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Couture fashion isn’t child’s play, but 7-year-old Max Alexander is already a serious designer.
During Denver Fashion Week’s penultimate runway show on Saturday, eight stunning artists brought their high-end couture designs to a packed audience at York Street Yards in Denver’s Clayton neighborhood.
One of the eight artists hadn’t even hit his eighth birthday.
But Alexander had already built an impressive resume. He’s created a jacket for actress Sharon Stone and shown his work on “Good Morning America.”
@couture.to.the.max Thank you to fashion icon @Sharon Stone for supporting Max! 🙌🙏🤗 His current dream is to make @Taylor Swift a dress! 👗 Can we please all tag her and try to make it come true for this tiny fashion designer?! 🙏❤️❤️❤️ #teammax #taylorswift #sharonstone #fashionicon #winterfashion ♬ Style (Taylor’s Version) – Taylor Swift
When picking the eight designers showing at the couture show, producer and stylist Hailee Lucchesi had Alexander on her wish list. She knew he was busy and was shocked that he said yes.
“He has something in him that you can’t make up. He has something in his mind that is very rare,” Lucchesi said.
“I brought him on because I want to showcase people that are talented. I don’t care that he has millions of followers. I care that this little nugget has a gift and people need to see it.”
Nurture, nature, and fabric
“Let me emphasize this: we are not fashionable people,” said Alexander’s mom, Sherri Madison.
Though Madison can sew, and so can Alexander’s grandmothers, Alexander had no clue about fashion before he made his big announcement.
When he was 4-years-old, he told his parents he was a dressmaker. Thinking the statement outrageous, the parents laughed. Alexander was certain, though.
“He said, ‘If you get me a mannequin, I’ll show you.’ He was very serious,” Madison said.
Madison — a cardboard artist and painter — made him a cardboard mannequin. He quickly went to town.
“He started draping with anything he could find in my studio. Scraps and ribbons,” she said. “I could see something strange was happening. It was remarkable. I was watching with my jaw on the floor.”
Due to the pandemic shutdown at the time, Madison had no way to show their family the remarkable talent Alexander was displaying. She made an Instagram account to keep up with his work. It quickly grew into a social media phenomenon.
“It snowballed and snowballed. The entire time, every step of the way, we ask Max if it’s something he wants to do and if he’s having fun,” Madison said.
“For the first two years, we figured he would move on from it every day. He still says he wants to be a chef, teacher, marine biologist,” she added. “But it’s been three years now and it’s been every day. We just want him to be happy. Whatever he wants to do, we’ll let him do it.”
Alexander told “People” magazine that he was Gucci in a past life. While the parents giggle at the spiritual absurdity of the idea, they can’t deny the stunning pace at which Alexander has grown, quickly learning to out-sew his mother after a few lessons.
Madison notes that she just found out a month ago that Alexander’s great-grandfather was a well-known pattern dressmaker in Montreal.
“Maybe it’s in his DNA or his great-grandfather is sitting on his shoulder,” she laughed. “Either way, it’s like watching Mozart make music when he was seven.”
Alexander’s designs now go for around $1,400, but only when he feels like doing them. His parents are steadfast about him maintaining the fun around the art, not pushing him on any event or commission.
Madison — his now full-time manager-mother — said that they pass on about 80 percent of the things that come his way, from offers for New York City and Costa Rica fashion shows to lots of commissions.
“We are very protective,” she added. “Even with interviews. He loves the camera. If he didn’t, we wouldn’t do any interviews. I hate the camera.”
Despite showing a few pieces on television shows like “Good Morning America,” Denver Fashion Week was his first, actual fashion show. Madison felt comfortable due to the “warmness” of the staff.
“(Lucchesi) was a big part of us saying yes,” she said. “Everyone here is so nice and welcoming. It’s also a smaller, personal situation. All the people have been kind and helpful.”
The family flew out from their home in California after Alexander got off of school on Friday.
Alexander said he wasn’t nervous about his first event. He also said Denver was “fun.”
During the show, Alexander danced and laughed backstage. He was fine in the limelight, even if it was well past his bedtime.
He walked his models through their runway routines, giving directions and artistic tips like only a fashion veteran could. Despite Denver Fashion Week being his first big show, he was right at home.
Denver — the new fashion beacon
Though Alexander’s little, curly-headed smile stole the hearts of those in attendance, the stunning fashion of the seven other designers – along with the eight days of fashion the week brought about – cannot be overlooked.
Denver Fashion Week — which once began as Denver Fashion Weekend over a decade ago — has grown into a plethora of fashion-based events spanning eight days throughout the city. It’s quickly becoming a favorite in the country’s lineup of fashion events.
Last year’s fashion week brought about 81 press stories, including 23 broadcast segments, totaling $4,849,842 in ad revenue, according to Denver Fashion Week.
Lucchesi — a stylist who grew up in Colorado and graduated from CU Boulder — said the success gives her goosebumps.
She started her career in fashion editorial at “Vogue” in New York City and eventually moved to Los Angeles to work as a stylist. She moved back to Colorado in 2014, something she thought may sabotage her career.
It didn’t. The Denver region has only grown in fashion and fashion editorial since then, she added.
“As someone who had this dream of working in fashion, Denver wasn’t an option when I was in school,” she said. “I’m extremely close to my mom. So, when I started, it was difficult to know I couldn’t work in Colorado if I wanted to pursue this career. It’s so incredible that young people can work in this industry and do it here.”
She added, “I came from New York and L.A. So, for me to be satisfied in the Denver market says a lot. It’s a dream to get to marry the industry I love and the area I love.”
Lucchesi pointed toward the success of the annual fashion week and the influx of lifestyle brands as a key to the ever-growing Colorado fashion industry. North Face, for example, moved its headquarters to Denver in 2020.
Four out of the eight designers at Saturday’s show are based in Colorado.
“I don’t think Denver can be New York and L.A., but I think that’s good,” she said. “It can be a hub in its own way. It’s a huge point for the outdoor brand. The lifestyle brands are coming here. I’ve seen people travel here for shoots because of the nature.”