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The Best Fashion Moments of 2012

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IT'S THAT TIME again: time to look back at the year in fashion in Portland and beyond.

It was the year that saw creative breakthroughs across mediums (Adam Arnold's costuming for Oregon Ballet Theatre's awesome Chromatic Quartet, longtime Portland model Ruth Radelet performing live at the Chanel show in Paris with her band Chromatics), retail gains (the Haberdashery, Table of Contents, Backtalk, Demimonde, Rhapsody, a physical Yo Vintage!, the Shoe Store) and relatively few losses (IDOM, Isaac Hers).

There were a slew of successful fashion shows, from Fade to Light to Open Season to a re-branded Portland Fashion Week calling itself FASHIONxt, as well as the broadly encompassing, first-ever Design Week Portland and the third edition of Content. In between were about a million Solestruck parties, more pop-ups than you could shake a stick at, and an overall sense that despite our challenges, the city's fashion and retail culture is making progress.

I personally can't wait to see what 2013 will bring, but in the meantime, here are the hits of 2012, according to some of our local insiders.

Tito Chowdhury, executive producer of FASHIONxt, fashionxt.net

My favorite style moment was seeing a look from a Portland runway grace a full page of Time magazine's October 15 issue, and our fashion week event topping the list of fashion weeks in the US outside New York City.

My favorite event was obviously FASHIONxt, it being the forerunner of a fashion week event that captured the most contemporary definition of fashion, which is our overall expression. Other reasons [are that it's] by far the best experience of a fashion show and exhibit in Portland, introducing Portlanders to what a high-end fashion show needs to look like, and what the impact of a fashion show is for a designer or exhibitor.

My favorite collections [in terms of] local exhibits: Michael Costello's spring/summer 2013 collection for its grace and beauty, and Seth Aaron's fall 2013 collection for a change in his creative direction. 

Charlotte Reich, owner of Palace, palacestore.com

My favorites from 2012: Hansel from Basel socks and bright socks matched with monochromatic apparel; friendship bracelets; women's preppy/tomboy styling; sheer blouses; Peter Pan collars, and rayon. Locally killing it: Stone and Honey, Hazel Cox, Bridge & Burn, OLO Fragrance, and BOET.

Elizabeth Mollo, fashion show producer, MOD contributor, mod.portlandmercury.com

For me, 2012 was all about learning about what we wear, where it comes from, and how it's made. With the release of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion and various tragic/unflattering news stories that reveal the true nature about the apparel industry, I think the general public, albeit slowly, is finally becoming aware of why what they buy is so cheap and the devastating repercussions fast fashion has on the people who work in the factories, the economy, the environment, and our sense of style here and around the world. This awakening has led some of the world's biggest companies (H&M, Zara, etc.) to change their policies and become more ethical in the way they produce their clothing, but we still have a long way to go.

Crispin Argento, owner of Pino, pinoportland.com

Books: Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion; Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington; Fashion and Sustainability by Kate Fletcher and Lynda Grose; and Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon (copy everything—Tom Ford knows that!).

Men's fashion: Burberry Prorsum; Michael Bastian; leather jackets, updated Fonzie/James Dean; blue; gray; and the trim suit, not 1960s, it's modern, new, clean, trim, in bold colors and patterns.

Women's fashion: the return of Jil Sander to Jil Sander (YES!); Marc Jacobs/Louis Vuitton spring/summer 2013; mod look, stripes and checkers; Chanel (Karl is still king); and Helmut Newton.

Lindsey Reif, designer and owner of Reif Haus, reif-haus.com

Nontraditional hair colors: I love seeing ladies with amazing pastel locks. It's refreshing to see alternative hair colors look so chic, and hopefully it will pave the way for even more crazy hair colors!

Statement lipstick: Nontraditional lipstick colors also made it to the forefront this year, and I'm very happy about it. Locally we have Portland Black Lipstick Co., which makes every color under the sun. I love pairing a crazy shade of lipstick with a super simple outfit—it's like the easiest way to make an outfit special.

Peplums are making their way back into fashion, which I think is great—they flatter so many body types and instantly make any outfit look just a little bit fancier.

Lucite! I've seen so many amazing lucite accessories this season, and I am obsessed with shoes with lucite heels. I love things that are see-through or sheer—it's a great way to create texture and it lends a futuristic feel to any outfit.

Fave collections: I love Alexander Wang's spring/summer 2013 collection, and of course Ann Demeulemeester as well. I am always attracted to designers that can create something amazing without too many bells and whistles. That's the mark of a good designer, in my opinion.

Marianne Schnell, style blogger, thestyletrial.com

The Portland scene in 2012 was all about this Ziggy Stardust rocker-meets-whimsical fairy look with its sheer high-low skirts and cutout tops paired with clunky booties, wild manis, and color-streaked hair. Frankly, I couldn't be happier to watch these trends wash away.

@MJSkinner800 on Twitter

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