Story by: Aubrey Houdeshell
Photography by: Nino Silva and Vy Pham
On February 26th, one of Denver’s most historic buildings, Union Station, was transformed into a stunning venue. Goodwill Denver partnered up with Union Station to host Union’s first ever fashion show, and their fifth annual En Vogue show.
Denver-based fashion designer Mondo Guerra, winner of Project Runway All-Stars, and Emmy-award winning fashion icon and mentor on Project Runway, Tim Gunn, hosted the evening. The goal of the night: to raise as much money as possible for Goodwill’s career development programs.
The middle of Union Station’s terminal had been dressed up in black, gold, and white. A large runway sat in the middle of the station, mini-stages with over-sized spotlights were placed smartly around the perimeter. Plush grey and black couches sat in the make-shift VIP lounges where mystery gift bags lined the seats.
The fashion show was split into two segments. The evening opened with fashion designs from local students that Guerra had personally been mentoring over the past month. Before the show began, however, we were invited downstairs for a brief press conference.
Gunn and Guerra met us in one of the conference rooms downstairs, against a Goodwill backdrop. Gunn sported a double-breasted navy blue suit over a white button down and burnt-orange tie, paired with dark brown suede shoes. In true Mondo Guerra spirit, Guerra wore a white suit patterned with large, whimsical black flowers over a black button-down and tie.
“There’s been a few full circle moments for me since coming off [Project Runway]. When Goodwill approached me about participating I said yes because when I started really getting interested in fashion, I went to Goodwill to deconstruct and reconstruct clothes,”
“That’s how I learned—I would dissect things and look at how they were put together and use them as pattern pieces, and this was really my education. So to give back, and see the creative minds of young students, and see their work, is very special to me because I was there once too,”
Back upstairs, Gunn and local 7NEWS meteorologist, Lisa Hidalgo, opened up the evening. Guerra spoke briefly about his experience working with the students, and how excited he was for the evening.
The student’s had put together modern looks that were inspired by fashion throughout the last century. From the 1900’s all the way into the future! Their challenge: to create each look by de-constructing and re-constructing clothing from Goodwill to create their look.
Priscilla Sawicki, from Denver School of the Arts, opened up the show with her look inspired by the 1900s. She created a navy blue top and high-low skirt, embellished with lace. Set off with pearls, and a tall, blonde up-do, her look was the perfect opener for the show.
The next look was easily the most shocking and controversial of the show. A model in women’s undergarments came out. In the likeness of the 1900s dresses, she wore the skeleton hoop around her waist. Gold chains and knee-high boots accented the black lingerie, but gave the over-all look more of a nod to BDSM than to the 1900s.
After the models made their debut at the end of the runway, each made their way around the stage, stopping to pose at the mini-stages around the runway. Men in black button-downs and gold ties escorted the models on and off the stages.
The top three looks of the night were from the 20s, 50s, and the future. The look from the future featured a flirty button-down with a white and red patterned collar, embellished with a plaid pocket on the breast. This was worn underneath an adorably cut jacket and matched up with a darker, peplum skirt and knee-high socks. The overall look was smartly styled and very fashion-forward.
The second place winner, from the 50s, consisted of the iconic waitress-like dress underneath an olive green military jacket. The bottom of the jacket also had the peplum-feature, created by layers of camo-lace. The classic victory rolls and red-lipstick made an appearance, setting off the 50s vibe perfectly.
The first place look of the evening came from the 20s era. It was a smartly proportioned, almost sheer, jumpsuit that cut off at the knee. The jumpsuit was paired with a flirty, lavender over-lay and nude, peep-toed pumps. The model donned the likeness of Emma Watson; it was almost hard to believe this look had been designed by a high school student.
The winner of the student-portion of the fashion show, Jackie Rodriguez, a junior at CEC Middle College of Denver, received an internship with Guerra for the summer, and a scholarship to Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. The internship also leads to a chance to become Guerra’s apprentice.
The second portion of the show featured local celebrities including news anchors, radio personalities, and local fashion models. They wore looks put together by clothing from Goodwill’s Deja Blue Boutique, which is located in the upscale Cherry Creek North area.
Women and men sported hot looks for the upcoming spring season. Each outfit consisted entirely of clothes, shoes, and accessories from Deja Blue, and the models were styled by Stephanie O., a former contestant of Project Runway’s Under the Gunn.
Black and white patterned skirts, dresses, and tops were the main attraction of the evening. Navy blue, ankle boots, and large pearls also made an appearance throughout the night. Each theme in the outfits is currently trending for spring.
The outfits were also styled so they could be worn to a myriad of places: the office, date-night, every day wear. Deja Blue showcased outfits for a range of ages, as well.
“People [here] are chic and fashionable. In fact, I think you guys could easily upstage anyone in New York,”
“When I meet a designer from somewhere other than New York, such as Denver, it peaks my curiosity,”
“It used to be you needed to be in New York to manufacture anything. Those days are over. You can really be anywhere and run a fashion business.”
This night was about more than just fashion, though. Between the two showcases, a live auction was held.. All proceeds from the auction went towards Goodwill’s career development programs for at-risk youth and struggling adults.
Prizes such as a trip to Mexico, a trip to LA, and lunch with Mondo Guerra were auctioned off. After the prizes, show attendees were asked to make donations ranging from $50-$5000. Altogether, the show raised over $118,000 for Goodwill’s career development program.
“Goodwill’s outreach into the community is well known,”
“They are all about problem-solving and raising the bar for how people live their lives and the opportunities that they have. I am blown away by what they are able to achieve,”
Photos from Goodwill En Vogue Fashion Show 2015