Wednesdays Fade to Light fashion brought the style, the drama, and the party. The nine designers sent looks around a U-shaped runway on the Crystal Ballroom’s famous bouncy floors strutting through groups of floor VIP seats while fans up in the balcony cheered on.
In short, it was a really good show.
Designer: ElizaBeth Rohloff
What I loved: Rohloff has been making her sassy hats and fascinators for years and the demographic that wears them clearly enjoyed her use of materials and embellishments.
Hoping to be helpful: The wrap bubble skirts would make me wary as woman with hips overemphasizing something most of us are trying to downplay.
What I loved: Everything. The laser cutouts of genius, intricate patterns turn silhouettes into something very far from basic. Each one felt as interesting as the last, and I left wanting more.
Hoping to be helpful: Keep making them.
Designer: Bad Wolf Clothier
What I loved: The impeccable plaid suit for new line Bad Wolf Clothier stepped right out of a 1960s film (in a good way).
Hoping to be helpful: With a serious shortage of menswear designer in the city, I would encourage the young line to focus on their strength of menswear over the women’s apparel.
Designer: Au Clothing by Michelle Lesniak
What I loved: A new collection by the current Project Runway champ, Lesniak's take on fall with swinging plaid skirts and tailored separates was right on the money. Her opening look take on a vamped up secretary with a huge tie-bow blouse was one of my favorites of the entire night.
Hoping to be helpful: Get in more stores Lesniak, we want you.
Designer: Studio SKB
What I loved: Designer Sharon Blair put on a dramatic pre-set affair climbing the stage to have all her long beautiful hair hacked off live in an impressive display of support for Locks of Love (See the video of that here). In addition, this was my favorite collection of Blair’s to date. The thoughtful details like lace paneling, and vintage vibe made for a great overall collection.
Hoping to be helpful: The only thing not gelling for me was the prints, everything in a solid I’d pack up and take home.
Designer: Quick Study
What I loved: The idea of Quick Study is a line for women who bike to have stylish and functional clothing. The premise (along with a particularly cool striped number) is strong.
Hoping to be helpful: I support the concept, but didn’t see how the clothes seemed particularly bike friendly. Additionally, the materials were cute, but there were some cohesiveness issues with the pieces not feeling like they were from the same family quite yet.
Designer: Chicago Harper
What I loved: Designer Joshua Buck has some of the most impressively made and beautifully tailored menswear shirts in the city. If he made men’s shirts all day every day, I think the world would be a better place.
Hoping to be helpful: I’ve said it before and it is my only concern. Buck’s fashion forward Euro aesthetic is a tough sell for most Portland gents, but, for the record, they should get on board.
Designer: Wandering Muse
What I loved: Wandering Muse works to double down on your fashion dollar with pieces that can be transformed into multiple looks.
Hoping to be helpful: Once again an impressive concept, but I would caution Muse to make sure style still trumps idea and to reexamine some of the color combinations.
Designer: Bryce Black
What I loved: No current designer in town puts on a show quite like Black. His piece opened with a hilariously campy video of Black espousing on being fabulous while lounging in a graveyard before female and male models stomped the runway in Black’s anything-but-average leather and distressed looks. Finally, it ended when the audience realized the models were actually members of the Nonsense Dance Company who brought the house down with a booty shaking choreographed number to "Grown Woman" by Beyonce
Hoping to be helpful: If Black wants to have a quiet ready-to-wear line in town, this isn’t the way to do it. (But he’s not.)