A feel for fashion – Register Guard
By Amanda Bedortha, Special Publications for the Register Guard
Spring is upon us, and local fashion designers Mira Fannin, Allison Ditson and Mitra Chester have been on the lookout for elements to incorporate into their clothing lines. Each of the women is busily preparing for Fashion Week, to be held at various venues in Eugene April 22 to May 1. Each designer offers a distinct view on what to expect from the season.
“We’ll be seeing a lot of natural whites and creams this season,” speculates Mira, designer of Sweet Skins, a clothing line sold at The Eco Boutique in Eugene. “Also black and natural stripes mixed with feminine touches like rosettes, subtle frills and crochet accents.”
Mira, 37, likes to design clothing that makes women feel naturally beautiful. “My style is kind of classic and simple, so women can mix it up and really make it their own,” she says.
While Mira has her eyes on neutral tones, Allison — who goes by Alli and is the designer of Allihalla clothing — has been surprised by reemerging bright colors and vibrant prints, especially on ’70s-style flowing dresses.
“I’ve noticed a number of tribal-ish fabrics in numerous looks and a general ’70s bohemian rough look,” says the 22-year-old. She predicts a less intense rendition of these styles in town this spring, with longer skirts and the low-rise, flair shape for pants again. She also predicts a “leather and fur embracing style to surface as well.”
Alli’s father taught her how to draw up patterns from her own measurements. Both her parents supported her interest in fashion.
“I think it’s really important for people to realize they don’t have to dress like everyone else,” she says.
Mitra Chester, co-owner of Deluxe in Eugene, sees ruffles, flared and high-waisted skirts, ’50s-inspired dresses, floral prints, yellow and orange colors, and swimsuits inspired by vintage lingerie.
Rompers also are emerging with springtime, Mitra says.
“Fashion is about attitude,” the 35-year-old mother of two says. “Almost anything flies these days, if you can pull it off. Skinny, flare, long, short; it doesn’t matter, as long as you look good and feel good.”
Mitra confidently wears a high-waisted skirt she deftly fashioned from a bed ruffle.
In addition to designing clothes, Mitra teaches sewing to budding fans of fashion. Cutting patterns, learning techniques — it all takes practice.
For Mira, fashion is about women looking their best and setting an example for others to follow, not about following trends.
“I love being a designer, for the very purpose of being of service to women in the way of helping them look and feel their best,” she says.
Here in the Northwest, wearing high heels in the pouring rain isn’t always practical — even if we think we look our best. And it can be quite wet and chilly well into May. Mitra recommends floral-print sundresses and rompers that can be layered with cardigans to ward against the unpredictable weather. “Wear tights under shorts if it is still chilly out. There are some great short-sleeved jackets out there right now,” too, Mitra says.
Alli agrees: “I always think it’s practical and stylish to dress in layers, especially in Eugene where one must always be prepared for warm and cool weather.” Spring is the perfect season to mix it up and experiment with unusual combinations, she suggests, such as warm socks with bare legs or a jacket with a camisole inside.
“Also, spring is a great time to start busting out the accessories,” Alli says. The easiest way to prolong the wear of a winter staple is to update your look by using bright accessories: “Black can be a spring color if it’s the stabilizing base for a bright necklace or scarf and coordinated belt,” she advises.
Looking forward, Mitra says Deluxe will be receiving a new shipment of sunglasses and floral tights this spring, and she hopes to see new swimsuits and sundresses.
In addition to its own line of organic apparel, Sweet Skins at The Eco Boutique also offers clothing styles and accessories for men. This spring Mira is adding printed cottons and crocheted tops to the clothing line.
Alli plans to create spring styles that merge the floral feminine look with a more edgy tone. “Like sweet spring dresses and accessories with leather fringe or heavy zippers,” she says.
Alli adds, “I love combining unusual styles and figuring out how to make them work.”
Originally appeared: Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Eugene Fashion Week: Ready to Wear will be at Opus VII on Saturday, April 23, with an opening performance by Mood Area 52 at 6:30. 21+, please. Tickets are $5 in advance, $7 at the door, and available at Deluxe, Redoux and Kitsch beginning Thursday, April 8th.