If the experience of going to a show at Lincoln Center can feel like you’re checking in for an airport flight, the experience of going to this season’s Ports 1961 show felt like stopping in for an afternoon cup of tea with Brooke Astor. Shown in a gorgeous Fifth Avenue townhouse, soft jazz played as guests found their seats, which were split between multiple rooms within the gilded mansion. There wasn’t the chaotic frenzy you get at most shows, and given the reigned-in guest list this season, the room was filled with true Ports 1961 fans. How do I know? Nearly everyone, at least in the section where I was seated, had on at least one piece from one of the brand’s previous collections.
As for the Fall 2011 collection itself, it was designed once again by Tia Cibani’s sister, Fiona Cibani, who is now the brand’s creative director. The intimate setting was the perfect way for everyone in attendance to appreciate the workmanship that went into every one of the pieces. Though less outwardly detailed than they have been in past seasons, the techniques used in the collection—inspired by opulent European interiors and formal architecture— were stunning. Standing out in particular was a series of herringbone separates that was later followed by laser cut lace pieces that made for a gorgeous boy shirt, pencil skirt, and coat.
Most of the looks were finished with a metallic accented slim belt that worked particularly well for the pieces with more masculine tailoring. Leather was featured prominently in the collection, as has been the trend this season, and made for beautiful details on, for example, the sleeves of a top or the waist and bust via leather bands.
The subtly-detailed, seasonless collection was cohesive without ever being boring, something that was well reflected in the hair style, created by Guido for Redken, which was pulled back and clean, but had a slight disheveled bump for a prim and proper look with a hint of sass.