Ports 1961 collection had a split personality. On the one hand, there was crisp, slightly military-influenced tailoring, and on the other, diaphanous dresses and see-through separates. “This season,” designer Fiona Cibani wrote in the program notes, “the Ports 1961 woman has two souls inspired by the spirit of the Greek goddess Artemis: one strong and warrior-like; one sensual and feminine.” While it’s nice to see Cibani pushing at the boundaries of what the brand can be, the tailoring was her more successful category.
For the “stylish, working independent woman” that the Canadian company describes as its customer on its website, there was real value in a cotton twill suit featuring of-the-moment cropped pants. The Ports customer probably has less need for a pleated kilt, or a pair of trousers in silk-cotton voile so sheer it would expose her knickers for all the world to see. Beyond that, there was the simple fact that pieces such as coatdresses with brass buttons marching down the front were rendered with more confidence and skill than a wrap camisole and a skirt made complicated with godets and gussets. Artemis can keep her fussy goddess dresses.