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Carnival of Love Fashion Show Celebrates Inclusivity and Self-Love

Unlike a typical fashion show, the Carnival of Love produced by City Misfits Production combined artistic talents like eating fire, belly dancing, violin playing and singing. An evening full of entertainment and creativity, it was evident from the beginning that this was no ordinary fashion show.

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Before the show even began, women dressed up in sparkly attire walked around the room on stilts, belly dancers dazzled the audience and a tarot card reader gave audience members their fortune — evidently playing on the carnival theme.

Opening the show was a dance performance that included eating fire. Then the host for the evening, singer EnVee opened with an enthusiastic greeting describing the fashion show as “infused with romance,” and “celebrating fashion, love and the thrill of carnival.” 

KOSM Triggered Futures

The show’s nonprofit partner was KOSM Triggered Futures, a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for mental health. Owner Natasha Barshalom started it when she had a mental breakdown and lived in Columbia for 11 months and came back refreshed wanting to make a difference.

“We acknowledge the importance of mental health,” Barshalom said. “We provide different events and education.”

KOSM also helps with the homeless community by building relationships with individuals by hosting a variety of events — one in particular is called Winning Wednesday. They host complimentary haircuts, massages, acupuncture and more.

“We have donations that come together,” Barshalom said. “We have a women’s storefront, we provide food, we do open mic nights and we hang out for hours.” 

It’s because of their advocacy and programs for the community that KOSM has gained recognition on CBS and been named Denver’s Heroes.

Astral Vision Designs

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Astral Vision Designs kicked off the celebration of love and fashion with a modern 70s’ sexy collection. Models walked in pairs to a live violinist that included intricate ties and cut outs. 

The velvet material combined with the sleek silhouette felt like a unique twist on almost rave wear. With hoods, trippy patterns and garments that are freshly tailored to each individual — it was evident that Astral Vision Designs was not afraid to challenge the fashion norms. 

Stoked LA 

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Inspired by Barbie, designer Leah Sullivan wanted her models to look like dolls. From the 60’s beehive hair to vibrant colors, Sullivan brought a tasteful yet fun collection to the runway. Her trademark hoodies paired with layers of tulled skirts combined comfort with high fashion — something that she has wanted to implement since her brand launched in 2020.

“Stoked LA is focused on bringing style and comfort together that’s really the whole purpose of it,” Sullivan said. “You dont have to sacrifice your style to be comfortable.”

Each hoodie came with a saying or graphic like a smiley face, hearts or stars. Topped with fun bottoms and knee high socks and heels — the collection truly showed that hoodies and sweatpants can be just as fashionable.

It’s Sullivan’s eye for pairing the unthinkable together that results in a one of a kind runway experience. 

Tokiprism

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Growing up in Tokyo, designer Nagisa Corbett also known as TOKI wanted to combine her Japanese roots with her love for Tokyo fashion in her brand Tokiprism. Growing up, her grandma was also a fashion designer and inspired her to start her own brand. 

“It’s very inspired by goth industrial and I take a lot of inspiration from the rave scene,” Corbett said. “I love wearing black and mixing a lot of straps, it’s super inspired by gothic fashion but also Tokyo fashion.”

READ: Denver Fashion Week Behind the Scenes with Tokiprism

Her inspiration is evident in her grungy streetstyle collection. From chains, corsets, oversized pants and tees Corbett truly combined her love for fashion with art. In combination with being a designer, Corbett also paints and has been playing around with screenprinting her own creations on her garments. It’s evident in the swords, spiders and intricate art details on the clothes. 

“This collection I’ll be showing are the clothes that I want to start doing,” Corbett said. “I feel like throughout the years I’ve started my brand I was just learning how to make clothing but now I feel like I’m starting to really find my style.”

Needless to say, her unique symbols and layered garments easily drew the audience in. That and Corbett walking out with oversized scissors at the end of her collection. 

Dark Light Imagery

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With an industrial and modern take on the Victoria Secret wings, Dark Light Imagery combined art with fashion. Each pair of wings tied together every look beautifully.

From gold and white feathers to red and black bat like wings, the collection felt powerful and badass. The ripped materials intricately intertwined truly showed the beautiful craftsmanship. With that being said, combined with a live electric guitarist playing as models walked and the attention to detail helped make each look feel as if they had their own personality. 

Mauro Hernandez

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Think Victorian era meets modern couture and that’s what Mauro Hernandez’s collection entailed. With long trains and lace detailing, the collection was everything one can hope for.

Between the unique beading, corset bodices, feathers and sheer/layered fabrics Hernandez showed that couture collections can also have streetwear undertones — something super unique to witness. Some models wore ripped jeans with a glossy shirt and beaded necklaces while others wore a dress made out of ties, Hernandez truly created a stunning cohesive collection. 

Wild Ride Design

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A model holding fire in her hands opened the finale segment setting the tone perfectly for the spicy Wild Ride Design collection.

As a celebration of all genders, most, if not all, models were topless making a true celebration of self love. Combining the lingerie-esque garments with sparkly sheer coverups created a perfect sexy look. Between the chains, sheer fabrics and fluffy material, Wild Ride Design showed the audience the true meaning of empowerment. 

Fire Throwing & Spinning Performers

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Between the glitz and the glamour of fashion, the Carnival of Love also presented a various assortment of entertainment. In between collections, a performer would entertain with fire. One was a belly dancer with fire on her hands, head and waist who ate the fire to burn it out. Another was an acrobat who bent, twisted and spun in ways that had the crowd in awe. In Lady Gaga-esque heels another poll danced as a ring was on fire. 

Needless to say, the audience was dazzled.

In addition to the bending, spinning and twisting, musical performances were just as notable. With a live violinist, guitarist and cellist the show truly felt like an immersive experience. EnVee also sang P!nk’s “What About Us” during intermission. 

With the countless performances and entertainment combined with the glamorous and spicy collections, the Carnival of Love truly felt like a celebration of self love and power. It created a space for those to embrace the unconventional or as Envy ended the show, “Redefines this narrative of beauty standards, be unapologetically yourself.”

All photos by Lily Fox

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