Undoubtedly the highlight of the 5 days of shows this year was Saturday night’s show, with the Spring collections from project Runway alums Gordana Gelhausen [Goga by Gordana], Jay Nicolas Sario, and Jonathan Joseph Peters, capped off by the SETHAARON promotional collection sponsored by SolarWorld.

From the start of the night the lobby was packed, the mood expectant and jubilant, the security tighter than anything Portland Fashion Week has seen before.  Onsite at the Vigor Shipyards on Portland’s Swan Island, on a runway constructed entirely of SolarWorld‘s sleek, high-performance photovoltaic solar panels, models local to Portland showcased almost 60 looks from the finalists from Project Runway Seasons 5 & 6.

As the show started (about 40 minutes late), a cheer rose up from the crowd – clapping filled the room as the lights dimmed and the first look from Goga by Gordana walked out.  Breezy, feminine, intricate – and with some woven pieces displaying gorgeous cutwork evocative of her signature lace – the collection was colorful and fun.  Yellows and reds dominated, with a patchwork leather dress and hand-dyed blouson top that received another round of applause.  Girly ruffles and A-line silhouettes evoked all the jubilance of Spring, and the sweet creams and light blues called to mind blue skies and washed coral.

In contrast, Jay Nicolas Sario‘s collection was far more structured, with an overtly military-feel and Jay’s signature cuffs and button-detailing.  Utilizing mostly wools and denims, in a darker color palette of olives and grays, the separates were buttoned-down sex-appeal.  Though a few of the more voluminous pieces struck a discordant note, the tailored jackets and vests, skirts with asymmetrical pockets, and cascading layered denim neckpiece were instantly covetable.

Jonathan Joseph Peters‘ collection was a fun, carefree collection of prints and hand-dyed, hand-distressed fabrics.  With a one-shouldered top with cut-outs (with each cut-out painstakingly done by hand and then heat-sealed, inch by inch!), a gold spangled romper (which, amazingly, was much more beautiful than it sounded), and a leafy tropical-print swing skirt and cardigan, the entire collection evoked a whimsical vacation.  The designer’s attention to detail truly shone through each piece.

Sponsored and inspired by SolarWorld solar panels, Seth Aaron Henderson produced a 15-piece promotional collection for SETHAARON that had the room breathless from the first, and cheering excitedly by the last.  The pieces were futuristic, warrior-inspired, juxtapositions of light and dark, hard and harder.  Tiny details, geometric shapes, and asymmetry made it feel fresh and modern, with black and red vinyl and pops of yellow keeping the palette minimalist and sharp.  With avant-garde headgear encapsulating some of the models’ heads completely, exaggerated silhouettes, skin-baring cut-outs, and mesh overlays, it was certainly fashion with a capital F.  A blouse with billowy sleeves with metal zipper-like detail down the slits and skin-tight vinyl hotpants garnered a round of applause, and by the end people were standing on their seats to see the finale garment, an Transformer-like dress of slick black vinyl (also featured in all the promotional materials for the Collection).

After 2 encores from Seth A. the rest of the designers also came out and did a triumphant walk (or in Jay’s case, a skip, bow, and flourish;-) down the runway with their models.

 Left: Look #1, for the first 3 shows, and Right: Look #2, for the SETHAARON show.

Lead makeup artists Nicolette Z. Gonzales and Austie Eckley (who also makes fabulous couture-style flowered headpieces available for sale in her Etsy shop BTW!) created two makeup looks for the shows: the first, a neutral, fresh look for the models walking in the first three shows, and the second, an edgy look with a bold eye as specifically designed by Seth Aaron himself for use in his own show.

For both looks Nicolette created the complexion, contouring, and eye shadow base, using Boots No7 Intelligent Balance Mousse Foundation.  Austie was in charge of the eyes and sculpted a bold, angular stripe of yellow above a dramatic smokey eye, as directed by Seth.  This look was also the signature look for his entire collection, as featured with his finale piece on the “Solar is the New Black” SolarWorld poster.

All the false lashes used in the shows were applied by lash artist Kimmie Nguyen.

To say the venue was crowded was an understatement. (Every seat filled, two rows of standing, and people jammed in the aisles – it was the biggest audience in the history of PFW.)

Seth Aaron Henderson talking with a fan and signing autographs at the SolarWorld booth just after the show.

Jay Nicolas Sario and two of his models wearing his Collection pieces.

Closeup of Jay’s awesome gauntlet/spat design for Spring.  I want!
Seth Aaron’s brother, Noah Henderson of Headlock Clothing, with Crystal Ewing.

Project Runway Season 6 alum Janeane Marie out to support her fellow designers.

So what’s everyone’s take on the collections?  Any pieces you love?  Or love to hate?


All watermarked photos taken by Brent Barnett, Peter Greene, Bruce Ballard and Joey Stalone of OSI. Thanks, guys for the awesome pics!  All un-watermarked photos taken by me.

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