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PORTS 1961: FALL 2009


West Chelsea, New York City

March 24th, 2009

Words, Images Judith Ecochard

Runway shows are a great way to see how a collection moves on female forms…but we always try to follow up an intriguing RTW outing with an intimate visit to a designer’s atelier.

With Tia Cibani’s ---and her upscale Ports 1961---the Bryant Park show was barely able to display the number of separates, dresses, coats and accessories that comprise Fall 2009 offerings.

And there is a lot to admire, including an amazing color palette--- so refreshing versus all the neutral tone basics clogging so many Fall 2009 collections (and a reason to shop), glorious textiles, a wide range of internationally appropriate/accessible silhouettes, and polished tailoring.

As usual, Cibani is inspired by some locale and a time period. In this collection, India under the Mughal Dynasty serve as the wellspring for bright colors-curry yellow, orange, shades of creamy beige, sky blues…and sumptuous lightweight textiles like gold brocade, jacquards and tweeds.

Plus special one offs with incredible embellished details---like a worldy “Zardozi Vest.”

We have lived and traveled all over the world…and it is obvious to us that Ports 1961 is clearly aimed at a global customer---and not just Western oriented NY/LA/Paris/Milan/London dwellers. We think much of the Fashion press misses the point (or rather, this massive niche---hello people, get outside your comfort zone).

But we digress.

Top on our lists are the four seasons’ wearable dusty rose tweed puffed capped sleeve dress softly gathered at the waist via a wide ribbon neatly ‘embedded’ and elegant sheaths that available in pale tweeds.

There are also several coat dresses and evening samples---a welcome comeback that reminds us of some of the original Givenchy silk creations from the early sixties…with fitted bodices defining the upper portion of the body--- flowing into swing pleats of gently draped folds that hit just below the knee.

Slim fitting black pants paired with one shouldered silk sari blouses, beautiful knits in tangerine orange and rose, and perfectly seamed high waist trousers are modern separates that we can see women living anywhere in the world---wearing.

And naturally, the accessories are knockouts---

including buttery soft Opera length leather gloves with side brass buttons and fushia finger accents for stretch and visual interest (hope we can score a pair at some point in our life!!!)

and a statement making Jasmine Zardozi Doctor Bag…that’s roomy enough to transport items required for quick jetset jaunts.


The advertising campaign---with visually stimulating images, no doubt---- shot in INDIA.