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Full throttle towards February: return of Fashion Week | News


The pandemic has pushed last year’s iconic Telluride AIDS Benefits fashion gala not just to another time, but to another location.

Covid-19 has forced the creative talent behind one of winter’s most popular events to push their limits to make the show happen. The results were literally dizzying: The show took place at Telluride Regional Airport, model runway next to the literal runway.

It was a resounding success, recalls TAB executive director Jessica Galbo.

The only fashion show of its kind in the world and the tallest in North America (TEX’s elevation is 9,078 feet), it was a huge challenge.

We loved it, said Galbo.

Indeed, the forces behind TAB relish enormous challenges. And as fast as you can tell, omicron variant, here’s another one: the increase in Covid cases has forced some changes to the TAB fundraiser, scheduled for February 17-19 in its usual season (winter) and its location (the Telluride Conference Center).

There will be limited attendance this year, Galbo said. We usually have 500 people in the audience. This time there will be around 300. The size of the audience is about the only thing smaller than usual, the word certainly does not apply to the ambition and enthusiasm that characterizes the event TAB lighthouse. Auditions for her fashion show, for example, were held at the Palm Theater last weekend.

We had turnouts as high as ever, Galbo said. We had to make some tough decisions. There were twice as many people for the number of seats available.

Much like last year’s performances (this was only about six months ago), seating at this year’s party will be in pods.

People love this concept, Galbo said. Pods allow for a much more customer-centric experience. For those who choose VIP service, drinks will be brought to your table, along with a pre-selected assortment of snacks and appetizers, if desired. You don’t even really have to get up.

The artistic director of the show is Molly Wickwire-Sante; Choreographer (and assistant director) Diina Tamm is due to arrive in Telluride from her base in New York this weekend.

Diina’s first experience at Telluride was modeling for the fashion show, Galbo said. I know she and Molly are up for the challenge. I’m sure I’ll handle the challenges well, she added. Well have the same number of models as before. Everyone must be vaccinated. We were as sure as possible. If we keep the same number of models, hopefully they can replace each other if someone tests positive. I’m sure to face staffing challenges, just like everyone else.

The mechanics of the show will present other challenges. The track, for example, is an innovation: it’s shaped like an X. It’s completely different and very exciting, Galbo said. The first time in 29 years that the track has a different shape.

The anticipation for fashion week is also very high: about 75% of the tickets for the Saturday show sold out almost as soon as they went on sale.

I want to express my gratitude to the community for coming together to help those less fortunate, Galbo said. It’s really tough for everyone right now, regardless of your location or economic level. At the same time, we need to celebrate each other, she added. We have to learn to live with this virus as safely as possible, but we also have to live. Our vulnerable population is hit by two pandemics, Covid and HIV, and in some cases HIV testing has dropped by 80% due to the pandemic. So we really can’t let up on the gas right now, Galbo summed up, and that’s not my style.

To learn more about TAB recipients and to purchase tickets to Fashion Week shows, visit




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