Gilbert Votion singing “Love” by Lana Del Rey. Enrique Bonilla, The Paisano

This past Wednesday, Brass Monkey (on the St. Mary’s strip) was host to a forest freckled with woodland nymphs, pagan faeries and a guild of mages voguing to strobe lights. “The Realm of The Fey” was the second fashion show curated by San Antonio’s Fernando Solis.

“I am a little nervous. It was a lot to put together. This is my first show I’m putting together completely on my own,” said Solis. “We added more aspects like performers with the halftime show. We want to make the audience feel like they’re being transported to a woodland place, a shire if you will.”

This installation, in an ongoing series conducted by 27-year-old Solis, was the visualization of a night-time folklore story for which the usually packed Brass Monkey dance floor was cleared away for a black “L” shaped runway. Witches, spirits and other sprites were arraigned in garments that sparkled against the lights and disco ball above the runway.

“The Realm of the Fey” was brought to life through the vision of Diamond Dreamer, Jessie Reyes, Wayne Holtz and Brandi Zancketti. The four artists created a unique aesthetic, which shapeshifted throughout the course of the evening.

As the show began, glitter and lace adorned the models that strutted in a packed Brass Monkey. White lights spun against every metallic surface creating an otherworldly atmosphere. The outfits that followed had an autumnal tinge to them reminiscent of an ancient life force that dwells in the deeper parts of the forest unknown to man. Each model was decorated with chain veils that played back and forth with the light show above.

The intermission of the show was raucous, with 808 beats and lights palpitating against Nate the Boy Wonder and Gilbert Votion’s vogue dance. The crowd was highly interactive as camera flashes competed against the beating bass and lights. Twiggy Belladonna’s performance was evocative of an ethereal summoning of spirits with a very industrial and gothic score to accompany it. The Wicca-inspired twig veil worn on Belladonna’s face allured the viewer to a point of hypnotism. Votion closed out the intermission with a rendition of Lana Del Rey’s “Love.”

As the second round of models walked the runway, a darker type of magic took control over the show. The pieces evoked a more sensual and thinly veiled look: a dungeon master’s delight. Shades of poisonous green and nocturnal purple made the runway an intoxicating stage for the remaining models. By the end of the visual ritual, an entirely packed Brass Monkey was on its feet screaming and clapping as the designers and models walked across the stage.

Be on the lookout for Solis’ upcoming ventures and follow him on his Instagram page, @DiamondDreamer.

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