In the past week I’ve sat laboring over my review for the final nights of FashioNXT. While many bloggers gleefully pull apart events and designers, it’s not something I revel in. Nevertheless, the event's closing nights had many things that fell into the disappointing camp which distracted from the true point of a fashion show: to view a designer’s collection.

While some attendees were fashion curious, an overwhelming amount seemed more interested in guzzling drinks, talking over First Lady Nancy Hales’ speech, and snapping copious amounts of selfies, barely looking at the runway. The pièce de résistance of bad behavior? One front row guest actually vomited into her purple stiletto before passing out cold, dropping it on the runway, and being carried out by a team of FashioNXT volunteers who absolutely did not sign up for that. Did I mention that this was during the show?

But instead of prattling on about the bad behavior of guests (and one tantrum-y designer), let’s talk about what was good. And what was really good was our own Michelle Lesniak.

In a sea of strapless dresses and fancy gowns that have a roughly 1 in 1,000,000 chance of being worn in Portland, Lesniak’s collection was the most fully realized and wearable line of the shows. Her Great Depression-inspired collection thoughtfully combined traditional workwear attire—like revamped overalls and plaid button-downs—with modern layering pieces from textured knitwear with geometric cut outs to custom jewelry by Benjamin Posin of Sticks & Stones. In addition to creating a cohesive collection with a rich fall color palette, Lesniak also offered a wide variety of ready-to-wear looks—think tailored pants, cozy sweaters, and dresses appropriate for work or play.

While many may know her as the girl from Project Runway, I say rewrite that definition as one of our city's most solid, hardworking, and talented designers...that Project Runway was just lucky enough to get. 

See the designer's full collection (and the other designers from night three and four) in our slide show.

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