Now's about the time that Portland starts to get a little stir crazy. The worst of winter's over, and the days of drizzly gray monotony are peppered with momentarily clear, even sunny skies, tantalizing with the nearness of early spring, when the first day warm and dry enough to lay out on the grass is practically a citywide holiday. It can hardly be helped to set seriousness aside and indulge in any kind of fun you might need to power through this time of year. That's the spirit of the local fashion event of the week, which defies February with an emphasis as much on bare skin as clothes to cover it.
Sweet F.A. is now in its eighth edition (for the first years of its existence it was known as Doom Town). Pairing fashion with rock and roll has all the originality of a Vogue "Fashion Rocks" supplement, but Sweet F.A. has such great, fast energy that to get too stuck on that is to utterly miss the point. The concept is basic: Pair local designers with nontraditional models, add rock 'n' roll, and go. The runway teems with a variety of body types, but most share the common factors of heavy tattoos and punked-out hair. Bouncing out to classic hits, many of them ham it up with snarled lips and finger pistols—corny, absolutely, but infectious.
The clothing—with notable exceptions—is mostly on the amateur end, and true to theme tends toward stage-friendly, sexy-bad mini dresses and hot pants in glinting Lycras and animal prints, but a level of variety is maintained. This year boasts eight designer lines, many of them returning participants: Amy Elizabeth Couture is like the raided costume trunk of Lita Ford, while Cano Apparel, Flood Clothing, and Alyson Clair take a more streetwear-able tack. I'm anticipating a '60s-era futurism from innovator Adam Andreas. Alexis Buck and Carolyn Hart round out the pack, along with an intriguing new collaborative line between Jessie Rogers and Ginger McCabe called Owl Haus. They're veterans who work with everything from leather and lingerie to quilting and bridal, and the textile- and technique-rich collection is said to be influenced by El Topo and There Will Be Blood—a snapshot peek posted on the Owl Haus blog revealed the rich-hued geometry of part of what they're calling a "prog rock frock." Power divas, make note. (w/the Upsidedown, DJ Gregarious, art by Rai Villanueva; Fez Ballroom, 316 SW 11th, Sat Feb 20, 9 pm, $10-12)