Portland Fashion Week Day 2: Seattle Designers, Art Institute Grads, and Catapult Competition

Backtracking a little bit to last month’s Portland Fashion Week…since I wasn’t able to post coverage immediately afterwards since I was in France sans internet access.

But on the day of – October 7 – I was not able to get any runway shots.

I only was in the lobby and did not receive clearance to shoot the show.  Over-capacity, apparently.  Whatever!  I saw Seth Aaron stumble and jam himself in the crotch with one of those poles holding up the red velvet ropes, which was all worth it.  (Okay, I’ve probably done the same thing too a thousand times.  I hate those ropes!)

So all the photos below are alllllll courtesy of my wonderful friends from OSI Photography (who, by the way, shot all my photos for the America’s Most Stylish Blogger competition last year – if you ever need an awesome, professional photographer – they’re the ones to go to!)

The shows Thursday night were separated into segments; the first, Cardi Wrap by Kymaro.

If you notice – the tops are all the same garment!  The soft, figure-flattering Cardi Wrap can be worn over 50 ways with its coordinating accessories.

Segment 2 housed the Seattle designer shows, with Lizzie Parker, Jesica Milton, and WyattOrr.

Lizzie Parker

Jesica Milton

Wyatt Orr

The Art Institute of Portland Fashion Show was third in the line-up, with designs by J. Calderon, Sophie Chang, Mihaela Munteanu, Melissa Gaynor, and Johanna Lindstrom.

J. Calderon (menswear)

Sophie Chang Bridal

Mihaela Munteanu

Melissa Gaynor
Johanna Lindstrom

 I really want that first silvery-grey jumpsuit.  I have no idea where I’d wear it exactly, but I still really want it.;-)

The fourth and final segment, entitled Catapult, showcased the Emerging Designer Competition Runway Show.

Devonation  Originally hailing from China, Devon Yam Berrong began his career as an artist .  His watercolor pieces have appeared in numerous publications and boutiques – and his debut collection for men and women for Spring/Summer 2011 contained more than 50 pieces.

Anar Couture  The name Anar is the designer’s first name spelled right-to-left as it would be in her native language; Rana Ghezelayagh (“ge-zell-ah-yahk”) was born in Iran and used all Iranian fabric in her first collection.  Many pieces can be worn in multiple ways to expose more or less skin depending on the wearer’s mood – and the lining fabrics were all exquisite and beautifully-colored contrast in contrast to the sleek outers.


Nelli Millard, who showed last year as part of NelliDru designs (and got flak for her “Michaels wedding dress,” “truly awful” website, and serious lack of design taste from the Portland Mercury), showed a collection with Russian-inspired coats, lame-coated dresses and jackets, and a beautifully-detailed crochet top and fringe skirts, showing growth and maturity compared to her last collection.

Catapult Winner Ms Wood, a Portland-based husband-and-wife team, showed a series of chic kimono wrap tops and dresses, accented with walnut, maple, and paduke wood platform shoes and accessories – all reclaimed from cabinet-makers.  The leather was all recycled from old leather jackets.

As the winner of Catapult, Ms. Wood will receive be featured in a full collection show at Portland Fashion Week 2011, a lookbook shoot with models provided by Ryan Artists, photography by Fashion Wire Press NY, and lookbook graphic design and marketing by 24Notion.

 Bracelets, earrings, a hand-mirror, and the wood-platform shoes with recycled leather ties.
 A cabinet piece after it’s been routed and used for Ms. Wood pieces.
The beautiful wrap-tie shoes.
Designers Alicia and Ben Wood. (last 4 photos taken by me)

What do you think?  Any of the designs catch your eye?


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Me at Portland Fashion Week

Courtesy of Fred Joe.

This photo had me ROFL’ing.  LOVE the guy’s expression in the foreground!  (Then, my second thought: I look exhausted.)

What a great photo!  Thanks so much, Fred – you’re amazing!

Check out Fred’s gallery of photos from Portland Fashion Week (including some of Seth Aaron and Jay Nicolas Sario).  He’s such a talented photographer – I could only dream of being even half as good.


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Project Runway Designers and SethAaron Collection: Portland Fashion Week Day 4

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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Jonathan Joseph Peters Collection at PFW Showroon

Who could this be?  (Okay, my title kind of gave it away…)

If you guys are wondering why I haven’t posted, I’ve been mired in Portland Fashion Week stuff and haven’t caught up just yet.  I have a couple big posts coming up (but I have to sit down and do them) – so they’ll be up soon!

In the meantime, here are some photos I snapped of Project Runway Season 7 Finalist Jonathan Joseph Peters.  For the first time ever in the history of Portland Fashion Week, there was actually a showroom organized so the designers could present their creations to the buyers and press.  (In Portland, there are no official designer showrooms at all!  At least that I know of.  It’s such an independent community here that there just doesn’t seem to be a need for it.)

So I stopped by the showroom – and whaddaya know?  It was Jonathan from Season 7 of Project Runway showing his pieces (that will be coming down the runway tonight in a HUGE Project Runway alum show with Goga by Gordana [of Season 6], Jay Nicolas Sario [Season 7 finalist], and Seth Aaron Henderson [Season 7 Winner]!!)

He is such a sweetie in person – so down-to-earth – and his collection is phenomenal! He said he is particularly drawn to mixing patterns, hand-dyeing, playing with textiles, and layering fabrics – like the spectacular detail at the neck on this top.

Breathtaking cut-work detail (done by HAND, not by lasers – then heat-sealed by HAND.  I just have to write HAND in capitals because it is so rare to see nowadays.)

A skirt in the same vein.

The fabric is a little “melty” around the holes, which adds to its fabulous deconstruction.

 A gorgeous spangled top and the rest of his collection.  Check out the prints!

Being based on the East Coast, he said he was really excited to be able to bring his collection out here to the West Coast and see the reception.  Sewing since he was 10 and producing collections under his own name since 2002, he characterizes his aesthetic as “thoughtful separates with a sense of fun.”

I can’t wait to see it on the runway!

And in the meantime, check out his website below and show the guy some love!


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Portland Fashion Week: Day 1

It’s October again and that means another Portland Fashion Week a.k.a. PFW!  (I can’t believe it’s my THIRD year covering the shows.  Amazing that time has gone so fast.)

(From top left, clockwise: the Vigor Shipyards venue for the shows; hanging lasercut chandelier; painting on the building; art by Lisa Golightly; the runway – made entirely of solar panels! – ancient anchor chain marking the entrance to the building)

I won’t treat subject you to a shot of what I wore since I schlumped about under the premise of “I’m working, I don’t care.”  And of course I ran into into a reader of mine – DIY enthusiast Grishley!  We’ve been following each other’s blogs for some time and she’s super-sweet in person.  She’s a very talented designer and posts lovely photos chock-full of inspiration.   I was so glad to have met her!  (Check out her blog if you haven’t already *hint, hint*)  At least I didn’t have a gigantic spaghetti stain on my shirt.  Fate smiled down upon me.:-)

Tonight’s show was a standing presentation from local and up-and-coming designers (including Adam Andreas, menswear designer – some of his pieces pictured above.)

Thought-Provoking Fashion

R.A.W. by Rio Wrenn began with a pair of rust-stained (but it looked like something else) underwear lying on the floor of their section, followed by a woman in garters and a slip walking around and posing on a fainting couch.  There were a few displays of the rust-stained fabrics that the label is known for also in the installation, but it still left you wondering what exactly the label produced and what its message was (besides stained underwear).  [Ah, Portland!]  The artist in fact utilizes insects, rusted objects, plants, and copper to hand-dye her silk and silk blends, making them into lingerie and selling the fabrics.  R.A.W. Textiles strives to pave the way to a sustainable future by being conscientious of the dye, fabrics, and production methods used in their clothing.

Laura Allcorn provided a small sampling of her jewelry and a display of a model “pollinating” a a rack of orchids with a feather duster.  Concerned with the phenomenon of colony collapse disorder [a potentially serious problem for honeybees, the plants they pollinate, and the rest of us who depend on those plants for food] she created a small line of modular jewelry.  She was also gifting pendants made from pollen suspended in resin to remind people of the importance of this issue – one she said can be helped by shopping locally and in-season, supporting local beekeepers,  and planting wildflowers native to your region in your garden to encourage honeybee colonies to return and flourish.

Established Local Brands

Idom showcased a few of designer Modi Soondaratok’s signature dresses, featuring quirky, sweet design details that elevate them from the ordinary to the amazing.

Dawn Sharp, who has achieved incredible success with her line of fun, detailed separates and dresses, presented a few pieces from her Spring 2011 collection [entitled “Free Spring/Summer 2011”].  Inspired by psychedelia in all its complex forms, her dresses were comprised of the highest-quality silk burnout fabrics, silk velvets, and charmeuses in kooky prints.  In business since 2007 and selling online in her Etsy store, Bonadrag, and Cultist (as well as a number of brick-and-mortar stores in LA), the price point for her pieces is affordable and the pieces themselves covetable.

Designer Emily Christensen showcased a number of dresses from her line Filly in a variety of neutral hues.  Inspired by the environment around her, she creates her dreamy pieces to be the ultimate testimony to the beauty of the female form, utilizing no zippers, buttons, or fasteners of any type.  Her pull-on designs allow for ease of wear and enhance her customers’ natural beauty.  She only uses American-milled fabric (a true rarity these days!), working closely with a manufacturer and dyer in San Francisco so all her prints and colors are completely unique to Filly.  The line is sold in more than 75 stores across the US, Canada, and Japan, and online at Vickerey.


Metalsmith and jewelry artist Emily Baker presented a few pieces from her recent collections for her line Sword + Fern [you may have saw the brand mentioned in Lucky Magazine awhile back].  The recycled glass and oxidized chain pieces were hauntingly charming, and her use of recycled fabrics, metal, and vintage findings in her chic statement jewelry truly embody the ideas of Reuse and Recycle.  Purchase Baker’s beautiful
pieces in her shop in Portland [811 East Burnside #114] or online in her Etsy shop.

Pinkham Millinery (the only operating millinery in the city of Portland!) showcased a number of hats from the line.  Renowned milliner Dayna Pinkham, whose hats have appeared on the heads of celebrities, athletes, rock stars, actors, and the Kentucky Derby, still designs and constructs each hat by hand in her downtown Portland studio.

The man himself.  Or at least a giant cardboard photo of him.

And of course the big draw this year for the entire world is Seth Aaron Henderson, recent winner of Project Runway Season 7, who will be showcasing his Spring collection this Saturday.  He has collaborated with PFW sponsor SolarWorld for his collection, inspired by the company’s black photovoltaic solar panels.

A necklace made from a solar panel which will be auctioned off later on during the week.

Amazingly, they’ve closed the rest of the week to more press (probably due to the high profile he’s brought to the shows this year), so who knows if I’ll be able to return to cover any more of this week’s events.  I probably will have to stow away in somebody’s bag.:-(

Oh well, whether I attend or not – there’ll be more coverage of the days to come on the way!


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