To know Mona Lucero is to love her. The veteran Denver fashion designer not only works wonders molding fabric to form, but she’s also created her own style milieu, an intelligent, perceptive and pampering platform that imbues simple garments with empowering qualities. An artist first and foremost, Lucero sees lines, shapes and patterns sculpturally, as longtime friend and filmmaker Michael Lauter came to appreciate.
“Mona was involved in the Urban Nights event in 2016, and she’d asked me to film behind the scenes,” Lauter explains. “I became intrigued with her process in creating fashion — I’d known Mona for years, but I saw my friend in a completely new light. I started asking her questions, and that evolved into a more substantial film.”
Lucero and Lauter, who got his start making films as a ten-year-old Star Wars fanatic in possession of a Super 8 camera, will unveil the resulting short film, Art & Style: Mona Lucero, at a special premiere event on October 12 at the Landmark Mayan Theatre in Denver.
Lauter especially wanted to convey how Lucero’s world comprises an experience that goes far beyond viewing mere clothing, hanging off models on a runway. “She is so creative and so innovative,” he says. “You don't have to be interested in fashion to appreciate her as an artist or find inspiration in her work. As a filmmaker, I see parallels between what she's doing and what I do. She takes three pieces of fabric juxtaposed against one another and creates something new. It’s like a dialectic montage; it has a kinetic quality, and Mona discusses that — how, in order to make something new, the fabric has to move with the body.
“She's made me think about art in a new way, and that’s Mona's strength; she’s totally sidestepped convention,” he adds. “For me, the film is sharing the inspiration one gets from seeing an artist at work.”
Lucero adds that the film also humanizes the personalities who work with her, many of them models used to serving as “mannequins” on the runway. “There are a lot of people in the film who are artists themselves,” she notes. “One of my favorite models to work with is artist and graphic designer Andi Todaro. I call her “Andi to Die For” because she's so gorgeous. We could make a whole film all about Andi. You can’t take your eyes off of her in real life – and on the screen!”
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Alongside these insights into the people in Lucero’s professional life, you’ll also see how she turns fashion shows into mini-performances. “The film included everything that goes into Mona’s design process, from sketching to draping fabric on the dress form. Another aspect of the film is about how she uses social media to create an artistic world on and offline.”
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Following the designer through informal street shoots for casual styles and a Parisian-style vignette inspired by Jean Cocteau’s film Beauty and the Beast in more romantic surroundings, Art & Style also reveals how Lucero artfully shapes her branding through creative presentations, packing a lot of dazzling visual information into the film’s slight 22-minute length. Adding to the package is a stunning soundtrack with music by Low Sea, Freescha, Molly Nilsson and Denver’s own Prep Rally.
See Art & Style: Mona Lucero for one night only on the big screen at a reception and viewing event from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, October 12, at the Landmark Mayan Theatre, 110 Broadway. The glitzy evening will include a peek at outtakes and extra footage (and “other surprise content”), all for the price of $10, which will help cover the cost of renting the theater.
“Basically, it’s movie-quality, and we wanted to see it on a screen that shows the beauty of Michael’s filming,” Lucero says. “That’s why we’re doing this, and also as a way to give thanks to everyone involved.” Art & Style is now available to view on YouTube. Learn more about Mona Lucero online.