Passion for fashion puts Hoover Dam in unique spotlight

It’s rare for a runway show to start at 8 a.m., and even more rare for it to take place at a National Historic Landmark situated between Homeland Security SUVs and police vehicles. In the first catwalk of its kind, fashion entrepreneur and model Jessica Minh Anh showcased the work of seven designers (from Texas to Turkey) on the Hoover Dam. One hundred invitees sat beneath white parasols to protect them from the sun and 105-degree heat as models walked across the dam in elaborate ensembles.

The event was the latest of more than a dozen high-profile fashion shows Minh Anh has staged at iconic locations around the world — including the Eiffel Tower, One World Trade Center and even the Grand Canyon Skywalk in 2013. Hoover Dam, she said, was a natural choice because of its significance as an engineering marvel as well the stunning desert surroundings. “I’m very honored and proud of all the people who helped make this happen,” Minh Anh said moments after the show. “I feel very special, like a princess.”

The logistics of this event, with its restrictions and required permits (including setting up at 3 a.m. to accommodate the early start time) made this more of a challenge than others. “But it was all worth it at the end,” Jessica said.

Tourists and onlookers delighted in catching a glimpse of the fashions in such an unusual setting.

“This is the most high-end international event we have ever had here,” said spokeswoman Rose Davis. “The contrast of these beautiful dresses against this austere engineering feat that is the pride of America was incredible.” … Despite the beautiful imagery, there was an even bigger reason Hoover Dam officials were eager to work with Minh Anh to make her vision a reality. “Opening Hoover Dam up to the world’s fashion designers is a way of inviting the world to come see Hoover Dam themselves.“

Designer Syeda Amera traveled from Pakistan to see her creations featured.  “It’s like a dream come true,” said Amera, whose gowns have been featured in five other shows produced by Minh Anh. “There is no doubt for me that this is the best so far.”

Or at least until the next one. Minh Anh said she is already scouting locations for another show before returning to her Paris home.