Student fashion shows can sometimes be a hit-and-miss affair…there’s always something jaw-droppingly amazing, along with piles of so-so, seen-it, and just downright-sorry-to-say-so-but-there-it-is ugly. We don’t want to tread even harder on downtrodden, struggling design students, but better you hear it now rather than later. And there were some fabulous looks at the Art Institute of Portland’s runway show (Wednesday, October 8), starting with the assignment to students to reinvent the Little Black Dress. We’ll ignore all the boring, we’ve seen it befor stuff, and focus on the standouts…

Ah, what can we say? Stunning. Whoever thought a ski-parka fabric would work so well with so much pleating. We love. It may be a riff on a Balenciaga silhouette, but we love all the same. Mwah!

And we also have a weakness for military-inspired fashion, chiffon tutus, and deconstruction. Yes, we say, bring it on. We wish the coat were in a little heavier fabric, and that the buttons were slightly smaller and spaced further apart. Besides that, it’s fab.

Then this LBD. Tough 80’s power-chic. We likey. Again, Balenciaga comes to mind. (Those crazy multicolored sandals with the black netting…) But still, very fresh.

Alright, they may look like residents of Whoville, but the silhouettes are striking and unique. Not too wearable, but it is definitely a look. (This isn’t the LBD assignment any more.)

And now for…the ugly. Read on! (because we know all of you want to jeer with us 😉

Now this was sad. A great concept, and it would have been fabulous rendered in a stiffer fabric, with fewer sewing mistakes. But overall, it’s unforgivably puckered on the right side.

Oh honey. Roses on the sleeves? Been done, sorry to say.

And it wouldn’t be a fashion show without the inevitable “straitjacket couture” piece. Okay, we totally sympathize with what you’re feeling, what with the looming deadlines and ominous graduation and the “gosh I’ll never make it in the real world as a designer” self-doubt, and the fabrics that were over budget and just not enough damn time to sew…we get it. You want to be committed. Do you need to be a slave to literalism while you do it? Can’t you just have a quiet, contained little meltdown in the corner? No? Well, if you must…

And what the hell is this? A man’s jumpsuit?? Rendered in an oh-so-fetching shade of beige?? It looks like something Ichabod Crane might have worn after lights-out, except this one’s got extra fabric oozing out his kiester. Love the hot leather city boots dude’s got on – like he’s just going to head out, grab a coffee, black, thank you, and the NY Times. And all we know is, that is one pissed-off looking male model.

(We thank Pete Kim for the fabulous photos. Loyal readers, make use of his services!!)


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