For a lump-sum preview of Portland's next fashion trends, there's Fade To Light, a bi-annual show that turns the Crystal Ballroom into a catwalk for designers and their tailored devotees.
This year, leather craftress Ms. Wood came back after a three-year hiatus. Seven other designers debuted spring lines, including Laurs Kemp, Wendy Ohlendorf, Stephanie D., Rogue:Minx, Altar and Tiffany Bean. It was an odd cocktail of designs—evening-wear spliced with rompers; pink balloons and leather chokers.
If Light's right, brace yourself for pom poms, Palm Beach prints, whiffs of Kanye and the dying breath of health goth.
Begging for comparison.
Staying mostly on-brand, SDC's bridal collection threw a few necessary punches with an embellished black halter and blue mini.
Wes Anderson sensibilities rolled like Tilda Swinton credits in this twee, '60s-style line from the owner of adorable Portland boutique Mabel and Zora.
The biggest disappointment was Rogue:Minx's 1970s motel room mixed with heroin chic line, which looked a lot more like Forever 21 than the edgy and well-finished rogue looks that we're used to from Anna-Marie Cooper.
After the designer left her gig as a glorified chauffeur for Grimm stars, Wendy Ohlendorf's Boulevard de Magenta became a mainstay of Portland women's fashion. This, her first line at a Fade to Light show, fell on the light side of impressive, showing mostly business casual looks that channelled the early 2000s. Her best were her simplest ones: the sleek dresses in a eye-crossing geometric print.
The "Painted Hills" collection—where models' nose-hills were painted—was a full-length lineup of sleek and sheer looks made in collaboration with Fade to Light creator Elizabeth Mollo. They traded avant-garde for refreshingly wearable, with a collection that looks like a Northwest bohème's suitcase for Palm Beach.
The last show was Ms. Wood's first in three years. And thank God the leather accessorizer is back—our cowhide totes and garters were showing wear.
The most interesting looks are usually in the audience: