The Virgil Ortiz Fashion Show Le Sauvage Primitif was held in stunning Scottsdale, Arizona. Virgil’s show was the highlight of Scottsdale Fashion Week and absolutely off the charts.
The lights were low and the Scottsdale night was absolutely still. The silence was broken by the sound of a soulful electric violin. Then as the lights slowly raised an elegant, graceful violinist, shirtless and painted with bold black swirls appeared. Feathers decorated his head and he wore forearm bands fashioned out of vinyl and horsehair. Swaying as he glided down the catwalk, we were mesmerized by the poignant tune oozing from his blue, electric violin.
Following him, striking female models strolled down the runway blindfolded, and adorned with feathers or traditional Hopi Bun hairdos and brightly tinted crimson red lips. The handsome and quite buff men had faces painted with geometric patterns reminiscent of war paint and they also sported feathers while some had intricate braids in their hair. One of the men was painted the whole of his flawless body with only a loincloth to cover him. The audience swooned and audibly showed their approval as he made his appearance.
The clothes were amazing. Leather Jackets with Native patterns, symbols that were designs or prayers, horsetail braids and silver jewelry embellished his creations. Models moved smoothly down the runway in perfectly fitted black leather dresses with gorgeous white patterns. Couture dresses had Scottish Plaids or plain, basic colors. Army green, dusty natural colors and occasional splashes of bright red, metallic gold or bronze, and lots of black, white and earth colors slid past.
Virgil’s jean line includes jeans with fantastic patterns, a few with hand-painted metallic swirls down the length of one leg, and various ones adorned with studs. There were fitted leather shirts or fabric shirts. Some emblazoned with chic native faces, and then decorated with designs, some rather bare in comparison, and others with ornate metallic motifs. Several were ornamented with words like: “Renegade”, “Rezurrect”, “Indigene”.
And the Virgil Ortiz Renegade t-shirt line is the coolest ever. Some have patterns up one sleeve and an amazing strong masculine face or a beautiful woman with a rose in her mouth, bow and arrow in hand, feathers in hair and a blindfold across her eyes.
Some of the design may start on the front and then continue across the sleeve. Phrases such as “I do”, “you lie”, or words like “Renegade”, “Indigene” and other interesting sayings add dimension to each shirt.
It is my great honor to count Virgil Ortiz as one of my dearest friends. To meet him you see someone who is truly genuine as well as kind and sincere; it’s an aura that just permeates out of him. In spite of his humbleness you just know deep down that this is not your average person. It’s obvious that at the very least you are in the presence of absolute greatness.
Once you see his art you look on with complete awe and total admiration. To begin with Vigil is a world famous potter. His shows often sell out within minutes of opening. Then there is his extraordinary jewelry line. His necklaces and bracelets are show stoppers. Virgil gave me one of his gorgeous necklaces which I wear all the time. I also wear his spinach leaf design (which is his family symbol) bracelet. People stop me and comment on them everyday. Aside from all of this he makes incredible couture purses, bags and briefcases, in addition to creating incredible photographic paintings.
Born and living in Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico, Virgil’s Native American Artistic Heritage shines throughout his work. Always avant-garde without compromising traditional craftsmanship, he then adds a modern-day, “ultra cool Virgil thing” that seduces one into the unwavering realization that you must have some of his pieces!
On November17, 2007 at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, Virgil was honored as a United States Artists (USA) Fellow. This is a great honor given by the United States to nurture, support, and strengthen the work of America’s finest living artists.
Although many thousands apply, only 50 are chosen for this prestigious award. USA Fellows support a diverse array of visual, literary, performing, design, media, crafts and traditional artists. It is a big honor to br one of this group. Each artist received a large monetary grant to further their art. Congratulations Virgil!!!
Virgil Ortiz will one day be an icon such as Gucci, Versace and Louis Vuitton---of that there is no doubt.
Check out his website at:
Violinist & Performer
United States Artists
All Photos © by Judith Orr