THE 11TH ANNUAL Open Season fashion series went off with nary a hitch last week, featuring new work by Portland apparel talents Altar, Brady Lange, Reif, and Adam Arnold. Each show had a distinct flavor, from rocker to minimalist to art punk.
Altar kicked things off with a four-part presentation that included summer, fall, swimwear, and a collaboration with textile artist Rio Wrenn of R.A.W. The shop/label's rocker-babe vibe featured lots of floaty, sexy sheer layers and a fearless attitude toward wearing black in the sun. While designers Cassie Ridgway and Rachel Marie Rasmussen continued their work with prints, with snappy shots of red showing up in lightweight dresses, rompers, and swimsuits, as well as appearances by moody florals and graphics. They also introduced a new experiment in fringed separates.
The following night, Brady Lange took over the patio of the Doug Fir with a well-edited collection for men and women, featuring a black-and-white brushstroke motif, as well as gold stenciled lions on shirt fronts, a smattering of glitter, a splash of stripes, and soft, grayish blues. Favorites included Lange's famous penchant for tailored jeans—which were much more interesting than your average plain white summer dungarees, and a finale look with a sheer, trained skirt suitable for an offbeat beachy wedding.
Beginning with spring/summer, moving into REIFbasik, and ending with fall/winter, Reif's runway show at Rontoms was breathtaking. Designer Lindsey Reif's silhouettes are deceptively simple but rendered in appealing fabrics and made interesting with restrained details. In her spring/summer line, this meant a mix-and-match palette of light blue chambray and linen in black and white. An oversized smocky vest showed up in both the spring and fall collections (the latter in a darker denim wash), and might be my pick for the next Reif classic (following the booming popularity of her headband/turbans). Another thing to get your hands on: one of the nubby, long, lightweight cardigan jackets that come with a built-in scarf.
Adam Arnold finished things off with one hell of a party. There were psychedelic liquid lava projections by Kevin Noonan on two walls, booming house music, cheap flowing booze, a bubble machine, and the welcome dark of the windowless Canton Grill lounge.
Arnold has a serious side and a wicked sense of humor, and his presentations can go either way. This one fell decidedly in the latter category, loaded with references to other designers' shows this week (he studiously attended and photographed each leading up to his), as well as to his own past (see an insane ski jacket quilted with stars and astrological symbols... which he actually made when he was 12). Models with blue lips and wild hair (courtesy Galen Amussen of Proper Salon) walked interpretively in sunglasses, spritzing themselves and the room with a variety of concoctions, including both breath freshener and fart spray. The whole thing was set to an original score by DJ Beyonda. For all the playfulness on display, Arnold doesn't pull punches. These are clothes for a daring eccentric, but one with high standards.