Runway at the Shipyards

What a treat!! My fabulous friend Lenore and I got tickets to the last night of Portland Fashion Week. When I saw that Anna Cohen, one of my favorite Portland designers was showing, I couldn't resist. And am I glad I didn't!

Portland Fashion Week holds most of it's events at the Swan Island shipyards where they build... ships. There are HUGE INCREDIBLE GIANT ENORMOUS SHIPS everywhere. In the dark with industrial lanterns glinting off their gigantic propellers and hulls and bows and the BIG CRANES and the guys in hard hats with lights guiding you in, just like on a airport runway (runway!). It was gorgeous! And my heart started to beat rapidly upon seeing fashionable people teetering around the ships in their high heels on the way to the show.

My friend Lenore looked beautiful and got a compliment on her coat as soon as she stepped out of the car. I was very glad I wore the late 50's white knit dress that I did, it was chic and warm. We entered the warehouse where they had covered the walls in white fabric and placed a full bar. There was live music and a crowd. We had wine and got our photo taken by a party photographer!

Then... the show. We were all excited to sit down under the white curtains and watch the models come down the runway. Fashion shows are a little like rock shows in that the music is so intense and hard to resist. The anticipation in the crowd was growing and everyone was keyed up to see the first girl come out, and then she did and...the outfit was BORING. And so was the next one, and the next one. What a waste! 4 designers showed their "eco-friendly" lines of clothing and each was more of a snore than the last. Hemp tank tops? Maybe for summer backyards, but not for the runway! Knit yoga pants? Dullsville. Ugly, shapeless sun dresses? Awful floral prints and unflattering silhouettes? Mon Dieu! A tragedy!

But FINALLY Anna Cohen, fashion visionary, was about to show her "Imperial" collection. All eyes peered to the end of the runway, eagerly waiting for the music, and an inexplicably anti-climactic event occured: a lady came out and proceeded to spend the next half an hour telling us about the history of her company. Mein Gott! This nice lady evidently owns the sheep ranch that produces Anna's wools that she uses for her clothes. This ranch is providing sustainable, locally produced clothes from source to market and is a very good thing.

However. This presentation sucked all of what little life was left in the show and nearly killed everyone from a TERRIBLE ENNUI.

At long last, Anna Cohen sent her BEAUTIFUL DESIGNS down the runway, and we all applauded with relief and great appreciation. Bravo!

Portland is trying to get itself noticed by the hoi polloi of the fashion industry. Designers like Adam Arnold, Anna Cohen, Nathanial Crissman and Rachel Turk, even Project Runway winner Leanne Marshall are all worthy of super stardom. It's depressing to see others who don't push the fashion enevelope or maybe just don't have the chops. If you're given the opportunity to show a collection on the runway for Portland Fashion Week 2009, you gotta' BRING IT, PEOPLE!

Where's Michael Kors when you need him?!

I thought this gentleman in front of me had cool style.

Here is the handsome mayor Sam Adams introducing the show:

And here is a clip from the show, just to give you a bit of the FLAVOR of the hot beats.


Jon said…
That is a wierd remix of the song "When I grow Up" by Fever Ray. The album the original version of the song is on is AMAZING!

I am also in love with Anna Cohen's line and am so glad she came back from her short hiatus.