As I write this, there are two nights left of Portland Fashion Week—a week that has proven to be increasingly exciting. Each evening since Friday, the fashion-connected and –curious have made their way to the edge of Swan Island to an operational shipyard, where towering cranes hover over valet parking, and welding sparks glow in your periphery. In one of the yard's expansive buildings, what has become a nightly ritual for some of us takes place as designers send their looks for Spring of 2008 down a bamboo runway—this is green fashion week, after all.
Things kicked off on Friday with New York's Naturevsfuture, a collection of earthy tones and artful asymmetry; Amai Unmei, a locally based line that especially impressed the audience with its spring coats in buttercup yellow and bright pink; Olivia Luca's bridal line; and Sarabeth Chambers' two labels, MEWV and Saffrona—the first in a series of simple bamboo basics, and the latter an expansive eveningwear selection. Headlining was Alice Dobson's Sofada, in which cheerful tiny polka dots dominated the lighthearted collection.
Saturday brought cute layered looks from Lizzie Parker, and Duchess knocked 'em dead with sharp recreations of vintage men's suits, augmented by hats from Pinkham Millinery. Nike Considered rolled out the latest in techy outerwear, Alula was a crowd pleaser with its short-shorts and breezy separates, and Sameunderneath got a standing ovation for a show that incorporated blinking images intended to illustrate the brand's barrier-breaking humanitarian philosophy.
On Sunday, the fashion crowd was a bit thinner as the weekend crowd tucked in on a school night, but those who turned out were rewarded. Michelle DeCourcy debuted a line peppered with silvery evening grays for sleek nights, and Leanimal sent out frocks with folds and collars that ingeniously evoked science fiction fantasies while retaining their flattering wearability. Idom came next, inciting cheers from the crowd with the super-low plunging back of the opening dress, followed by a parade of sophisticated and intelligently constructed dresses and separates. EmilyKatz's spring collection was a Portland girl's dream closet of staples, from belted coats to skirts, and tanks you could live in year round, and Stewart + Brown closed the night with a collection whose highlights were beautiful lightweight layering sweater pieces in forms ranging from vests to dresses.
Monday brought the highly anticipated Collections—a group show of quintessential Portland designers who have been loosely affiliated for years. Showing about five looks apiece back to back, the show was a rapid fire stimulation of the eye, with Emily Ryan's astonishing wearable sculpture; Holly Stalder's festive array of party dresses and sprite-like hoods and collars; a broken spoke's soft men's sweater pieces contrasted with punky zippers slashed across denim; Liza Rietz's artistically elegant ensembles; Kate Towers' showstopping opening gown with cascading train; Pinkham Millinery's charming male models (some in brazen character, some naturally self-conscious) showcasing Dayna Pinkham's brilliant hats—particularly a collapsing specimen that the model drew from a slim, cameo-making entermodal bag. Genevieve Dellinger continued to evolve her modern eye with striking shapes for women's wear; Linea showed smart looks with just-tough-enough exposed zippers; Daniel McCall exhibited his flair for detail and sumptuous fabrics and color; and Elizabeth Dye closed the evening with feminine shapes and textures, providing a wedding dress finale for one of the week's most popular shows.
Moving on to the present, Allison Covington of Amai Unmei is holding a trunk show of her fall/holiday collection—as well as taking orders for spring. (Thursday, Ella's Boutique, 2529 NE Alberta, 6-9 pm) Meanwhile on M.O.D., the Mercury's style blog (mod.portlandmercury.com), photo intern Minh Tran has debuted his first collection of editorial photos showcasing Idom's spring collection (one of which is pictured here). Check out more to come, plus fashion week coverage and daily posts on all things style.