Despite the smattering of fashion shows dotting the summer calendar (the recent Up in the Air, Paloma Soledad's theatrical invite-only affair, and one in the works from R.A.W. slated for mid-September, to name a few), the must-see fashion event this week is only partially about clothing. It's the second installment of Uprising, which captured Portland's attention last year with a combined performance of live music from Horse Feathers and dancers from the Oregon Ballet Theatre. Laura Gibson and Weinland score this year's edition, and founder/choreographer Candace Bouchard tapped me (full disclosure) to help find the best fit for a costume designer. Of the suggestions I gave her, she chose Emily Katz, once a reliable presence in the Portland apparel industry, but one who has begun to drift away from production. This Uprising is in part an increasingly rare chance to see her latest designs.
Katz has been associated with Bonnie Heart Clyde and, more recently, the Emily Katz women's wear line, for the better part of the decade. Over the past year, however, she's been "putting down the reins of my eponymous line, traveling to Thailand, and taking some time to reflect... what is most important to me is to enjoy life and not be in the fashion rat race. It is exhausting to stay on top of each season, working so hard, and then as soon as it is complete—on to the next thing! Not to say that I am giving it up completely. My eye for details that inspire me is still very hungry, and I'm craving a creative outlet to pour myself fully into, I just am not 100 percent sure yet what that will be... I'm still making dresses occasionally, but on a very small scale. It keeps the enjoyment high and the stress low."
Of Katz's contribution to the Uprising project, Bouchard says, "The dancers aren't coming in and out of relationships with each other, but rather seeing in each partner another version of [themselves]. Elements of this concept will be found in Emily Katz's costume design as well, where completely different pieces will be found, at closer inspection, to reveal a single unifying factor—a visual clue reminding us not to be fooled by appearances of the moment." (Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie, Sat-Sun July 24-25, 7 pm, $18-20)
In other Portland-designer happenings: Here we go again. Gretchen Jones has joined the ranks (following Leanne Marshall, Janeane Marie Ceccanti, and Seth Aaron Henderson) of the seemingly constant stream of area designers chosen to compete on reality TV show Project Runway. As one of Portland's most ambitious designers and a strong personality, Jones' inclusion should make for some good TV. And it had better: This season the Lifetime network is extending the length of the episodes from an hour to a whopping 90 minutes. Pencil out your Thursday nights, starting July 29, and fire up the old popcorn machine.