Portland's week o'fashion is actually stretching itself out as I visit designer's studios to actually see the clothing after a string of fun but hectic events that mashed together all manner of arts and entertainment, not to mention poring over all the photographs Minh Tran took at the various events, trying to sort them out for everyone (including the people backstage) to look at here on MOD--and considering the Someday Lounge was wall-to-wall, I know there are a lot of people who were turned away from the at-capacity room wherein models walked the stage alongside often-drooling musicians. Let's relive it without the beer goggles, shall we?
First up: Reif:
Reif (by Lindsay Reif) is a relative newcomer to the scene, at least in this guise (she has been designing around town for a number of years, but this is her first full-blown collection). I like the simplicity of what she does, and she spent a lot of time talking to guys she knew for information about what they wanted from their clothing, how they liked their pants to fit, etc. And of course the women's jackets that sweep over the hips are a completely wearable dash of originality.
This line somewhat surprised me, although I can't quite pin down why. I was standing with another local designer when the dude rapping onstage introduced the next designer and we both missed it, and as we watched the collection come out tried to figure out who we were looking at. Katz's line for fall/winter of the last couple years was chock-a-block with pieces that seemed necessary and sensible (adorable trench coats, cozy dresses), and what I saw here had less of an "aha!" factor, although the simple tanks for layering (or nipple peeking) are practical enough, and there are plenty of comfortable and wearable dresses, but the cute ruffled-front denim that closed the show had the Katz signature I was looking for.
I was first introduced to Julia Blackburn and Dust when she participated in the last Mercury fashion show, and haven't seen much of her since, though she has some exciting ideas. I'm into the gypsy/squaw she's got going on, and taken alone many of these pieces would be quite wearable. Design that's heavy on embellishment has long been the norm in PDX, but Blackburn's take is more savage than girly, which distinguishes it--her day job is with Wieden + Kennedy, but I hope Blackburn continues to pursue apparel, I'd really like to see where all this goes.
Gretchen Jones, since she last showed a collection (that's when those feather headbands that have become so popular first emerged) has begun working with entermodal, and the belts she paired with her apparel here are the match-made-in-heaven product of that union. Even at 20 paces, they kick ass, and are the perfect accompaniment to the simple ruched dresses, bloomers, and tanks that were the backbone of this collection. Jones, in addition to preparing her own work, also organized the whole event, and by the looks of it she's glad its over!