Fiona Cibani has been behind the scenes at Ports 1961 for years, but it was
the departure of her sister, Tia, from the post of creative director this
summer that brought her front and center as head designer and spokesperson. "So far, it's been fun," she said backstage before the show.
Fun and, by the looks of it, easy. Wanderlust is often in the air at a
Ports 1961 show, and this one was chockablock with pretty daywear and
cocktail pieces inspired by a trip to southern Tunisia to explore the
Sahara. "The sky was so blue and the sand was so gold," Cibani said. "I
wanted to create an urban interpretation of someone who's dreaming of the desert." Tawny golds, ivories, and pale iridescents resembled sand shifted by the wind, and the closing dresses in tattered chiffon had an appealing organic elegance. Separates—including well-cut shorts worn with one-shouldered silk tops in vibrant jewel tones—were fetching. The draped silhouettes did look a bit too much the same after a while, causing a slight case of repetition fatigue among the audience. But the flowing, liquid dresses revived us like the sight of a waterfall in a mirage.