We must have gone through 50 inches of make-up and 20 cans of hairspray on Sunday, April 9, as models were prepped and prettied for the Portland Mercury's Second Annual Fashion Showcase. Cramming the Wonder Ballroom's bunker-like backstage, hair and make-up artists worked their mojo, applied braided extensions and lashes, and navigated a flurry of burning curling irons and eye shadow palettes to create the unique looks that characterized each portion of the show. Too often stylists in the world of fashion go unsung (and unpaid), so I'd like to thank all of them especially for lending their talents and hard work to help make the show polished and colorful. And what a show it was... The Oregon Ballet Theatre started things off with two excerpts from their upcoming performance, Eyes on You, setting the tone with a mix of playfulness and elegance.

Clothing from Yes kicked off the fashion portion of the show, with colorful spring pieces and long braids on the models. Souchi sexed it up with soft, sensual cashmere pieces, from dresses and scarves to bikinis. The girls representing Moxie played it sassy with dramatic eyes and big hair, slinking down the runway with cigarettes and toy guns; Una showed its subtle class with airy, simple pieces and straw wound into the models' hair; and Hecklewood brought a young, fun energy to the show with bright prints and peppy style.

Mabel & Audrey, a new line from recent Art Institute graduates Alyson Clair and Vanessa Duello, followed, showing simple, classy pieces and a healthy enthusiasm, with the models bumping and grinding their way through the room. Then Denwave made a splash with an ensemble trek down the runway, the artful clothing augmented with feathered jewelry (not to mention a dog). Magpie followed with reconstructed vintage in dusty shades, capping off their showcase with the strangest moment of the night: designer Diana Joy's appearance in a gray costume with rainbows and tassels, and holding a bag from which she drew fruit to hand to the audience (including a banana, which she lustily ate on the runway). Pin Me came next, showing feminine dresses and shorts in soft florals and pastels, then Dragonlily closed the show with formal wear, including a creamy, floor-length finale piece, and it all ended in smiles and a brief dance party on the runway. Energized by an at-capacity house and a line of people down the street (75 of whom had to be turned away—sorry, folks!), everyone involved pulled the show off with nary a hitch.

If you missed it this year (or you were one of the people who were turned away), look for a vodcast and photo gallery of the show at portlandmercury.com.

As for the future: This weekend marks the fourth annual Alpaca Western Extravaganza! As you may already be aware, alpacas are similar to llamas, and native to the Peruvian Andes. Their hair is used to make incredible, luxurious textiles (more rare than cashmere, and stronger, warmer, yet lighter than wool), the softest and finest of which were at one time reserved for Inca nobility. If you're ever in Peru, snap some up for a fraction of the cost you'd pay in the US (I once bought a pure baby alpaca pashmina basically off the side of a mountain for super cheap), but if international jaunts are not in your immediate future, check the extravaganza, where you can browse alpaca textiles and products, as well as meet the critters themselves, who are pretty darn cute. Sat 8 am-9:30 pm, Sun 8 am-2:30 pm, Portland Expo Center, 2060 N Marine, Hall E.

And while "expanding" and "jeans" aren't ordinarily words that are pleasant to associate with each other, at Nolita in the Pearl (923 NW 10th), bigger means better. This Friday they're unveiling a "denim bar" expansion, where you can go to be perfectly fitted by denim specialists into one of over 50 denim brands they carry. And down the road at Local.35 (3556 SE Hawthorne), artists Klutch and Betti are working on a mural on the back wall, which will be debuted on Thursday, April 13, 6-9 pm, along with drinks, DJ Monkeytek, and 10 percent off all new items in the store.

Let's go shopping sometime: marjorie@portlandmercury.com

Click Here for photos of the Mercury Fashion Show!