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Fashion Week at Lincoln Center

Renee Minus White | 4/12/2011, 5:30 p.m.
Spring/summer 2011 designs by Ports 1961 for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center

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Spring/summer 2011 designs by Ports 1961 for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center is in full swing. "I've never noticed so many people so well dressed in the area," said one couple out for a walk.

Lincoln Center's square offers magnificent photo opps, what with the fountain and tall skyscrapers in the neighborhood serving as backdrops. For editors and other fashion folks, their digital system is very convenient: Everything is digitalized, which cuts down on the lines and waiting time to get into each show. In the tent, press credentials are scanned to give editors their schedules and seat assignments daily, eliminating the need to stand on line to check in. There's also a beautiful garden, usually used for special promotions, to relax in between shows.

It's Fashion Week all around New York City. Designers are showing their spring/summer 2011 collections in showrooms, clubs, hotels, galleries and stores.

At Ports 1961's show, held in the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tent at Lincoln Center, fabrics shimmer as flowing pants and dresses appear on the runway. The theme of the show is "Essadi," the pseudonym used by explorer Isabelle Eberhardt on her journey in Northern Africa in the 19th century. Captivated by the allure of dessert landscapes and their mesmerizing effect on the human spirit, Fiona Cibani (designer of the collection) harnesses her delicate strength with Port 1961's spring 2011 collection.

The contrast of jagged geometric forms and the sensuous curves of sand dunes inspire this designer. Fiona composes robust silhouettes that encompass delicate, fluid shapes in both draped and tailored pieces. Her innovative mirage-layering techniques produce a color degrade that's evocative of twilight desert skies, while artful embellishments suggest the fragile beauty of natural minerals. Iridescent crystals adorn eveningwear. The luminescent granular film that's applied to fabric through heat treatment offers a modern interpretation of applique that further reveals the collection's contemporary spirit.

Ports 1961's colors recall the sweeping desert typography with muted daytime neutrals like ivory, shell and rosette that are paired with dusty earth notes such as dune, mica, willow and Sahara. These are in contrast with dazzling, gem-like tones of terracotta, emerald, sapphire and amethyst.

A variety of innovative treatments highlight the collection's focus on luxurious texture. There are silks, cottons and linens rendered with a glowing sheen. Man-made fabrics are woven with irregular yarns to create textures and patterns that mimic desert sandstone and the brushstrokes of the wind across the dunes.

Abstract camouflage prints are pretty and digitally printed on silk satin and chiffon in rich neutrals and bold tonal palettes. In tactful supplement, ultra-fine suede brings a delicate touch, a dusty surface that's softly draped.

Fiona Cibani creates an elegant collection within a realm of harmonic contrasts. Good Show!