Ports 1961 Fall/Winter 2010 Runway Show — Flyin’ Above
For her Fall 2010 collection, Ports 1961 designer Tia Cibani found inspiration in the look, spirit, and attitude of Amelia Earhart, the pioneering female aviator who earned worldwide recognition in 1932, when Congress honored her with the Distinguished Flying Cross after her landmark flight across the Atlantic, making her the first female recipient of this award. The most obvious reference to the Earhart influence were the aviator-inspired hats peppered throughout the Ports 1961 runway show, which was held on February 11th at the Promenade in Bryant Park. Still, Cibani’s interpretation of the aviation influence was unique and intrepid — even with the hat designs, which ranged from ’20s-era, cloche-like silhouettes to dramatic pieces with long flaps along the back and a medieval armory feel.
What made this collection so exciting was how it managed to blur the line between masculine and feminine, between retro and modern. The storyline gave a nod to the boundary-defying attitude Earhart embodied with her refusal to accept traditional gender norms, so that most of the pieces juxtaposed traditionally “masculine” cuts or colors with softer, feminine touches. An ivory sweater dress with an exquisite wool-like texture, for example, was paired with rugged, black, elbow-length leather gloves and a soft ivory leather hat sitting atop the head like a brimless, seamless helmet and featuring a curved flap reaching down to the middle of the back. Similarly, an oatmeal-colored felt coat with white leather trim was worn over a feminine lace blouse and paired with skinny pants and a charcoal-colored bucket hat with angular ear flaps. Earthy colors like deep browns and olives were given a softer touch with elaborate beaded embellishments (as with some of the draped silk blouses), paired with pieces in festive and coquettish colors like sparkly gold, or accessorized in such a manner as to accentuate the female shape (as with a long-sleeved printed jumpsuit with a skinny belt cinching the waist and highlighting the model’s silhouette).
While the collection consisted mainly of ivory, black, charcoal, olive green, and brown pieces, there were also touches of deep forest green, navy blue, dark purple, burgundy, and of course metallic hues like bronze, silver, and gold. The fabrics, meanwhile, ranged from chunky knits to wool, felt, velvet, silk, leather, cotton, and lace — all layered to create a really fascinating interplay of textures. Aside from the fantastic wool coats and the aviator hats (which I would order, like, right now!), I was particularly impressed with the exquisitely draped dresses showcased, such as the metallic gold dress pictured below. I also loved how the South Africa-born, Vancouver-raised designer integrated ethnic elements (which she has done in her previous collections) by incorporating bold wood or porcelain necklaces into some of the evening looks.
Check out more photos below for a taste of the show and scroll all the way down for some juicy photos of the clothes backstage moments before the show!