Designer Andrea Reynders does not fall prey to the whims of fashion trends. Instead, she prefers pieces that blend the past with the present to create a timeless look.

On Wednesday, she’ll host a trunk show at the Quimby Colony in Portland to exhibit and sell her line of women’s coats, men’s shirts and upcycled garments.

Reynders is completing her second artist-in-residence fellowship at the Quimby Colony. She’s a professor emeritus at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she taught fashion for close to 40 years.

“I like really modern things, but I also really like traditional things as well,” she said.

Last fall, when Reynders completed her first artist-in-residence at the colony, she designed and crafted the patterns for her current line of coats. Now she has completed the unique handmade garments, along with a selection of other clothing pieces.

The men’s dress shirts have a simple yet roomy cut, with a special hidden pocket. A travel skirt made from a synthetic black fabric is water resistant, and can be folded into a tiny pouch for packing. It’s also available in a washed wool version.

Reynders has reworked a handful of men’s sports coats into women’s jackets featuring artistic touches, with the signature design element being the ribbons attaching the sleeves to the shoulders.

Her one-size-fits-all coats, which will serve as the centerpiece of the show and are all named after friends and family members, offer a sculptural and, in places, almost architectural look.

A couple of the coats employ an ingenious design trick allowing them to be worn two ways for two completely different looks. “I like clothing that has multiple uses,” Reynders said.

A cream-colored washed wool is her favorite fabric for the coats, but she also uses a Tyvek fabric with a metallic sheen and a chocolate brown alpaca wool.

Features such as asymmetrical pockets, oversized collars and extra-long sleeves (which can be flipped up to form dramatic cuffs or worn long and used as a muff) distinguish these jackets from their off-the-rack cousins.

Many of the coats do not feature buttons or zippers, because “the type of woman or man who will buy these is clever enough to figure that out,” Reynders said. She envisions the coats being closed with a decorative safety pin or broach.

Prices for the pieces in her collection range from $300 for a men’s shirt to $2,460 for the Monique coat. Other coats fall in the $400 range.

“These are investment pieces that you’ll have a really long time,” Reynders said. “These kinds of things are like old friends. They hold a memory when you put them on.”

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:

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