The esteemed Art Institute of Portland (AI) hosted the “Drawing the Line” Fashion Show at Pure Space Saturday, June 1st. Featuring collections from graduating seniors, the show is perpetually described as one of the most dynamic in the city. This year’s theme “Drawing the Line” incorporated work from the Art Institute’s animation department, in addition to the Graphic Design, Culinary, Advertising, Fashion Marketing, Design Management, Photography, and Digital Film & Video departments. The concept of “Drawing the Line” was inspired by the notion that fashion touches all aspects of life. The collaboration between the fashion and the animation students manifested into intricate paper dresses that were displayed on mannequins down the center of the runway—place savers for what would later be a trail for models adorned with original designs by AI designers. The purpose of the annual show is not only to introduce graduating designers, soon to be recognized as influential and prominent figures in the local industry, but also to support the Art Institute’s Creative Scholarship program through a silent auction.
Planning for the annual fashion show begins six to nine months in advance, as the production requires significant detail and consideration from both the Art Institute, and West Coast Event Productions. Image magnification, extensive staging, piping, draping, meticulous sound, lighting, and audio visual components, were all executed by West Coast Event Productions, who has been part of AI’s senior collection show for a number of years.
“All elements of a fashion show really go hand in hand” said Art Institute Student Producer, MaryAnn Escutia, when asked which aspects were most pertinent to making the event a success. “If we didn’t have the right music paired with it (the fashion show), it won’t present well. If we don’t have the right lights, the garments won’t show well. If the setting isn’t just right with decor and coverage, then we don’t present ourselves well. Everything has to work together in order to be just right” Escutia continued, which is why West Coast works meticulously to ensure delivery of the best quality sound, lighting, and production possible to show case the talented students work.
West Coast’s successful execution of the annual event has brought the Art Institute back to Pure Space for the past three consecutive years. In addition to West Coast’s exceptional Audio Visual and lighting technicians and equipment, the Art Institute identifies Pure Space as an ideal venue for the Fashion Show, further supporting their consistent decision to collaborate with West Coast for the significant event.
“Pure Space offers us the versatility for the layout that we want, and the beauty of the space speaks for itself. It is the right size for our show and the amount of guests we have. It gives us the availability to separate our event just perfectly—with the show downstairs, and the silent auction and VIP upstairs on the mezzanine. Above all, the atmosphere is what I love about Pure Space” said Escutia, describing the venue. “It creates this energy that is so captivating and welcoming. It gives us that feeling of being with 1,000 of our closest friends in a relaxed setting. Other venues provide corporate settings and don’t give us the energy that a show like ours deserves. The space is big enough to fit everyone comfortably, and small enough to bring us all together. It truly is my favorite venue for this show.”
Like the Art Institute’s aspiring designers’ page, Pure Space started as a clean slate. Preparations for the intricate and sizable production began Thursday, prior to the event, when crews began setting lighting to ensure the most favorable ambiance possible to showcase the designers’ pieces as they flowed down the center runway. While strategic, lighting remained modest compared to the majority of events at Pure Space that take advantage of the venue’s amazing lighting equipment and capabilities. House lights gleamed, in addition to carefully set bulbs positioned to illuminate the models and the pieces by creating an enhancing shadow effect. Décor was kept minimal aside from the pieces created by the fashion and animation students that extended the length of the runway before the show began.
Image Magnification played an integral role in the show. With the runway positioned down the center of the space with guests seated on either side, I mag projections allowed the audience to view the looks coming down the runway not only from a side profile, but on-coming frontals as well. A camera positioned at the end of the runway filmed the models as they sashayed down the runway—feeding the image on screens directly in front of each audience on both sides. This ensured the audience was able to evaluate and take in each collection and movement of the pieces from all angles and perspectives.
The 700 guests enjoyed cocktails and nibbles, while mingling upstairs on the mezzanine in the silent auction and VIP area. Many of the guests were Art Institute of Portland alumni, while others were Portland fashionistas, and industry professionals eager to see the looks. Three student designers were awarded for their collections by a panel of notable judges, though all designers that presented deserve recognition. Each collection offered innovative and fabulous pieces guests would have loved to take home to their closets.
West Coast Event Productions has unconditionally enjoyed working with the Art Institute of Portland, and housing the fashion that results from the spectacularly talented students that hone their skills at AI each year. Given the collections witnessed at “Drawing the Line”, future fashion shows are sure to ensue from these young designers, and West Coast welcomes them to show case their collections where it all began, at Pure Space.
To see more fashion from “Drawing the Line”, visit #VerizonStyle on Twitter to see what guests’ tweeted as their favorite looks from the evening.
More from the Fashion Show-
Portland Fashion Week at “Drawing the Line”
Photos Courtesy of The Art Institute of Portland