It’s dark, cold, and extremely wet. I mean this is the Northwest, after all. I trek through the muddy puddles created by the constant rain. I start to hear music. It’s jammin' in there. I round the corner of the street and finally see the warehouse entrance. I walk up, and I have no idea what I am doing. I awkwardly tell the people at the entrance that my name is supposed to be on some list. Pretty special, right? They direct me to another table, but not before tagging me with the bracelet of shame. Ahhh yes, the bracelet of shame. The bright pink bracelet that all of us “underaged” attendees must disgracefully wear. The bracelet that shouts, “I am not cool enough to have a plastic cup full of fun juice like you, but instead I get a paper cup… with the boring juice.”
Anyways, being from Seattle, attending a show in Portland, I don’t recognize many faces. I try to make small talk with a couple of different individuals, but you know how people can be in this industry (little snots). So after strolling around the venue (which, by the way, was incredible and hardly recognizable as a warehouse), I decide to people watch. It’s fun to people watch at events like these, with everyone judging each other’s outfits, strutting around as though they should be a part of Anna Wintour’s posse. I giggle to myself as I take it all in. I love this industry.
Finally, they begin to allow guests to take their seats. We all eagerly shuffle in and quickly find our designated spots. I keep kicking myself for not bringing my photographer with me. Oh well, I will find a way to get her here for tomorrow’s show. I whip out my trusty little notebook and prepare myself for what is ahead. The show begins. I intently watch each look as the models strut down the runway, mentally making notes of my favorite looks while simultaneously jotting down notes of what trends I see peeking out.
The first designer of the evening is Wendy Ohlendorf. As each look is introduced, I start to notice some trends within the designs that resemble what I have been seeing in the media and reading about. What does a blogger do when they can’t go to New York Fashion Week? You stalk all of your favorite bloggers that can. The Victorian Era is having an influence on trends this fall, and Ohlendorf’s collection certainly reflected this in a simple but beautiful way. Her delicate, sheer fabrics, high collars, and frills were the highlight of her collection.
Next was designer Katherine Tessier, bringing denim on denim on denim on denim… and I loved it. Each look was unique in its own way, with big pockets, open backs, geometric cuts and shapes, and even boobs! One model made her way down the catwalk with what might be classified as some sort of denim blazer, with nothing underneath it. Oh so very sexy, yet extremely tasteful. Well done, Tessier, well done.
This next collection was a bit more classic. Stephanie D Couture’s collection was not lacking in beaded embellishments or asymmetrical cuts. This designer was not afraid to have her models show a little leg. I’m sure Miss Angelina Jolie would thank her.
The final collections of the evening tie in together. First was Walter Collection by Walter Mendez. Let me tell you, I was in awe of these gowns. The detail that was put into them; every bead, embellishment, and bustle, each sequin, and feather must have been so carefully and intentionally placed for the pieces to look so flawless. The Moroccan inspired line graced the stage with everything from fantastic, vibrant colors to elegant pastel pinks and nudes. Again, we see the reoccurring trend of high collars and lots of leg. The collection then transitions into Ryan and Walter Bridal. It just kept getting better and better. I am a die hard fan of long, dramatic trains and wedding gowns doused in 3D floral embellishments. I truly believe I saw my dream gown on the runway that night. The show could not have had a better finale.
My heart soars. I am left speechless. I leave the venue floating on cloud nine as I head back to my hotel. I can not wait to tell my photographer all about the evening. After spending an adventurous day in Portland, eating amazing grilled cheese, and finding the coolest coffee shop ever, it’s time to get ready for the fourth and final evening of FashioNXT. My photographer, Kelsey, joins me this time (she gets a cool bracelet).
The first collection of the night, by Julie Danforth, is definitely for the working woman; beautiful silk fabrics, blazers/pant suits, and simple yet elegant dresses. Next, Melynda Valera’s collection made me think of Mother Nature. Every look was white with coral flowers as 3D embellishments along with plenty of plunging necklines.
Now, for the third collection, think of a night out on the town; form fitting cocktail dresses, sparkles, blacks, and deep rich reds make for an oh-so-classy look. The designer, Romey Roe draws inspiration from his life experiences. The darkness of this collection makes you wonder what those experiences may have consisted of. On the contrary, Layneau Collection by Kaaren Bedi is meant for a night in. Extravagant lace, sheer nightgowns, and silky slips are the perfect recipe for a luxury boudoir collection.
Michelle Lesniak closed out the show. Her pieces were inspired by a trip she had taken to Peru. Her collection was edgy and dark, with splashes of color and A-line skirts and dresses. I would totally wear each of her looks on a regular basis. I loved and wanted all of it!
The night draws to an end; I didn’t make it through the show without removing my painful clip on earrings, regardless of how many times I reminded myself, “beauty is pain!” This year’s FashioNXT exceeded expectations for many. The venue, the staff, the set up of the runway, the models, the designers: everything was very well put together. I had an amazing experience and hope to attend next year.
Farewell, Portland, until next time.
Stay tuned for Post 2 next week, where I will be sharing pictures of our adventures in Portland as well as my outfits for the shows!
Photographer: David M. Bailey
Header Picture: Kelsey Hosler