The 3rd and final evening of Portland Fashion week(end) featured the final collections of graduating Seniors (and some alumni) from the Art Institute of Portland. This was the second installment of AI's collaboration with PFW. I participated in the first installment last fall as an alumni, and this season's presentation was a vast improvement as far as length, advertising, and, seemingly, organization goes. With any final collection show from a design college, there's going to be work that resembles—well, student work; over-exaggerated themes, seams that need to be pressed or over-stitched, puckers that need to be worked out, and so on, but these are students after all and for most of them, this is their first collection ever. With that being said, the show was a pleasant one and I enjoyed seeing most looks emerge from behind the curtain, rather than wanting the show to end (even though I had to stand in wretched heels just to see because someone snagged my front row seat).
I was surprised by the amount of leather that was used throughout. Courtney Smith's funky silhouettes and chinle prints were finished off with dramatic leather details, like layered stand collars, necklace collars and hem bindings while Christopher Murray used it (or was it vegan leather?) with knits. Stephanie Houlis used it in her 3 piece structured collection, not to mention the fact that she made the color peach look good.
Danielle Grasseth intrigued the audience with her fully cohesive but varietal and rich collection. Each of the pieces was a show stopper. From the serious peplums and precisely fitted bodices ( I personally can't stand it when the bust of a supposedly "fitted" top are way bigger than the boobs of the model) to the pockets in the ballgown a topped with a plush velvet, and the long black elegant sequined mermaid gown finished off with a dramatic cowl in the back. I heard the oohs and aahhs throughout her show, but this gown received a standing ovation! (I was already standing, so...)
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