Lucero featured chromatic, and vivid dresses. Her collection just looked like it would be so fun to wear on a summer day or on vacation. On of my favorite pieces from the evening, was her red dotted gown that tied at the waste, which also came in black!I also really loved the pink and blue wrap around dresses with print on the front.
Equillibrium was the only designer to feature both a male and female collection. From cameo, to plaid, to leather, even denim I admired Deb’s diversity of sophisticated street fashion.
A huge congratulations to this years master-mind winners! Jeromie Dorrance and Mar Williams! For more information on the designers/hair and or makeup from Whiteout, check out our past interviews with these amazing people featured on this site. As always, stay tuned for all things fun, fashion, and f**ing awesome happening in Denver AND info on our next market!
Here is our interview with Cha Cha Romero aka Vanity Dollz! Cha Cha is the makeup artist for Artopia happening THIS Saturday! Grab your tickets here and don’t for get to use promo code fashiondenver for a discount!
Q:When did you first know you wanted to be a makeup artist?
A:Age 9 when I found this gift and started to learn the art of transformation, through make-up.
Q:Where do you draw inspiration from?
A:I have a creative mind, so in my dreams. While sleeping, creative concepts come alive and I wake up and write them down. Other times it’s my subjects or creative projects that I’m working. Or simply just the people in my creative circle
Q:What has been the most rewarding and the most frustrating part of your journey thus far?
A:The most rewarding
First, empowering individuals to succeed.
Second, seeing my work finally get the recognition it deserves. Overall extremely proud of myself to achieve anything that I set my mind to do. Frustrations, would be the over inflated social media on different make-up techniques. Also, fellow peers who feel intimidated, by other artists. We should be united and respect the diverse skill set. Colorado has so much talent, it’s awesome!!! I’m proud to be who I am, where I’ve come from and where I’m going…
This will be Fashion Denver’s 12th year since the inception in 2004! Fashion Denver has evolved over the years and will continue to evolve. I am so excited to meet with the team as we plan out the upcoming events in 2015! Stay tuned!!!
Last Saturday, Lynn (our graphic design intern and photographer) and I rolled up VIP to the Tivoli Student Union center for the Fashion/Culture 2.0 show. Sponsored by Metropolitan State University, El Salon, Tivoli Brewing, Reed Art & Imaging, and Shine Graphic Design, the evening entertainment featured a fashion show by El Salon, Charlie Price, Leon Designs, and Fancy Tiger, with a silent auction, cocktails, and music. The event was also a fundraiser to support colorado photographic arts center.
The show started by teasing the audience, with the models behind a screen only displaying their shadows. Next, everything went dark and nobody had any idea what was coming. That was my favorite thing about this show, I couldn’t predict or even try to image what or even where anything was coming from next! Each designer displayed unique yet very edgy styles all entering from different starting points, again something I also loved because it showed even more of the designers artistic style apart from the clothing.
Closing out the show, we got to see what I like to think of as futuristic, sassy, space-wear. For those that have seen Wall-e the Pixar movie, if the world ever comes to us living in space, I hope we don’t end up fat in motorized chairs because these outfits and styles perfectly embody exactly what I would want to wear on a spaceship.
BTW I was totally tripping out about this post because this show was truly spectacular and left me speechless! Check out some more media from the show and see for yourself here!
Last Thursday Lynn and I got to experience first had some new beauty/skin care options from Venus Concepts! Venus Concepts introduced the Denver community to two skin care technologies aiming to help women and men combat a wide range of dermis issues!
Venus Legacy is “a non-invazive treatment that uses Multi-Polar Radio Frequency, VariPulse Technology, and Pulsed Electro Magnetic Fields to treat all aesthetic concerns simultaneously.
Venus Viva is “the next generation in Facial Remodeling and Skin Resurfacing. It combines NanoFractional Radio Frequency and SmartScan technology to effectively treat textural irregularities, scarring, wrinkles and stretch marks.
If you’re interested in learning more about these technologies, click here!
Also at the event, Niki McCartney and her partner from Retro Room Lounge and Salon. Niki gave me some beautiful curls and later an awesome up-do which held the entire night! If you’re looking to get an awesome new hairstyle and/or makeup, check out the ladies at the Retro Room here !
There was a great turnout at the Eco-Disaster Fashion Show last week! Thank you to everybody who came to the show. A huge shoutout to our designers, speakers, models, hair/makeup stylists that braved the snow to be apart of our show! Also a huge thank you to Warm Cookies of the Revolution for collaborating with us to bring this thought-provoking show to life.
Here are just a few pictures from the show:
Before the show!
Brandi in her Eco-Disaster Fashion Attire
Deb Henriksen, one of our designers and speakers of the night
Some of the designs featured in the show (Starting top right, clockwise: Julia Rhoden, Simone Ruckman, Deb Henriksen, Richard Smith)
Thank you again to everyone who came out to support us!
Supporting Colorado designers since 2004 through production of fashion markets, fashion shows, and business development