You haven't really experienced the holidays until you've seen the historic and elegant Grant-Humphreys mansion on Quality Hill in seasonal dress, with poinsettias lining the grand staircase and light streaming into the first-floor sunroom. That was the setting last Sunday for Fashion Denver's quarterly shopping spree, Vixen, a festive holiday market of unique and talented local vendors, compiled by FD boss, Brandi Shigley. The cheerful event, with hourly fashion shows featuring models posing on the stairs, included beautiful clothes and accessories -- stuff you won't see every day -- for all generations of style-conscious women.
Caleb Slade (of Fray fame, and the brother of Isaac) crooned his modern ballads at the mansion's grand piano, and Shigley flitted here and there in reindeer antlers: "I don't care if it's cheesy," declares the ever-bright Shigley of her choice to wear antlers at Vixen. "It's the holidays."
Here's what we saw and loved at Vixen; many of the vendors there are also represented all the time at the Fashion Denver, 1070 Bannock Street, or click the vendor names for links to their websites.
Natalee Moldenhauer makes custom millinery fit for a queen, with every detail perfect and every beautiful silken rose just so. And if you're just a young lady heading out for a night on the town, she also makes elegant headbands and hair accessories that will make an outfit.
Meredith Brown's BarBieQued line defies all preconceptions you might have about what's stylish: She rakishly arranges Barbie doll heads on brightly hued plumage of feathers and artificial flowers to make these flashy brooches for a lapel or hat. And they blow you right away: No matter that it's a doll head and you're wearing it, and...yeah. BarBieQued brooches are hot. Brown also makes dangling earrings from Barbie hands and started out using the fashion doll's legs for purse handles. Lily Bell's marvelous head pieces, all sparkle and fluff, dress up a pretty 'do like a Christmas package: In fact, some of her creations are actually little wrapped gift boxes that you tie on with ribbon for a play on the Gothic Lolita look. But she also has tie-ons with sweet little bluebirds or fancy red doves nested in feathers and glitter, maroon flower petals topped with a spider, glittery bows and other adorables to spark up a holiday party outfit. Molli Yoder's Skylark360 jewelry is a dangerous tango between metal and unusual beads, utilizing bold color schemes and sometimes even mixing metals in a single piece. Currently, she's showing a line inspired by birds, with colors determined by the plumage of different breeds. Show-stoppers, all of them.
Francis Roces, a Fashion Denver regular, was there fresh off his win at Frock Out 2010, with a rack of beatifully layered Kimono Dragons creations, some made with a luscious East-West fabric interplay in mind.
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Leeanne Pulston, who makes dichroic glass jewelry and whimsical hats and scarves from multicolored felt, and Linda Starcevich of the Anastasia Collection, who makes jewelry, shared a beautiful booth. Both looked lovely, wrapped in their own (and each other's) creations, as evidenced by this shot of Leeanne, wearing a floor-length felted coat and sky blue hat of her own making. And we also loved Starcevich's dangling mini-purses. One-of-a-kind (the ladies and their wares).
Lesley Temple's tutus were wonderfully wow!; her voluminous House of Arden clouds of tulle are as much at home on the dance floor as they are at the barre, and she sells them for both purposes. This model literally floated down the stairway:
Didn't make it to Vixen, but like what you see? Lighten up: Clothing and accessories by many of these and additional designers will be for sale Thursday, December 16 at Fashion Denver's holiday party from 6 to 9 p.m. at the boutique. Call 720-974-2200.