Friday night’s Form Function show managed to pull off an unusual feat I rarely encounter at Portland fashion events. I knew basically no one in attendance. Put aside my narcissistic overtone for a minute to let me break that down a bit. This translates to newcomers and a crowd whose interesting was piqued because of the shows participation within the Architecture + Design Festival. So, bravo to the organizers for bringing in some new fashion faces.
The show itself was framed by a white geometric ceiling to floor installation the models walked through to come down the runway. With all the neck craning I saw in the audience I would like to put out a mandate that all future fashion shows must have chairs, or at least ones for fashion writers of average height who wear uncomfortable shoes. Moving on, the show began with Emily Ryan whose design aesthetic explores structure and geometry within women’s clothing. My favorite piece of hers was a bat-wing like jacket with a funnel collar. After Emily, designer Liza Reitz showed a color-blocked collection emphasizing the juxtaposition between hard and soft. Her strength lies in her innate ability to combine tailored looks with soft draped elements. Accessory designer Emily Baker then sent her Sword + Fern pieces down the runway paired with oversized tees and black tights. The circular elements in her collections remind me of a series of lovely crop circles aliens have left for us to admire. Designer Dawn Sharp, whom I am a fan of, showed pieces where I didn’t feel as much of a connection to architecture. Exception was one polished look with diamond insert and flattering draped front jacket. Finally Adam Arnold wrapped up the night in his typical slightly odd, but always impressive way. As one of our most established independent designers he has honed in on his tailoring skills. With highlight pieces of plaid perfection in both women’s and men’s wear it was an easy reminder why we are lucky to have him in Portland. Overall, a show well done for its first time out and I hope the first of many more to come.