Meet the Designers and Stylists of Artopia 2017

The designers on the runway at Artopia 2016's Whiteout Fashion Show.EXPAND
The designers on the runway at Artopia 2016's Whiteout Fashion Show.
Kenneth Hamblin III

Artopia, our annual celebration of art, culture and fashion, is taking it to the streets in 2017. On Saturday, February 25, City Hall will be the site of the artiest party of the new year. While they sample cocktails and listen to the street sounds of some of Denver's best DJs and musicians, partygoers can explore themed spaces curated by Artopia 2017 curator Jolt and dedicated to four of Denver's most iconic streets — Larimer, Santa Fe, Federal and Colfax — and street artists. Fashion designers will also display their street smarts in our annual Whiteout fashion show.

Presale for Artopia 2017 begins at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, December 6; use the code "culture." In the meantime, meet the designers and stylists who will be featured on the runway:

Meet the Designers and Stylists of Artopia 2017EXPAND
Kenneth Hamblin III

AnnaFesta
As a curvy woman, fashion designer Anne Fanganello wrestled with the obstacles many women face today when shopping for clothing: never the right fit, never enough options, often poorly made, frumpy design. After years of designing for the slender customer, Fanganello decided it was time to expand her horizons and dedicate her life to creating clothing for today’s real woman. Armed with nearly twenty years of experience producing for brands like Zac Posen, Nanette Lepore and Victoria’s Secret in NYC, she returned to her roots in Denver to start her own clothing brand. AnnaFesta is a curvy collection for women who want to feel confident in beautifully fitting, curve-enhancing, quality, on-trend clothing.

Blackberry Maverick
Leslie Kinson, the gamine behind Blackberry Maverick, is proud to present her fourth collection, Intrepid, produced in Denver. “Transcend the mundane by stepping into a sharp and sophisticated piece from BMAV’s latest collection, Intrepid," she says. "These women’s dresses and separates command attention with their minimalist structure, bold fabrics and piercing design elements. Each eco-friendly piece is machine-washable, durable, timeless and trendless as a result of the innovative fabrics and paramount construction. Unleash your inner Maverick and join the Intrepid women of the future.”

BMAV’s local, small-batch production allows for customizable fabrics and colors to suit individual or wholesale clientele and ensures the high standards of fit, fabric and construction for which Intrepid is known. The collection is available on pre-order now for boutiques and individuals with a six-week turnaround.

Meet the Designers and Stylists of Artopia 2017EXPAND
Kenneth Hamblin III

Denver Bespoke
Denver Bespoke is the project of designers AJ Machete and Lianna Kachmar. The brand focuses on highly structured and hand-tailored suits and overcoats that are custom-made for each client using a unique fit system. Denver Bespoke employs ten local artisans, who work with the company to create pieces for clients around the world out of incredible fabrics such as handwoven Harris tweeds and durable American woven gabardine. All of the pieces are sewn by hand or on restored early- and mid-twentieth-century sewing machines.

Machete and Kachmar met at Pratt Institute, where Kachmar graduated with a BFA in fashion design; she later designed clothing for brands at all levels of the industry, including the label JH Collectibles at Liz Claiborne, before starting this business in 2009. Machete has worked as a copywriter, designer and filmmaker; he received his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in New York and a master’s from Harvard University.

Meet the Designers and Stylists of Artopia 2017
Kenneth Hamblin III

D’Lola Couture
Deedee Vicory is the founder and head designer for the D’Lola brand. She began designing gowns in the early 1990s and has worked within the wedding industry since 1993. Vicory is a seamstress by trade and a true designer at heart. Her wedding gowns combine vintage inspiration with a kiss of contemporary flair.

The D’Lola brand was officially launched in 2010 in conjunction with Vicory’s other business, the Wedding Seamstress. She employs a staff of eleven, and the company continues to grow; all dresses are manufactured in Colorado. D’Lola Couture can currently be found at the flagship store in Historic Olde Town Arvada, and Vicory’s designs have also been seen in British Vogue, the British Marie Claire and InStyle magazine. In addition, Vicory showed her D’Lola brand during New York Bridal Week in 2013. Vicory was selected as the Fashion International Group Rising Star of Bridal/Evening Wear in 2013 and was chosen as a Westword MasterMind in Fashion in 2015.

Meet the Designers and Stylists of Artopia 2017EXPAND
Kenneth Hamblin III

Elyse Rainbolt
Elyse Rainbolt is a fashion designer specializing in leather, fur and hand-painted garments with an avant-garde twist. She was born in Ashland, Oregon, and spent much of her youth in southern Illinois, where she became interested in 1960s rock culture and fashion history. At age nineteen, she moved to San Diego and she spent seven years there, studying music, art and fashion in the cultural hub of Southern California. Needing inspiration from a new environment, she relocated to Denver in 2010 and began a five-year apprenticeship under a sixth-generation Hungarian master furrier, tailoring patterns and familiarizing herself with the world of fur garments, which has inspired her current line of apparel.

She currently has hand-painted shirts for sale in Fukuoka, Japan, at Tigre Bröcante, and takes custom orders. Additionally, she is a stylist for photo shoots, music videos and performance acts locally and nationally, including musical groups such as DéCollage, Invisible Familiars and Sleepy Kitty. She can be found on Instagram (@elyserainbolt), on the web and across other social media.

Meet the Designers and Stylists of Artopia 2017EXPAND
Kenneth Hamblin III

Equillibrium
Equillibrium is a sustainable street brand of apparel, handbags and accessories for both men and women. All designs and products are created with triple bottom-line principles: people, planet and profit. Founder and creator Deb Henriksen has a rich background in everything from the urban roots of skateboarding to the city roots of high fashion and sustainability roots in green building and environmental health. This unique mixture is what inspires Equillibrium's style, process and aesthetic.

Equillibrium is a pioneering brand that has inspired consumers, colleagues and the apparel industry to become more conscious of environmental impacts caused by human behavior. Ten percent of the brand's sales are donated toward sustainability. “From the core, for the core,” proclaims Henriksen. “Live it, love it, wear it!”

Meet the Designers and Stylists of Artopia 2017EXPAND
Kenneth Hamblin III

Gino Velardi
Gino Velardi is recognized as one of Denver’s most prominent fashion designers. His high-energy fashion shows over the past decade have garnered clients who demand his gorgeous evening gowns, flirty cocktail dresses and stylish coats for their own collections. Velardi’s love of the female figure shows through his continuous search for designs that complement a woman’s body; he is a self-taught fashion designer who has been refining his craft for the Denver market. He works hard to stay in touch with what today’s client is looking for while not straying from his own personality and design aesthetic. Velardi’s designs utilize luxurious fabrics to create elegant, high-end designs for the woman who demands to feel beautiful and will not be satisfied until she has achieved her goal. His current business is centered on one-on-one interaction with individual clients; his personality and ability to paint the picture of the perfect garment allow him to build a relationship with his clients that have them wanting more.

Meet the Designers and Stylists of Artopia 2017
Westword Archive

Jiberish
Jiberish is based at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, and outdoor influences are apparent in the quality and integrity of our garments. When Jiberish first emerged on the scene in 2005, snowsports enthusiasts quickly backed its bold and unique sweatshirt designs. In the years since, as Jiberish has grown and widened its product range, the brand has garnered attention from a large audience for its craftsmanship, attention to detail and unique design. The company has been covered by the biggest menswear and lifestyle blogs on the planet, which include Hypebeast, Complex and Highsnobiety. Today Jiberish owns and operate a flagship boutique at 2650 Walnut Street in the River North Art District, which exclusively carries Jiberish products and collaborations.

Meet the Designers and Stylists of Artopia 2017EXPAND
Kenneth Hamblin III

Mona Lucero
Mona Lucero will present her Spring 2017 collection at Whiteout. When asked to describe her collection, Lucero describes it with these words: "pop-inspired,” "romantic,” "sculptural" and "drape.” Her collections are always surprising, and these disparate elements come together in surprising ways to make up the distinctive design of her latest line.

Lucero works in a three-dimensional manner, draping the fabric on the dress form and contemplating every angle to enhance the lines of a woman’s body. With a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Colorado and an associate's degree in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Technology, Lucero brings art and fashion together with her signature style, which can be described as playful, colorful, unpredictable and chic. Her spring collection and entire line of dresses, separates and accessories is available at monalucero.com/shop.

Meet the Designers and Stylists of Artopia 2017
Kenneth Hamblin III

Brandi Shigley (emcee)
Brandi Shigley is a semi-retired handbag designer and founder of Fashion Denver. With a passion for turning dreamers into doers, Shigley spends her days consulting, adventurizing and causing random acts of shenanigans. She is the new VP of marketing for Bradley Allen, a line of dress shirts created for the bodybuilder physique. When she isn’t focused on fashion, you can find her rollerskating, making music or snowboarding.

Meet the Designers and Stylists of Artopia 2017
Kenneth Hamblin III

Matthew Morris Salon and Skincare
Matthew Morris Salon and Skincare understands that hair is an artistic self-expression of individuality and brand identity for clients. Matthew Morris stylists provide a professional and luxurious experience with exceptional customer service and sought-after services and products, backed by constant education and innovation. This philosophy has helped Matthew Morris gain a reputation as one of Denver's best salons. Currently there are two Matthew Morris locations — on South Broadway and in RiNo — with a third opening at Belleview Station in spring 2017.

Meet the Designers and Stylists of Artopia 2017
Kenneth Hamblin III

Well Beauty Co.
Well Beauty Co. wants you to find both balance and a beauty routine, and it offers high-quality, convenient and affordable beauty services. What sets Well Beauty Co. apart from the rest? It's passionate about all things beauty — and is willing to bring that passion right to you.

Meet the Designers and Stylists of Artopia 2017
Kenneth Hamblin III

Wilhelmina Denver
Wilhelmina Models is one of the most prominent agencies in the fashion industry worldwide; the company opened its Denver branch in 2010.

Watch for updates on Artopia 2017 at westwordartopia.com. That's also where you can get your tickets now, using the presale code "culture."

Early Entry General Admission tickets are $30; general admission $25, and VIP $100. Tickets to on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Friday, December 9.

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