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Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale Reveals 16 Fashion Designers for Return of Jackson Hole Runway Show September 9

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Couture offerings from designers for the 2021 Western Design Exhibit + Sale include the Chihuly riding cape from first-time Utah-based exhibitor Jen X Equine & Jypsy Soul (PC: Ashley Hafstead).

Jackson Hole’s happening fall gala returns, promising a fierce-as-ever fashion show.

Sixteen designers from around the country have been selected to showcase couture collections on the runway at the Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale Preview Party + Fashion Show, September 9, 2021. After a 2020 hiatus from in-person celebration, Jackson Hole’s happening fall gala returns, promising a fierce-as-ever fashion show with new and returning designers set to reveal their latest creations. The party kicks off the four-day Western Design Exhibit + Sale uniting artists, designers, collectors and shoppers, all with a passion for the West, around the finest in American craft for home and fashion. Styles from cowboy to contemporary will be on view and available for purchase at the Snow King Center in Jackson, Wyoming, September 9 – 12, 2021.

Creating a stunning line of equine fashions following lessons learned as a long-time rider and trainer, Jen X Equine founder Jennie Hegeman brings her handcrafted, custom riding capes and ponchos from Draper, Utah, to the WDC runway for the first time. Her one-of-a-kind designs combine authentic Pendleton wool with leather and natural bison or deer shed toggles. And all the way from Chicago, Stephanie Wheat again brings Rebellion Bags to the runway show, offering a playful collection of leather and fur handbags in a variety of shapes, sizes and function.

Also new to the WDC runway, Laurie Hansen and Rachelle Albrecht, the mother-daughter creators of Albrea, draw on their nurturing professions as a nurse midwife and educator to create comforting wraps that actually “hug” you. The handmade wraps and scarves are versatile enough for formal or casual wear and feature a patent-pending stitch, sewn with elastic thread, for the lush stretchable, puckered texture. Hailing from Miami, Florida, Candy Woolley Accessories returns to the Western Design Exhibit + Sale with her luxurious line of handbags, sandals, cuffs and belts handcrafted from fine leather and snakeskin.

Stylish and sophisticated JW Bennett Western hats made in Jackson Hole and Park City by multi-generational Wyoming native Sarah Kjorstad reflect her classic style and cowboy heritage. Featuring hand-beaded bands and embroidered crown details, the hats, named after her family cattle ranch brand, also can include vintage ribbons, feathers and elk leather. Another always popular designer returning to the WDC from Sante Fe, New Mexico, is Elyse Allen Textiles, whose fine cashmere knit textile accessories include hats, scarves, ruanas, ponchos and gloves, often embellished with Austrian Swarovski crystals.

Born in Austria and beginning her passion for clothing design in Vienna before eventually becoming a Jackson Hole local 27 years ago, Helga Tesar, founder of Helga’s Design, creates every custom leather piece of apparel or accessory by hand without using a sewing machine. A previous “Best Artist” winner in the art-to-wear fashion category and WDC “People’s Choice” award honoree, Helga, attending the Exhibit + Sale for the fifth time, crafts most of her pieces from genuine deer hide. Grecian-born, and now a Denver local, Andreas Tsagas also returns to the 2021 WDC runway with one-of-a-kind fur and leather pieces from his wildly fashionable A. Tsagas Designs label. Rodeo queens and ’70s rock ‘n’ roll design inspirations set his work apart.

Montana Dreamwear by Celeste Sotola returns to the WDC runway with her always popular line of whimsically elegant and ethereal pieces for men and women. Montana Dreamwear’s standout dresses from previous shows have repeatedly earned the designer “Best Artist” for fashion and “Best Collection Fashion Show.” Taking inspiration from Montana’s extraordinary landscape and history, Sotola’s designs often include materials such as rustic leather, shearling, silk and freshwater pearls, creating an elegant style she described to “Cowboys & Indians” magazine as “a mixture of French couture, Native American and contemporary.” Returning to the show from Chicago, Gina Pannorfi’s work explores color, texture, pattern and process in scarves, shawls and apparel. In 2017, she revisited her love of batik and now uses the wax-resist process in addition to hand-painting and dyeing for tops, dresses and classic square silk scarves.

Other designers’ collections to hit the WDC runway this year include pieces from Beargrass Leather out of Lakeside, Montana; Ewka and Gossamer Wings Santa Fe, both from Santa Fe, New Mexico; Originals by Scott Wayne – The Tres Outlaws Boot Co. from El Paso, Texas; Rebecca Gilberto from Estes Park, Colorado; and, new to the WDC for 2021, Lulabelle Luxury Knits out of Twentynine Palms, California.

WDC Tickets are $20 for an Exhibit + Sale day pass September 10-12, 2021, and include daily Artitude Adjustment Happy Hours at 2 p.m. VIP early entry and reserved seating for the Preview Party + Fashion Show on Thursday, September 9, 2021, is available for $125 per person, $50 general admission; both include open bars.

About the Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale:

The annual Western Design Exhibit + Sale is a four-day, multimillion-dollar event that brings together craftspeople, collectors, interior designers, architects and fashion designers with a love of the West. The Western Design Conference was founded 29 years ago in Cody, Wyoming, to promote contemporary artists working in historical American craft methods. The Western Design Exhibit + Sale moved to Jackson Hole in 2007, where Executive Director Allison Merritt continues the strong commitment to Western arts in Wyoming while expanding the reach of the show. Additional information, including schedules and tickets, is available at westerndesignconference.com and on Facebook and Instagram.

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