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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Teo Griscom of Unforeseen Circumstances

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 4:35 PM

Last Friday at Lille Boutique attendees were treated to a fashion show of the Spring collection from Unforeseen Circumstances designed out of New York by Teo Griscom. (Check out the apparel line she also co-designs, Jackson, Johnston & Roe). The gorgeous pieces in eye grabbing colors like French blue and vibrant emerald will all be available at Lille. In the meantime check out the fall collection in stock and this Q&A with Griscom herself:

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MERCURY: What is your design background, and what is the relationship between Unforeseen Circumstances and Jackson Johnston and Roe?

Teo Griscom: I have a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The school is interdisciplinary, so I worked in painting, printmaking, and photography. I also have an associates degree from The Art Institute of California in Fashion. I have interned for the likes of VPL, and worked freelance as a designer for several knitwear and womenswear collections based in New York. There is really no relationship between the two brands—except that I also am co-owner and designer of Jackson, Johnston and Roe. (I am Johnston). I have designed a few exclusives—Unforeseen Circumstances for JJ&R—in the past. JJ&Rjj and UC definitely share the same principles and philosophy regarding production and material standards.

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What are your priorities as a designer, in regards to materials, production, price point, etc?

I have been focusing more on bringing my sensibilities as an artist into the line. I want UC to be sort of fantastical in its use of color and detail, and sold more as one of a kind. I realize also that if I choose to grow the brand that there is a certain expanding that as a designer you have to give into, but there are things I won't comprise on, such as it is really important to me that the line be produced in the US and not in China. I believe strongly in quality and not quantity. Needless to say this makes it a bit of a labor of love and not any sort of monetary glory. I try to use only silks and cottons coming from Italy or France, which is hard, of course. My price point is fairly reasonable—most of it is under $100. As I expand I intend to offer a range of collection price points. I am very much of the thought of owning things that I really love and care for. If one cares for their lingerie, washing it by hand, it will last. My line is not supposed to be really seen as functional everyday wear, under jeans for example. That might really go against people's reason to buy clothes and lingerie in general, but for me it's about slowing down, almost. It's about a consideration in what you wear, if you are, say, hanging around your apartment in the afternoon.

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What in particular is new or of note in the spring collection? What were your references?

I added a few new bodies and colors that were influenced by watching Powell and Pressburger films, mainly Red Shoes and Tales of Hoffmann. I love the costumes and the dancing. I am still always thinking about relationships between interiors and one's surroundings. I was also inspired by recent travels to Provence, France and Santa Fe, NM (where I am from).

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