Faithful followers of local fashion tore themselves away from the seemingly endless string of barbecue-centric parties this weekend (seriously everyone I saw seemed utterly exhausted) for fall collections from five Portland designers at an event called PDX Collections on Sunday evening. The outdoor runway show kicked off with the sharp angles of Sharon Blair's menswear influenced collection, dominated by military-inspired jackets and trousers, although the best looks, in my opinion, were softened with skirts, particularly a full black and white striped piece pleated at the hips. In general, the line was more successful at the lesser end of the severity scale, when it steered away from being overworked.
Hit the jump for more comments and photos by Minh Tran.
Adam Andreas (who made fellow designer Adam Arnold, who sat next to me at the show, do a double take every name his name was spoken) is known for his imaginative ideas for menswear design, witnessed here in such pieces as dropped-crotch trousers and breezy blouses. It's a look that only a very particular man could wear with confidence, but the less timid would do well to notice Andreas' ability to make a smart piece here and there, like a nice fitting pair of pants in quiet black, that doesn't require such aspirational levels of moxie.
Carolyn Hart was up next, whose strongest pieces were simple with added structural details, like a clean lined dress with asymmetric hem. Several of the skirts were constructed in such a way as to create a buoyant, mini-bustle effect that was playful if a bit nerve-wracking in the breeze. A swirling, unflattering print dress was out of place in what was almost an entirely dark, neutral palette, and one LBD's furry bottom panel drew unfortunate comparisons to various unwanted body hair. Hart was at her best when focused on sharp lines and subtle variations on classics.
Clair is known for making and showing clothing designed to flatter a curvier body type than the usual runway specimen, and her style has frequently taken its cue from vintage styles. The big, floppy bows and plain dresses that were presented were something of a surprise from this designer, the repetition having undermined some of the virtues intended in the collection's overall simplicity.
The star of the show was, as anticipated, Janeane Marie, whose futuristically themed collection showed flexibility, hard work, and talent in a sexy mix of sheer-paneled and armor-sharp pieces that hit every mark from dress to pants to tops to suit, ending in a beguiling little white dress. The highlight of the collection was perhaps the detailed attention given to the shoulders of each piece, brimming with detail and wicked little peaks of shape.