Saturday night was the China Bound fundraising fashion show at the divine Benson hotel where I bounced in ready to see some fashion, and wandered out perpetually puzzled. I went to the press conference prior to the show held in a fancy 11th floor suite and featured the panel that will be traveling to China in the spring. There was leader and organizer of China Bound is Kerry Yu, owner of O’Pearl Art jewelry, also utilizing jewelry designers Mandaville Parish and Anne Bocci. Additionally, there were apparel designers Seth Aaron and Tony Dimitri, plus some people from the Human Not Hollywood production company. I was also informed that many of these folks sit on the board of an organization called Sustainable Fashion International (SFI). The press conference was about 15 minutes of arranging chairs; introductions of the panel then two questions were asked before it was abruptly ended. What?! Enter phase one of my confusion.
I wandered out feeling like someone who had their favorite meal taken away after one bite when they were hungry and got settled in the Mayfair Ballrooom. (Where I received my first non-front row seat in several years. Ouch to my over inflated ego.) Jillian Rabe eloquently kicked off the night, filling in the audience about the planned trip to China. The show should have begun then, but instead went into multiple microphone hand offs. I have been to many, many fashion shows over the years and firmly believe there should be one or none speakers. Anything more seems to make the crowd a little agitated and I know this from having committed the microphone crime myself.
The techno tunes finally got to do their job guiding models down the runway for the evenings’ jewelry segment. First the duo of Mandaville Parish for O’Pearl Art showcased their blown glass collection. I thought the glass work itself looked beautiful and colorful, but am not convinced that jewelry is the best avenue for it. When one necklace made of large glass orbs came out I heard someone behind me whisper “Christmas ornaments.” And I don’t believe it was meant to be snarky, but actually that it really would make an excellent ornament. Immediately following was Anne Bocci, a jewelry designer for thirty years, who owns a chic little boutique in Multnomah Village. I thought her chunky chain necklaces were definitely on trend (though not for the timid) and some dramatic dangly earrings had an audible “ooh.” After Anne I expected to see a collection from Kerry Yu, the head designer for O’Pearl Art show a line, but none came. An added cause to my confusion level.
Designer collections began and Tony Dimitri showed an eclectic range of past work. Perhaps too eclectic. We went from a men’s bolero ala Blade Runner to casual street wear. His garments look their best when he is doing wearable menswear separates. Tony is a snappy dresser with no Blade Runner similarities, and I think he should emulate his own style more. Devonation, who was a Catapult: Emerging Designer contestant, thoroughly impressed me by showing new pieces just a week after participating in PFW. The designer, Devon Berrong, is not part of the team heading to China but is instead an import from there. I think he has no shortage of ideas and as he progresses as a designer, (and may I very kindly suggest some assistance to attend to the fit issues and styling) I am truly excited to see what this line can grow into. Finally was Seth’s SolarWorld collection I saw last week, which was still dramatic and still entertained the crowd.
Then the house lights went up and I realized I had been given no program detailing any of the collections and knew very little about them. One of the platforms of the group heading to China is to promote sustainable fashion, but as of right now I have not a clue how anything I saw was sustainable. Welcome to my final stage of confusion. I am fully on board conceptually with the ideas behind this trip to China and SFI, but from a consumer and writer perspective I need a lot more clarification.