We're finally on the cusp of outright summer, and the pent-up exuberance is soon to be unleashed in a citywide freakout of color and skin. Last week Elizabeth Dye debuted a truly excellent collection of dresses accented with singing (in some cases, screaming) color, from spring greens to neon (pop into the English Dept. at 1124 SW Alder to see). Earlier in the season, Adam Arnold presented a feisty collection that embraced a clubby new wave aesthetic, dancing on the line between retro and experimental (see the pieces by appointment at Adam Arnold Studio, 727 SE Morrison, 234-1376). Both were indicators of the excitement with which the lighthearted months ahead are greeted, a momentum that seems to be picking up.
This week, Strut presents a sampler of local design. The lineup this year for the annual fundraiser for Basic Rights Oregon is exciting: Arnold will again show pieces from the spring line, previously viewed by an invitation-only crowd. (Ever the provocateur, expect a theatrical surprise twist.) Joining him is Magalí Corzo, debuting a 10-piece dress collection titled "Elastica," and fashioned out of comfortable, stretchy modals. Alice Dobson's Sofada features dresses in vibrant patterns and colors; Dress to Kill traffics in sexy and dramatic mini dresses and short-short jumpsuits; Popina Swimwear (4831 NE 42nd) specializes in retro-inspired, very flattering swimsuits; Amai Unmei is designed by Allison Covington, who's gearing up to open a boutique at 2275 NW Johnson to showcase her feminine dresses and swingy coats; IDOM (1600 NE Alberta), the work of Modi Soondarotok, consists of dresses and separates with a worldly, boho-sophisticate feel; and the crowd-pleasing Under U 4 Men, whose lineup of hunky models in underwear briefs and bathing suits is always a hit—if you can manage to think straight during their portion of the show, you may want to take note that they are including designs in eco fabrics like bamboo and hemp, as well as locally made pieces (Benjamin Sims' Benjamin Blak, pictured here, is making its first stateside appearance).
Rounding out the pack is Emily Katz, who is bounding ahead with pieces from her fall collection of soft, chic staples that fold seamlessly into a wardrobe. (Strut, Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell, Fri May 16, 7 pm, $12-75, 21+)