Coming in at the very tail end of official Portland Fashion Week proceedings, "Fashion Collective" took over the Armory's atrium on Monday night, October 12, with some of the most impressive design work seen in Portland's recent history.
A joint effort between Fuchsia Lin, Liza Rietz, Emily Ryan, and Modi Soondarotok's Idom, the show began with a retrospective of Lin's work created from 1999 to the present in the cities of Portland, New York, and Paris. A riot of colors and textures, Lin's dramatic work is unlike what Portland's fashion crowd is used to seeing, with leather glitter-gilded superhero capes, winged sneakers, and fancifully badass ensembles referencing everyone from the Easter Bunny to a Mongolian warrior.
Lin's a tough act to follow, but Liza Rietz's sleek, modern presentation was up to the challenge. Ever interested in asymmetry and sumptuous materials, Rietz showed a pencil skirt and dress with "fins" accentuating the hips, a reprise of a dress from spring (here done in black) that features descending peaked tiers down one side, an elegant cocktail shift with a mini capelet over one shoulder, and a wide-collar wool coat that marries modern shape to wear-anywhere practicality.
Emily Ryan's pieces take a page as much from the future as they do from Japanese technique and design, and several pieces—a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired shift dress, an insanely intricate "cobra" shift, and a fastidiously, meticulously pleated skirt—displayed a jaw-dropping degree of craftsmanship. Ryan is a master at challenging the eye, marrying the instantly agreeable, crisscrossed top of a jumper with a curious bottom half that is essentially a long skirt folded under itself to barely qualify as pants. A simpler, but equally dramatic (and arguably more wearable) stunner was a ruched, torso-hugging jacket with wide kimono sleeves, shown worn quite plausibly as a dress.
Idom's fall/winter collection (spring/summer was shown just days previous at Portland Fashion Week) rounded out the show. A diversity of shape and color in the dress-dominated collection returned balance after the overwhelming neutrality of Rietz and Ryan's subdued palette, though without approaching the bombast of Lin's. Of the four, the Idom line is the most readily accessible, and workable on a greater variety of body types. If you missed the show or just want a piece, make sure to attend a trunk show/sample sale on October 24, 11 am-6 pm at the Liza Rietz and Emily Ryan showroom (2305 NW Savier), and check mod.portlandmercury.com for more photos from the collections.