By Johnny Riddle, director of advancement, Short North Alliance
On Saturday, Oct. 28, HighBall Halloween will celebrate 16 years of costumes and creativity with a return to High Street for the first time since 2019. While readers may know HighBall Halloween designer Gerardo Encinas for his high-drama runway collections or statement-making ready-to-wear pieces, Gerardo is breaking new fashion ground for himself this year: costumes. And what better runaway to do that on than the 2023 Costume Couture Fashion Show?
Johnny: You have been creating striking, high-fashion pieces for the runway for nearly a decade. What inspired you to apply and try your hand at costumes for this year’s HighBall Halloween?
Gerardo: Thank you, Johnny! I’ve always wanted to be part of HighBall Halloween, but usually, I’ve been busy at this time of the year with other projects. Now, it is different; I decided to take the time and participate because I love designing couture gowns, costumes and the Halloween season. Mixing them is an excellent opportunity to be creative, have fun and showcase a side of me that only a few people have seen.
Johnny: How will you incorporate your signature style into the costume design?
Gerardo: Part of my signature style is to design pieces that have drama, so that will be a perfect fit for the Costume Couture Fashion Show. Since I have no limits on what I can design for this collection, my creativity also has no limits, and I can be as dramatic and big as I want.
Johnny: HighBall Halloween Costume Couture Fashion Show creations often incorporate non-traditional materials and techniques. What are you most excited about trying for the first time?
Gerardo: I am incorporating feathers in my couture pieces, which is very exciting. Feathers can make a costume look couture, elegant, mysterious and even spooky. I am also using a new technique to create hairpieces, which makes me very happy because it will complete each look and bring a cohesive vibe to the whole collection.
Johnny: How do you envision your costume and collection standing out amongst the other designers and impressing the judges?
Gerardo: I’ve seen the work of the other designers participating this year, and I know it is going to be hard to stand out amongst them because they’re so good, and most of them have previous experience with HighBall Halloween, but I will do my best to bring something new to the stage, pieces that are not just costumes but couture pieces that could be on the runway of any Fashion Show in the world.
Johnny: What’s the best thing about the Columbus art scene right now?
Gerardo: The best thing is that it continues to grow. There is always something to do or somewhere to enjoy an art event or admire the public art around the city. The fashion scene is part of the art scene, and Columbus has much to offer.
Johnny: Without giving too much away, what can we expect when your models hit the runway during the Costume Couture Fashion Show?
Gerardo: You can expect dramatic, elegant and mysterious pieces. A well-thought-out collection of costumes designed with a couture look in mind. I hope everyone comes to see it!
Catch Gerardo’s designs in the Costume Couture Fashion Show during HighBall Halloween on Saturday, Oct. 28. The night will feature an over-the-top public costume contest hosted by Virginia West and NBC 4’s Matt Barnes and Monica Day. Performances from Anna and the Annadroids, The West Family, The Rocky Horror Picture Show by Short North Stage and MojoFlo, with a special guest appearance by Nina West, will excite you for the Costume Couture Fashion Show. And you’ll be dancing all over High Street as we close the night with The Orphan The Poet. For tickets and more information, visit highballcolumbus.org.
This article is part of a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council as part of the Art Makes Columbus campaign. Explore a calendar of events, public art database and artist stories at columbusmakesart.com. To learn more about GCAC grants visit gcac.org.