NYFW Day 1: On safari with Ports 1961

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Ports 1961, the Canadian-based fashion house known for its rich and elegant modern designs, presented its Spring 2011 collection in the grand Theater. The collection — Fiona Ciabani's first as sole Creative Director since the departure of her sister Tia — was both exotic and intelligent, and designed to take Ports’ jet-setter woman from her business lunch meeting in Dubai to her moonlight, safari dinner in Libya.

The collection was inspired by the desert landscapes of Northern Africa and models sported full-bodied, windswept waves. Terracotta was splashed across lips and eyes, cheeks were kissed by the Sahara sun, and delicate shell jewelry adorned wrists and necks.

As is the trend for spring, silhouettes were long and loose in cuts reminiscent of Lauren Hutton’s '70s style: effortlessly chic and surprisingly practical. Fluid silks in muted neutrals and dusty earth tones floated ethereally around the body. An exceptional ivory dress hit just above the knee, belted subtly at the waist with a thin, nude leather belt, and was pure elegance from the back where two ruffles of fabric lined the sides of a sharp V point, fluttering in the model's wake.

The show continued with a feminized linen safari trench, nude cotton pencil pants paired with an oversized silk top, and a cowl-neck dress in a muted print. Pops of vivid jewel tones like amethyst, emerald, and mica were interwoven into the neutral-heavy palate. Deconstructed draping allowed garments to hang with chic abandon. A faintly printed satin top carelessly fell off one shoulder, oblivious of its sex appeal.

The highlight of the show was the final pass of iridescent gowns whose mica and pyrite tones rippled enchantingly with each step. The fabric became textured and splattered with jewels that poured from a shoulder and enraptured a collar bone with exotic grace.

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