Last weekend was jam-packed with events all around Denver. The inaugural Denver Comic Con, PrideFest, Juneteenth and Father's Day, to name just a few, brought very diverse crowds out around the city. And that meant that very different fashion styles were seen on the street -- everything from the rainbow-clad to the subtle intellectual.
Name: Johnny Valerio
Spotted: The alley at 18th and Court.
Profession: Budding artist and writer.
Favorite film: 1968's Fando Y Lis by Alejandro Jodorowsky.
Summer anthems: "Heavy Metal Lover" by Lady Gaga, and "Sixteen Saltines" by Jack White.
Style inspirations/icons: Christian Lacroix, Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy, Nicola Formichetti and Sharon Needles.
Favorite accessory: A small clutch or coin purse that belonged to my grandmother before she passed away. It's vintage, and made from old cigarette packs.
Favorite color: Black, white and silver.
Style mantra: Don't dream it, be it. I also tell myself when getting dressed: When in doubt, freak them out.
Shops at: Neiman Marcus, Hot Topic, H&M, Indy Ink, Family Affair, Certified Customs and the Goodwill on Broadway.
A permanent accessory for Valerio is a motto made popular by Lady Gaga: Born This Way. "Gaga is one of my biggest inspirations," he says, "and she makes me feel like I can be myself, and really let my freak flag fly." Take a look inside Johnny Valerio's backpack on page 2!
"I bought this backpack at Hot Topic and it had all of these blank quote bubbles, so my friends and I started filling them in with funny words that make us laugh," says Valerio.
Let's go in for a closer inspection...
Here Valerio has displayed all of the items inside his profanity-covered backpack. He carries a mix of vinyl records and CDs by Lady Gaga, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and The Black Keys, as well as spray paint, paint brushes, a work in progress called "Mint," a note pad, cologne, a calendar, blunt wraps, a wallet, shades, a mask and A Movable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. This is certainly a feast for the eyes...and the senses.
"Everyone has a different perception of art, but a true artist is willing to be open-minded to everything," he says. "That's why I admire Sharon Needles, whom my cousin was able to meet and have autograph this calendar for me, along with other queens from Drag Race. I'll cherish it forever."
This is the vintage wallet/coin purse/clutch that Valerio acquired after his grandmother passed away: "It's one of two material possessions that I will always remember her by."
Valerio joined thousands of other "open-minded" individuals to celebrate Denver PrideFest 2012, which was headlined by a performance featuring Milli Vanilli.
Name: Miranda Lark.
Spotted at: 17th and Logan, en route to Comic Con.
Profession: Barnes & Noble register monkey.
Favorite film: Troll 2 and The Birds.
Summer anthem: "Y'all Get Back Now" by Big Freedia. I'm really into New Orleans bounce music right now.
Style Inspirations/icons: Debbie Harry and Kim Gordon. I love girly punk-rock swag.
Favorite accessory: My favorite necklace is an opalescent pearl in a simple gold setting. I've had it since I was a little kid.
Favorite colors: Gray and neon colors . I tend to mix neutrals with brights as a general rule.
Style mantra: I do what I want.
Shops at: Wherever I can find stylish pieces that fit my unique taste. I really like iheartdropdead.com.
Of her sense of style, Lark says, "Taking yourself too seriously isn't fun for anyone!" This tattoo, done by a friend years ago, depicts a weenie mascot riding a skateboard, and exemplifies her whimsical, easy-going, laid-back fashion philosophy.
Look inside Miranda Lark's purse on page 4!
What do we have here? Two books, a wallet, headphones, stickers, a Sweet Action postcard, compass and keys. A fan of anime and Sailor Moon, Lark reveals what she's into these days: "Right now I'm watching The Legend of Korra on Nickelodeon. It's got a great story, compelling characters and beautiful animation. My favorite superhero is Sailor Uranus because she's hardcore. My favorite book is Watership Down by Richard Adams."
Denver Comic Con must have had Lark and other animation enthusiasts in mind when it stocked body pillows featuring all of the sailors of Sailor Moon. Thirty-two bucks for a pillow? You try to resist Sailor Moon's charms.
Style analysis: It's a sure sign of summer when you can see everything under the sun in one weekend in Denver. Johnny Valerio aims for a gay superhero look, one that embraces John Lennon and underwear as outerwear. Miranda Lark goes for a more nonchalant style that is both feminine and lighthearted
The next time you are preparing to save the world from disaster like Batman, or simply feeling proud to be yourself, do it with style and originality. As Valerio says, "Don't dream it, be it." Make your most outlandish fashion dreams a reality, Denver, and never wake up.
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