On Feb. 13, we lost Gabe Doelger – a very good man, friend to many, gentleman and style icon.
Gabe’s exuberance and enthusiasm for life, his wild sense of humor, playfulness, charm and class were joyfully and confidently revealed in his self-named “flashy/trashy” style. He adored the 1970s and everything about that decade: the cars and vans, toys, horror movies, the styles and the clothing.
Gabe dressed in full ’70s vintage lots of the time: big aviator sunglasses, wide-collared shirts, leisure jackets, flared poly pants, big belt buckles, short leather ankle-zip boots. It all looked classy and marvelous on his big, tall frame and he knew it. In his singular style, a fabulously-dressed Gabe would greet you with a big smile framed by his red horseshoe moustache and bright blue eyes. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word and made us feel very special indeed.
Gabe invented Flashy/Trashy Fridays at Fort Lewis College, inspiring style while looking straight out of a John Cassavetes film. When Gabe rolled casual he looked vintage-rural-fabulous in Carhartts or ’70s pants, black quilted western jacket, Misfits or horror film tee, his signature aviator shades and a trucker cap.
Gabe was an FX makeup artist and costume designer, horror-film aficionado, forensic anthropologist, recent FLC graduate and a knowledgeable purveyor of vintage clothing, among many other fascinating things.
Gabe and I first met a few years ago when he started selling clothing to Sideshow. He walked in with his friend Wolf (also a snappy dresser) and I thought, “Yeaaah, who are THESE cats? They look like My People!” It was so fun to have Gabe as an enthusiastic and knowledgeable colleague and friend to laugh with, marvel at and appreciate all the special, esoteric details of ’70s clothing, style and culture. Gabe remains a blessing and an inspiration to me personally and professionally, I am grateful to have known him.
A Celebration of Life will be held for Gabe Doelger from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday in the Student Union Building at FLC. Gabe would have liked to see everyone there dressed in ’70s styles, don’t you think?
Heather Narwid owns Sideshow, a vintage clothing store here in Durango. She is sad this week.