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Monday, March 3, 2014

Fade to Light in Review

Posted by Ashkan on Mon, Mar 3, 2014 at 10:59 AM

There was a queue of bare legs and stacked heels along 14th Avenue last Wednesday night, resembling a flock of fashion flamingos huddled together. The crowd was a healthy mix; part uptown and part downtown, and they were all here for Elizabeth Mollo’s semiannual fashion event Fade to Light. Twelve designers showed looks from sportswear to vegan clothes to sequin jumpsuits. I have been to several F2L shows since its inception and it gets a little brighter each year thanks to production guru Elizabeth Mollo (who I also have to thank for seating assignment!).

As I found my seat I was delighted, because Mr. Adam Arnold was next to me. My only regret is that my rabbit fur jacket shed all over the left arm of his tuxedo. We’ve known each other for 12 years, so it was wonderful observing the show with a pioneer like Arnold, who is also gut bustingly witty.

The fashion show opened with Bryce Black's ode to the island of Crete. Black is one third of a local trifecta as electrifying as the Nineties Trinity (Linda, Naomi, Christy) including pioneer Arnold and minimalist Joshua Buck. Black’s womenswear collection featured cream-colored pieces with body con cutouts, repurposed Henleys, indigos, patent leather, and elements of spring '14s imminent fringe attack. It was a bold move to open the show with a designer as smart and practiced as Bryce Black, who is a very tough act to follow.

  • Jaycob Desrosiers

The second collection was fall '14 by Adelheid Bergin—a vegan sourced career wear collection. Designer Heidi Bergin showed an edgier side for her sophomore collection inspired by Berlin punk. Think zippers, hardware, tartans. (When I hear “career wear” I get nervous because I thought the style ended with Murphy Brown.)

  • Jaycob Desrosiers

Erica Lurie’s line for Garnish was like screensavers imprinted on jersey dresses, which was the precise theme of the collection: homage to a woman’s relationship with technology and nature.

  • Jaycob Desrosiers

Joshua Buck showed a collaboration capsule collection with the spirited Jeanne Tunberg called WWJJD. The men's sportswear collection had chunky, fleece track suits in deep hues like cobalt and ink black. They had strong basics like a short sleeve button down with smoky charcoals against crisp white. Buck is another part of the male fashion trio I mentioned earlier, and I have followed his work for the past decade. His work is so evocative of Raf Simons that I believe Buck to be one of Portland’s best kept secrets.

  • Jaycob Desrosiers

Speaking of trios, Nashionland followed WWJJD with a flouncy spring collection. Nashionland is the three way between Alyson Clair of Clair Vintage Inspired, Carolyn Hart's eponymous line and Rita Hudson-Evatt of Hubris Apparel. There was handful of flirty dresses in lemon yellows and lavender silks ready to dance and drink champagne.

Carolyn Hart
  • Jaycob Desrosiers
  • Carolyn Hart

Poema is a tango-inspired collection that seemed more out of the wardrobe closet of American Hustle. Hannah Poston’s line featured halter tops and disco-era silhouettes, all designed around movement.

  • Jaycob Desrosiers

There was one resort '14 collection, shown by model/designer Keely DiPietro for Taruc. This is an intriguing line to me. The label pops up every now and again with forward-looking collections, but there isn’t as much recognition or promotion of the brand as there should be. Taking inspiration from the Far East, the collection was inspired by a beetle’s wing and had an organic color palette with hand dyed prints, earthen tones, sturdy denim, and snakeskin spines on dresses.

  • Jaycob Desrosiers

The House of Blair was next with a fall '14 junior collection under the name SKPDX. The younger line was designed by Stephanie Hutton with a “uniform for living” design concept. The collection re-interpreted the LBD in black Lurex in fushcia and grey.

  • Jaycob Desrosiers

Lisa Silveira of Wandering Muse gave us a glimpse into her casual, reversible ready to wear world. Looking inside, you see a collection of travel apparel consisting of tube dresses that transform into another style of the garment without ever removing clothing.

  • Jaycob Desrosiers

A dramatic entrance by two models in lace veils opened the first menswear collection for Bad Wolf Clothier. The design duo behind the label was inspired by the vintage soap opera Dark Shadows and witch cults. The suiting was clearly fall, with tweeds, plaids, and corduroy.

  • Jaycob Desrosiers

Another design duo followed next with label Emit. Ben Hermel and Deana Dukes blend performance fabric with laser cutouts offset with pop colors. This design style is constant with prior Emit collections, so it will be exciting when they start exploring other concepts through their unique vision.

  • Jaycob Desrosiers

The show closed with Project Runway alum Michelle Lesniak’s collection, called "Girl Incardine." The dominant color choice for her was red, especially in lace and wool. I expected a little more from a show finale, as Lesniak’s looks were all over the place and I’m not convinced that red is the ideal color for her sensibility as a designer.

  • Jaycob Desrosiers

  • Jaycob Desrosiers

Fade to Light brought together a broad range of talent and vision for a diverse presentation. It had something for everyone. It was like a shopping mall come to life, with booze instead of food courts at the Crystal Ballroom. It won’t be long before the (spot) light fades and the room begins to darken for the next F2L later this year.

A full gallery of photos of the show by Jaycob Desrosiers can be seen here.

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