Photography by Tim Gunther
Makeup and Hair by Erin Walters

The Winner of the Third Annual Mercury Spring Fashion Show...

Leanne Marshall is the creator of Leanimal, the line that won the Jury Award at the Mercury's third annual spring fashion show on April 22. Marshall also happens to be a graphic designer at the Mercury, though her high marks came from a panel that included designers Adam Arnold and Holly Stalder, fashion blogger Patricia No, and former Souchi boutique manager Lisa Hough as well as the Mercury's Marjorie Skinner. For her presentation at the show, which included a standing installation and an additional piece modeled on the runway, Marshall used entirely sustainable fibers. It's a relatively new foray for her, and Marshall found that even in an enthusiastically green hub like Portland, the options for colors and patterns are quite limited, with only a few retail outlets in town carrying sustainable textiles. Better luck was to be found online, and the result came in a hemp/cotton blend, a 100 percent bamboo knit, and an organic silk. To add visual texture, Marshall had a screenprint created in water-based ink, contributed by another local, Crazy Coconut Creations. Her dress hung from the ceiling along with floating organic cotton muslin leaf cutouts, all engineered using bamboo and hemp rope. This attention to sustainable fabrics is continued with the looks featured here, as well as Marshall's signature pleating and playful use of volume. At a time when the fashion world is increasingly obsessed with ethical fashion, Marshall is one of the many who have come to the conclusion that sustainability is the responsible choice for clothing design; her contribution to bettering the environment. You can find Leanimal in local boutiques Seaplane and Foundation Garments, and look for her work at the Strut fashion show coming up on May 11.

The Winner of the People's Choice Award...

The people of Portland are an opinionated crowd, and an increasingly visible local apparel design scene has made it possible for citizens to weigh in on fashion. Therefore it seemed only right to give our audience an opportunity to vote for their favorite design presentation at the Mercury's latest fashion show. Ballot boxes were positioned around the room, the votes were counted, and the People's Choice Award went to the deserving Frocky Jack Morgan. The work of Julia Barbee, Frocky Jack Morgan has a long history in Portland, with Barbee being one of the first contributors to the now-famous Seaplane boutique. Using deconstruction since before deconstruction was so locally prevalent, Barbee creates romantic, fantastical dresses with more than a bit of theatricality to them. Barbee's installation for the show was a breathtaking gown worn by a young woman who sat straddling the top of a ladder. Cascading all the way to the floor around her, the skirt was an artful snarl of raw, un-dyed wool with the occasional brooch nestled in its folds. The runway piece was an echo of the stationary exhibit, but sized to fit more human proportions. To watch it swirl around a frame called to mind the costume of a fairy princess, something you might find in woodsy legend. This organic element is echoed here in the spritely, dramatic use of feathers, while Barbee's flair for deconstructed elegance appears in the whimsical roughness of a wedding gown. Frocky Jack Morgan's one-of-a-kind creations are available locally at Seaplane, and are worth seeking out to really appreciate their idiosyncratic details and individualization.