IF THE LATE WINTER months tend to be sleepy on the fashion-show circuit, there is one salve Portland design fans can rely on, and that is the tasteful delight of the English Dept.'s annual bridal show, A Novel Romance. At this point a local landmark for modern, savvy brides, the shop has seen recent developments like an expanded space and a symbiotic new neighbor in Lille Boutique's Westside bridal outpost, Lille Trousseau.
"It's kind of an exciting time," says English Dept. owner Elizabeth Dye of recent developments on the bridal-wear front. "A lot of the big companies went out of business, and things are younger and more experimental. Everything has moved toward a more natural feeling." The fashion show is also the one time a year that Dye—a longtime force on Portland's apparel design scene—shows her own original work on a runway, releasing yearly collections of wedding dresses that are among the shop's most sought after, including a smattering of one-of-kind looks. Citing another shift in bridal trends, Dye says she took more of a mixed media approach to the line for 2012, experimenting with combinations of colors and textures in "ensemble pieces."
Having distinguished themselves not only as a source for dresses but as a resource for all things wedding planning, look out for touches from other companies, from shoes provided by Lille Trousseau to jewelry and headpieces by local designers—the result an inspiring tableau for brides and admirers alike.
A Novel Romance, the Cleaners at the Ace Hotel, 403 SW 10th, Sun Feb 5, noon, $10