A Very Special Cat's Pajamas Challenge

Cat has some very amazing news for the twelve designers competing in the Tamarac Square Fashion Project: Cydney Payton, the director and curator of the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art, has agreed to judge a special challenge.

As one of the leaders of the local arts community -- and a major player on the national scene -- Payton is incredibly stylish and always interested in the intersection of fashion and art. So, Cat has asked each designer to sketch an outfit for Payton to wear to a museum opening. Perhaps even the opening of the new MCA building in late 2007?

The designers have until Wednesday, April 11, to turn their sketches into Cat. She will then forward them to Payton and post them right here on The Cat's Pajamas. The winning designer will receive accommodations at the Adam's Mark Hotel, dinner for two, theater tickets, tickets to see Peace Project, the new exhibit at MCA, and a brief meeting with Payton herself.

The winner will be announced on the runway on Wednesday, April 18.

To help guide the designers, Cat asked Payton a few questions about herself and her sense of style.

Name: Cydney Payton

Bio: Cydney Payton is the executive director/chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver. As such, she has led the museum to the creation of a new building designed by British architect David Adjaye, which is set to open in the fall of 2007. Recent exhibitions include Pop Jack: From Warhol to Muramaki (2002); BLOOD: Lines & Connections (2003); PILLish: Harsh Realities and Gorgeous Destinations (2004); Over One Billion Served: Conceptual Photography from the People's Republic of China (2004); Truss Thrust: The Artifice of Space (2005), and See Into Liquid (2006).

Payton's work has received attention in hundreds of articles and publications such as Art in America, Artnews, Architectural Record, Art Papers, Metropolitan Homes, Newsweek and The New York Times. For the past four years Payton has been ranked in the top ten in "Denver's Top 25, Forces of Culture" in the Rocky Mountain News.

Payton has served on numerous public art panels including the World Affairs Conference, University of Colorado; Art in Public Places Program for the City of Denver; and Creative Capital, New York. She has taught at the University of Colorado at Denver and Rhode Island School of Design and been a frequent guest critic at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design as well as the University of Colorado at Denver School of Planning and Architecture.

How do you see art and fashion intersecting? Art makes fashion

How would you define your style? Minimal

What do you love about Denver? The sky

High heels or flats? High heels

Loose or tailored? Tailored

Jackie O or Jackie Brown? Jackie O

Favorite colors? Black

Last book you read? Creating Participatory Cultures

Vogue or W? W

Favorite designer? Miu Miu

Favorite Denver eatery? Z Cuisine

Town or country? Town

Form or function? Form

For every day: Large tote or small clutch? Large tote

Pretty or edgy? Pretty

Manolo Blahniks or cowboy boots? Manolo Blahniks

Skinny jean: great comeback or fashion faux pas better left in 1988? Faux Pas

Fashion trend you're most excited about? Red lipstick

Clothes or accessories — i.e. do you prefer basics with great accessories or are the clothes themselves the statement? The clothes themselves.

Simple and classic or theatrical and wild? Simple and classic.

Favorite local boutique? MAX

Designer you most wish you could meet (past or present)? Miuccia Prada

Favorite accessory? My wedding ring

Green chile or red chili? Green

Favorite guilty pleasure? Mr. Ping

Favorite place to travel? Into my husband's heart

Suits or separates? Separates

Prints or solids? Solids

Favorite decade for fashion? Now

Chloe Sevigny or Scarlett Johansson? Scarlett Johansson

Did you ever have big hair? Absolutely!

What's playing on your iPod? Miles Davis, Blossom Dearie, Air, De Phazz, Damian Marley, TV on the Radio.

Most stylish building in Denver? Soon-to-be MCA

Building most in need of a makeover? Penn Station, NYC