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Snowdown pulls Shakespeare onto the catwalk with jokes and laughter

Fashion Shall and Shall Nots displays Durangoan’s creativity and showmanship
The Here Ye Come Ye Lady Lola’s group show off their costumes at the Snowdown Fashion Shall and Shall Nots on Wednesday at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

The Snowdown Fashion Shall and Shall Nots drew hundreds of attendees Wednesday dressed in their Elizabethan-era best, or an eclectic mix of other styles, including one gentleman dressed as George Washington, and some even dressed as lizards, dragons and King Tut.

No costume was too outrageous or too ridiculous, as the event itself is a celebration of Durango’s long-embraced history as the worst-dressed town in the U.S., at least according to a decade’s-old write-up in USA Today.

“We took that and ran with it,” said Linda Mannix, one of the show’s original organizers. “Having a show about fashion do’s and don’ts celebrates the fact that we’re known for bad fashion.”

Linda Mannix, dressed as Donetella Versace, welcomes people to Snowdown Fashion Shall and Shall Nots. “We’ve been doing this for 25 years,” said Mannix, also one of the original founders of Snowdown. “It’s a fun way to relieve some cabin fever this time of year.” (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Whatever attendees wore to the event, human spirits were high as liquid spirits and boxed wine were poured into modern-day goblets, i.e., plastic cups.

“We’ve been doing this for 25 years,” said Mannix, also one of the original founders of Snowdown. “We have about 100 models, helpers and volunteers this year, which is great. We also have about 500 people attending. The proceeds from this event goes toward funding Snowdown, which is a nonprofit organization. It’s a fun way to relieve some cabin fever this time of year.”

Jeff Mannix, dressed as Gene Pool Gaultier, walks the runway to thunderous applause. (Jerry McBride/The Durango Herald)
Susan Lane, dressed as Queen Victoria’s Secret, helps open the show. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Dressed as fashion icon and designer, Donatella Versace, Mannix opened the fashion show with the flare and pizzazz of someone who’s become a pro at getting the crowd revved up for the events to come.

Pizzazz was the name of the game for those who participated in the fashion show, as well as a cheeky sense of wit and humor. Spontaneous audience dancing was encouraged in between catwalk models strutting their stuff with stage names such as The Queen of Farts (sound effect included), Winter of Disco-Tent (hanging disco ball included), Joust About Perfect (metallic gift bags used as a knight’s helm) and Charcuterie Broad, also known as Durango resident Lesley Ponce, who walked the runway with a cutting board full of sliced meat and cheese and a crown decorated with green olives.

One of the highlights of the show, though more Cheech and Chong-era than Shakespearean, were the Smokin’ 9-to-5 trio, a group of women dressed as Durango slackers surrounded by clouds of pot smoke and carrying gigantic marijuana joints and bongs, while dancing to Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” song.

Petie Hunt dances down the runway as Lady Godiva. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

“We used to always use the expression ‘Durango Tango,’ which meant Durangoans who work four or five jobs just to get by,” said Shaheen Hangval, one of the trio who has been participating in Snowdown Fashion Do’s and Dont’s for 19 years. “But since COVID, we now have all these slackers who don’t want to work anymore and just want to have fun. That’s what inspired our costumes.”

The show closed with all of the models dancing along the catwalk, while the audience jumped up from their seats and danced along to the music.

The audience dance along with the runway performers at the end of the show. “When you do dance, I wish you a wave o' the sea, that you might ever do nothing but that,” wrote Shakespeare. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

With wide eyes and a smile on her face, audience member Katie Philips watched the festivities with delight and fascination. Having moved to Durango a little over a year ago, this is Philips’ first experience with Snowdown and the popular Fashion Do’s and Don’ts (Shall and Shall Nots) event.

“This is awesome,” she said with a laugh. “Amazing. The Front Range has nothing on this!”


Revenge should have no bounds and neither should Durango Shakespearean-era fashion at Snowdown’s Fashion Shall and Shall Nots show. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)
The Secret Circus Society’s Ben Dukeminier gets ready to dazzle the crowd at the Fashion Shall and Shall Nots show. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

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