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Monday, May 5, 2014

A Refreshing Final PFW Show, Thanks to Some Students

Posted by Katie Guinn on Mon, May 5, 2014 at 9:27 AM

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).

Chelsea Brist
  • Yi Yin
  • Chelsea Brist

There were definitely some standout collections that not only represented the designers' knack for zeitgeist and design talent, but showcased impressive workmanship and styling that was spot on.
Carolin Onzik opened her show with a video introduction of where she comes from (a homestead) and her sewing away on a machine, very focused. "I Walk The Line" by Johnny Cash was an appropriate choice for the detailed workwear that walked the runway with charm. Designers have to be careful with up-cycled anything, and denim? Especially! She nailed it, and I'm convinced her models walked with such confidence because they wore the best shoes of the entire night.
Carolin Onzik
  • Yi Yin
  • Carolin Onzik

Carolin Onzik
  • Yi Yin
  • Carolin Onzik

Carolin Onzik
  • Yi Yin
  • Carolin Onzik

Carolin Onzik
  • Yi Yin
  • Carolin Onzik

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.

Courtney Smith
  • Yi Yin
  • Courtney Smith

Courtney Smith
  • Yi Yin
  • Courtney Smith

Courtney Smith
  • Yi Yin
  • Courtney Smith

Christopher Murray
  • Yi Yin
  • Christopher Murray

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...)

Danielle Grasseths serious peplum
  • Mark Daniel Muzzy
  • Danielle Grasseth's serious peplum

Brocade gown with pockets and velvet bodice
  • Mark Daniel Muzzy
  • Brocade gown with pockets and velvet bodice

The dress that sparkled with the utmost richness
  • Mark Daniel Muzzy
  • The dress that sparkled with the utmost richness

It's always refreshing to see menswear collections on the runway; Both Christopher Murray and Brandon Barber debuted casual sportswear collections. I mentioned Christopher above with his knit and pleather, and Brandon's collection showcased a brighter vibe with the puff coats and a burgundy knit suit most of which were intertwined with the neon pastel yellow that's on trend right now. I would have to say if these are the designers that are joining our community I am not disappointed. The juxtaposition of the runway with the chairs and double entrance action worked well and it's clear that Sue Bonde puts her heart and soul into these shows. As for the next event in the fall, Jessica Kane says that her goal is to seek out a new space for each PFW to utilize what Portland has to offer and so the audience may experience the history of our city through the venues. Hopefully the restrooms in future places will exceed the standards of The Memorial Coliseum (gag!).
Brandon Barber
  • Mark Daniel Muzzy
  • Brandon Barber

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