Feathers. Coral. Corsets. All made of paper, all on display last night at the Paper Fashion Show competition at City Hall in downtown Denver. With over 60 jaw-dropping entries, the Paper Fashion Show was a spectacle unlike any other. Pieces went from chic to quirky to star-struck to hot mess, all in the matter of a runway's distance.
Sponsored by the Art Directors Club of Denver, the Paper Fashion Show served as a showcase of Colorado talent, with entrants from all over the state. Some paper pieces were outrageous; others were outrageously fun. One piece had a three-year-old girl, Maggie Foster, sporting a paper-made mohawk. That's hot.
There were three-inch shoes made of cardboard, paper hair extensions, a Dalmatian, floating balloons, beer cans, Jacque Cousteau, origami birds, film reels and even a heart-shaped dress train covered in paper flowers. It would have made even the Queen of Hearts jealous. There was also a jellyfish whose underbelly lit up as its model, who was covered in scales for a mermaid look, swung the sea creature for all of the audience to gawk at.
And there was quite an audience.
According to final estimates by the Paper Fashion Show organizers, there were over 1,100 people in attendance -- more than any Denver Paper Fashion Show to date -- making last night the largest show and competition of its kind.
"This show has grown and grown. It really shows the strength of this creative community we have in Denver," says Jay Rother, chairman of the Art Directors Club of Denver. "Every year, the designs keep getting better and better."
Designs were judged on four criteria: creative complexity, originality, overall presentation and technical intricacy. The 1st-place dress, Pulp Function, came from design team Elizabeth Barnes, Stephanie Ingraham and Barry Brown. The unique design, with its hanging ringlets and floating birds, had a texture you wanted to reach out and touch. It took your breath away.
2nd place went to Pretty Good 76 and 3rd went to Kristine Hanson. The winning student submission from Downtown Aurora Visual Arts (DAVA), an after-school arts community for three- to seventeen-year-olds, was called Googly Eyes; it was designed by a seven-year-old.
So how long did it take to design such beautiful pieces for the show? Anywhere from ten hours to ten days.
The sixty design teams came from a variety of backgrounds: some were professionals; some were amateurs; some were students from the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, the Art Institute of Colorado and Colorado State University.
The models likewise came from various experience ranges. One of them, Lyndsay Jameson, who represented Blue Felt design team with a school-girl spin-off dress, had never modeled before. She was asked to model in the Paper Fashion Show when spotted working at the bar Tilted Kilt. After the Paper Fashion Show, she was approached by six different modeling agencies.
"The dress is not made to completely fit your body, even though my outfit was designed specifically for me. No one else could fit into it," Jameson said after the show. "It's really weird walking in paper, because paper is very light, but it doesn't fit like clothing obviously."
But with a possibly modeling future, perhaps Jameson will return to the runway at next year's Paper Fashion Show, which organizers are already planning. One thing's for sure, however: you can expect to see even more paper next year. And who would have thought that was even possible.
All photos below shot by Hunter Stevens:
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