The dress above—that gorgeous whirlwind of material, evocative of the sun and clouds in its yellow and white—is made entirely out of paper. Sure, the designers used a few fasteners to hold various parts of it together, and there’s a hoop at the bottom of the skirt to aid in walkability and movement, but other than that: all paper. It’s the work of a creative group from ArtHouse Design, a Denver-based studio that works in the world of branding, placemaking, and experiences—not fashion, typically. But for the 15th annual Paper Fashion Show in 2019, the ArtHouse team put their design expertise to work to create a couture garment paying homage to the year’s theme: Flight Without Wings. With four months and hundreds of hours of preparation, design, and creation, ArtHouse entered the Paper Fashion Show with this high-fashion white and gold paper gown titled Zephyrus: God of the West Winds. The style took home the DAVA’s Choice award, named for the Downtown Aurora Visual Arts nonprofit that the annual showcase of creativity supports.
The 2023 Paper Fashion Show is happening this month on April 13 at Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium. Designers have been challenged to choose a master of any art form and design a piece that embodies their brilliance—and construct it entirely out of a medium that so often is used to capture ideas as they take physical form. Far from a mere gimmick, the paper adds an unexpected element to the design, creating a texture and dimensionality through origami-like folds and lattice lacework. The designs shown on the runway will serve as a testament to the limitless possibilities of paper as a medium for boundary-pushing bespoke designs.