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Ports 1961 Spring 2011 Show — A Fashion Desert Song

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Though Fiona Cibani mentioned the desert as the inspiration behind the Ports 1961 Spring 2011 collection (her first sans her sister Tia), bare sand dunes seemed like a more accurate and precise indicator, as the garments shown consisted mainly of flowing dresses and blouses in every shade of warm cream, ecru, beige, khaki, gold, and taupe imaginable.

A shimmering, off-one-shoulder silk blouse featuring an asymmetrical neckline, one short sleeve and one long slender sleeve was paired with cuffed khaki shorts. A Grecian-inspired, taupe-colored caftan-like top was draped to reveal just a diamond-shaped slither of the collarbone and decolletage area. An eggshell-colored wrap-around blouse with a deep V neckline and flutter sleeves was paired with fitted trousers in the exact same shade for a slightly ’70s-flavored, monochromatic look. It was, in other words, a parade of neutral pieces — all perfectly constructed, accessible, and easy to incorporate into any woman’s wardrobe. They were the type of pieces you would swoon over at a store; they weren’t, however, the type of pieces you’d relish seeing on a runway, their safe, classic, un-intriguing nature proving too dull, too obvious, and too safe to rivet us. How excited can you get over a sea of beige? Sure, some dresses were given a dose of Lawrence of Arabia glamour, with embroidered crystal details, but none managed to conjure up an ecstatic reaction.

The video backdrop was perhaps the most ill-conceived element of the show. A huge screen featuring flashes of warm pink, white and yellow stretched out behind models as they emerged onto the runway — and, while it helped to reference the desert sky, this video backdrop muted and overshadowed many of Cibani’s neutral designs, swallowing them up in the light so that they becoming nothing but blurs of cream color to those in the audience with less-than-stellar seats.

The most exciting moments in the Ports 1961 show involved the sapphire blue and emerald green silk pieces peppered into the collection, perking up an otherwise bland presentation. An emerald green, silk button-up blouse with short, cap sleeves and a sleek V-shaped neckline caught our eye, as did a knee-length, orchid purple dress with a flouncy detail dangling along one shoulder and across the bodice. Of particular note was a floor-length, deep sapphire blue gown with an exaggerated scooped neckline, a loose and blouse-y bodice, elbow-length, bell-shaped sleeves, and a dreamy draped skirt.

These jewel-toned pieces quenched some of our thirst, but we were left hoping for just a bit more of these to drink up.

Check out more images after the jump!

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