Finale night of FashioNXT was an ode to Project Runway. Over the week producer Tito Chowbury brought in seven (yes seven) designers from the show, with five of them showing their collections Saturday night. While there’s been some grumblings about the status of so many non-Portland designers being such a huge representation of what seems to be “our” fashion show, I think there’s some validity to bringing in these big names. As someone who attends local shows for a living, there is always a sea of new faces in the crowd at these pop culture related shows, and if it gets folks interested in the fashion scene, I’m for it.

Beginning the show was Fabio Costa with his androgynous collection “Not Equal” co-designed with Rebecca Diele. The soft, warm color palette was exceedingly lovely after a week overwhelmed with cobalt and chartreuse and the androgynous for everyone vibe was a modern juxtaposition against a gown heavy night. Goga by Gordana swung opposite that pendulum with nothing but an array of formal gowns meticulously crafted but seemingly without a cohesive thread. Joshua Christensen wins for most improved designer having grown leaps and bounds since his inaugural showing last year with his edgy combination of men’s and women’s wear (though the thirtysomething in me has to wonder if they need to be so short). Walter Collection, the only non-Runway-er to show impressed the audience with his bold, graphic collection full of black and white shapes (also on the short side).

Before Michael Costello showed for his second time that week, Seth Aaron sent a capsule collection of three looks down the runway. In a move that shows the importance of choreography the decidedly different looks left quite an impression moving from white, to a magazine print, to black looks. It reminds me what he’s capable of and wondering what will pop up on the runway when he debuts on Project Runway All Stars in two weeks.

Finally, Costello showed dozens of glamorous gowns ranging in colors from soft whites to bold gold. A prolific designer who showed a total of nearly 60 looks over the week, his never ending thought train should be applauded. While I marveled over some of his tailored pieces, particularly the ones that included sleeves, I do think his greatest strength lies in his impressive draping skills and wished I had seen a bit more of that easy flow he does like no other. Regardless, the whole night had enough glitz to keep our casual Portland easily satiated until next year’s trip to the shipyards.