Long before fashion shows assumed their modern incarnation of sleek runways with DJs spinning house music to a massive audience, they were historically quiet, intimate affairs for buyers and private clients. Three local womenswear designers returned to the private model of yesteryear with a gray Sunday morning collaborative show called Residents, in a Southwest Portland home. Kate Towers, Alexa Stark, and Britt Howard stuffed their invite-only attendees ranging from famous rockers to boutique owners into the living room while mimosas flowed.
The doorbell rang signifying the beginning of the show. Models slowly walked room to room along the simple taped floor marker while nearly every one in attendance got a front row seat. Alexa Stark’s models, faces ensconced with hair, were choreographed by performance artist Sidony O'Neal using breath to “express the interconnection between all of us and the surrounding world” they softly blew their hair into the air while slowly meandering in Stark’s raw denim and minimalist looks.
Next up Kate Towers–one of Portland’s most veteran designers–showed oversized, feminine pieces with Peter Pan collars and a soft color palette with models slipped into coral colored sandals and pops of gold in the hair.
Finally, Britt Howard, known best as one of the co-creaters of Portland Garment Factory, debuted her new line-Howard. With pretty maroon carnations perched atop the models, the simple idea emphasized Howard’s bold and modern feminine collection.
Overall the show was cohesive with a strong point of view (and the mimosas and mini quiche bites equally fun). In a time when shows grow larger and larger, the step back to basics was a strong move. It allowed the clothing and spirit of the designers to shine through in a close and personal way for every person there. And isn’t that really what it’s about?