Portland Fashion Weekly’s Fall 2011 Collections Series: IDOM

The final installment of Portland Fashion Weekly’s Fall 2011 Collections Series features Portland favorite and longtime Portland Fashion Week designer IDOM. IDOM always delivers stunning garments that are fashion forward, easily wearable, and flatter women of all shapes and sizes and are produced in her native Thailand by independent artisans paid in US living wages. Designer Modi Soondarotok tells us what inspired her Fall 2011 collection and goes into detail about the history behind the inspiration:

"The Autumn/Winter 2011 collection is inspired by the English Renaissance period from literature, to poetry, to art and its garments. The Elizabethan era has been such a fascination to me since I started to study art history. I’m also intrigued by the meanings behind the clothes, the history and its complicated construction.                             

Even though some elements of English Renaissance dress were borrowed from other countries, they did make variations and improvements upon them. One example is the ruff, this small ruffle around the neck and sleeves of a man’s linen shirt, which could vary greatly in its designs. It became a favourite of English gentlemen. The ruff had originally been introduced in Spain by a noblewoman wishing to hide a blemish on her neck.

During the English Renaissance, many garments of the same style were worn by both the upper and the lower classes. However, the type, quality and especially colour, of the fabric used for these clothes varied greatly between the classes. To the rich, fashion was very important as a symbol of their wealth and influence; to the poor, however, their concerns were that a garment be practical, and above all durable. All classes used wool or linen for shirts and underwear, but of vastly different quality. Only the extremely wealthy could afford cotton or silk under garments. These were often embroidered with gold, silver or silk thread.

Fabrics used in English Renaissance clothing were coloured almost exclusively with vegetables dyes. The most common being madder for red, woad for blue, and walnut for brown. In order to create other colours and shades, a chemical, known as a mordant, was needed. For instance, alum used with the weld plant would produce yellow, whereas iron or tin used with weld would result in shades of green. The most expensive dyes to produce were bright red and black. Therefore, only the truly wealthy wore jet black clothing, and scarlet, during the English Renaissance, referred not to a colour, but to an extremely expensive fine grade of wool. Because dyeing was expensive, the clothing of the poorer classes was generally limited to uncoloured linen and brown wool.

My pieces are modern take on this Elizabethan period. There are many complicated construction details and architectural quality to the pieces. I also enjoyed designing based on history and symbolism of this particular period.”

Photography: Elizabeth Russell-Baumgartner  

Hair: Susan Bogdan

Make-Up: Stephanie Fajardo

Models: Iris Dyrhaug, Ava Lichter

Styling and Set Design: Katie Barton

-Elizabeth Mollo