FashioNXT wrapped with a night that we unofficially referred to as the "Project Runway night." And no wonder: All but one designer had competed on the show. I've said enough about the curious fact that Portland has become a hub for that community. Let's put that aside and talk clothes.
Not Equal opened the night, a collaborative collection by Fabio Costa and Rachel Diele, who took the art of draping to signature levels. It didn't always work—in what world does a leather pencil skirt call for a drape?—but there was refuge in the more simple, and well tailored blouses, a gleeful short-shorts reveal, and one fabulous pink suede top.
Gogo by Gordana has appeared multiple times on the Portland runway, and the thing that always strikes me is her imagination. She makes dresses of very particular fantasy. There's a tendency in her collections to ramble a bit, and this year saw some trip-ups in the form of metallic waist restrictions and cheaty closures, but if you are looking for a particular visiosnn, it's well worth checking to see if Gordana's already landed it.
Joshua Christensen was next up, with a collection that hovered around a black/blue/red/white palette that read slightly '80s to me but not in a bad way. He, too, has shown his work in Portland before and I was never as excited by his designs as I was this year. He trotted out a quilted suit that was my favorite menswear look of this whole shebang, and the waz-textured black gown was nothing short of badass.
LA's Walter Collection was a question mark (never featured on reality TV for one thing), but it was largely a welcome introduction. Black and white blocking and sheers ruled the day, but I have one pet peeve: no sheer panels, please. If you want a cutout, do a real cutout. If you don't, don't.
Seth Aaron only showed a small handful of editorial looks. As always, he handles high drama in polished fashion, with a sculptural white number featuring exaggerated pockets and a very serious, sexy black gown. A third look crafted out of Vogue covers was less impressive, but overall he succeeded in reminding everyone how formidable his chops are.
The finale this year was, once again, Michael Costello, whose formal looks for women are downright exuberant. His collections are stories with chapters (the black and gold episode being my favorite) that lead to me writing things in my notes like "kills" and "so serious." Oh, Michael. Come back every year.
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