By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
Suppose you're the mother of the bride. You have a role to play and you want to dress the part, but you just can't surrender to the Barbara Bush mold from which the typical Mother-of-the-Bride dress is cast. Well, how about slipping into this stretch-lace number with panels of petticoating, a sort of Dolly-Parton-of-the-Bride look? Or this micro-mini black-velvet sheath dripping pearls as big as golf balls? Madonna-of-the-Bride! Underneath, a pair of sequined boxer shorts...and--go ahead--top it all off with a jeweled cowboy hat the size of Texas. That's it! You're dressed!
Relax. Time for some friendly gossip. A perennial topic of conversation here at the Glitzy Glitz Girls Boutique is this: Why is the fashion world of Dallas, Texas, so far ahead of Denver's? Just look at this denim vest obtained at the latest Dallas fashion show. It has entire stuffed rag dolls sewn right onto it. No, not your style.
"We will tell you if you don't look good in something," says Josie Fetters, proprietor of Glitzy Glitz. "We will drag you outside into the natural light to see if the color is right. We know all the figure types and all the colors. If it's wrong, well..."
Well, forget it.
"But we'll also cheer you up, if that's what you need," Josie continues. "We have chairs. You can come in and sit down and be cheered up."
The cheering-up duties most often fall to 56-year-old Josie's 77-year-old business partner and mother, Gunhild Dransfeldt. "My friends often ask me how I can be so cheerful," Gunhild says, "and my response is, why not be so cheerful? I can cry when no one's around to hear me. I've always been full of heck. I'm old enough now that if it's not fun, I don't do it."
Five years ago, when Josie and Gunhild started Glitzy Glitz, they were in a position to do whatever fun thing they wanted. Residents of the last 200 acres of what had started out as a 1,600-acre farm just north of Lincoln Avenue on Parker Road, they'd made a reasonable profit over the years--and were now rich with land in booming Parker. They certainly had the resources to open their shop in a truly glitzy location: Cherry Creek, perhaps, or the soon-to-be developed Park Meadows.
Instead, Josie and Gunhild elected to set up shop on the farm that various members of their family have occupied since the late Thirties. There was that frame house from pioneer days just sitting empty--so what if its only source of heat was a woodstove? That sort of obstacle means very little to a Dransfeldt woman bent on glamour.
Just this morning, Josie went out in her black stretch pants, big black sweater emblazoned with gold and silver tigers, and a gold lame baseball cap, and split enough wood to last a week. It was an incongruous, if stirring, sight. But so is the entire Dransfeldt complex. As a passing motorist, you might notice its sweeping, Norman Rockwell-ish vista dotted with houses, barns and outbuildings, all in a state of benign, historic disrepair--but you probably wouldn't see the hand-lettered sign announcing the "Glitzy Glitz Girls Boutique." You'd have to slow down to read the understated ads for several other Dransfeldt home-based businesses. There is Alternative Autos, a used- and vintage-car dealership, and KD&F Farms, purveyors of alfalfa and hay; assorted Dransfeldt relatives also run thirteen head of cattle. At the end of a quarter-mile dirt driveway, a small neon sign advises visitors that at least one of these businesses is OPEN. From there, follow the trail of shaggy, overweight dogs to a small white frame house and open the door.
Welcome to the glamorous world of glitz.
In creating this rural oasis of taffeta and spaghetti straps, Gunhild and Josie are carrying on a family legacy. Gunhild's mother and father, who came to the Cherry Creek Valley from Denmark in 1924, may have been hardworking farmers, but they always believed in proper--which is to say formal--dress.
"My grandmother's name was Jansine Kragelund," Josie says. "After my grandfather died young, she ran this place all by herself."
"She had some moxie," remembers Gunhild.
"And she always said, 'Ve vill dress up ven ve go downtown! Ve don't have to look like farmers,'" Josie recalls. "We would go to downtown Denver in gloves and hats, with perfect little bags. Grandma loved that."
"As for my father," Gunhild adds, "I will never forget his first farm sale in the United States. He went in a nice suit. He came back from it saying, 'Why, those men came in overalls! With manure up to their knees!' He was shocked."
Like her grandmother and her mother, Josie grew up in a world composed of equal parts of hard physical labor and intense personal style. An only child, she was doted on by two generations. "Some people think I'm spoiled, but I have a strong constitution," she says. "I've loaded my share of bales, and during college I worked this farm in the summer. My dad knew I'd always take care of the machinery."