In a glamorous room at the Dairy Block, there's a place for women to play with their own definitions of self by dressing up. The Cat Club invites women to immerse themselves in imagination. Inside the doors, they are no longer contained by any role or responsibility. Rather than the many metaphorical hats they wear, they can choose, instead, to wear a tiara or a Stetson. They can be any version of themselves: They can be anyone at all.
The Cat Club, at 1855 Blake Street, is a private event space for a girls' night out. It includes a 36-foot runway and a dress-up closet filled with dazzling items of clothing. The club is an expansion of Blue Ruby Boutique, run by longtime Denver retailer Julie Watson. She says she was inspired to create the space after seeing so many customers want to model the clothes in her store for their friends and companions. The Cat Club is a space where women are meant to feel empowered and embrace their beauty.
The runway dominates the event space with understated elegance. It’s made from railroad-car flooring and stretches between plush, jewel-toned couches. The mauve walls are filled with ornamental gold clocks, mirrors and framed paintings. They’re all antiques, hand-curated by Watson from Eron Johnson Antiques, 377 South Lipan Street. She evokes nostalgia through her selection of vintage items while giving women the opportunity to revisit their youth with an evening of dress up.
Women can rent the space for private groups of ten for $100 an hour. Additional guests pay $10 per person, and the space currently allows for 25 individuals at a time per COVID-19 safety-guidelines.
From there, customers choose their own adventure. They can hire stylists to fashion their hair and makeup ($200), photographers to capture their images ($300), DJs to enhance the mood ($250) and chilled champagne with pricing upon request.
The real treat, Watson says, is the dress-up closet (accessible for $200), whose items have been selected to suit many sizes and styles. There are designer clothes, angel wings, tutus, beaded gowns, leather-fringed jackets and a flock of high heels.
She says she learned as a teenager how powerful and important it can be to transform a day and one’s perspective through an outfit. “You don’t have to be just one version of yourself,” she explains. Clothing allows creativity, and the Cat Club turns it up a notch. “You can be as fun and as silly as you want. It’s a judgment-free zone,” she adds.
Replacing judgment with self-expression is an important lesson to internalize, Watson explains. It’s a tonic to life’s trials and tribulations. On Monday, she showcased the Cat Club on International Women’s Day to reiterate that message. She juxtaposed the lighthearted nature of the room with the strength many women find to push through hardship to support themselves and their families. “Strong women are what made me want to be in business, what made me love clothes and fashion,” she continues.
To Watson, the line between beauty and humor, seriousness and drive, hardship and happiness is more gracefully entwined than some may imagine. “I think the best way to uplift somebody is by making them feel special, by making them smile, by making them understand how really, truly beautiful they are on the inside,” she says.
“I know this seems frivolous and silly, but it’s not," Watson adds. "It’s fun, and it makes people laugh, and it makes people happy, and all of those things are healthy and good for us.”
Bookings can be made on the Cat Club’s website.
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