While rain is inevitably making its way back to Portland, you can transport yourself to a sunnier time with Summerland's lookbook for Spring/ Summer 2013, The Secret Garden. This stunning lookbook, shot by Anja Verdugo, features easy breezy summer dresses and lots of florals and prints. I am particularly fond of the strawberry print blouse. Check out the whole lookbook here.
Wow, what a fun way to end 2013's Open Season! And talk about good luck: The one show with an all-indoor runway just so happened to be on the day this week it really started to rain. Inside Portland's über hip bar Dig A Pony was a collaboration between two of Portland's finest: Elizabeth Dye and Adam Arnold. God, it's hard not to play favorites, but this line—while a little all over the place, like the show itself - Adam was in fishing waders and there was a man in a black onesie and mask jumping and dancing around like some sort of rhythm gymnast... Well, there wasn't one thing I wouldn't wear. What we saw were well-tailored trousers and maxi dresses. Brightly colored rompers and color-blocked minis.
It tends to keep a low profile, but never forget: Odessa is—and has been for longer than most—one of the most sophisticated boutiques in the city. They recently put together a lookbook for the spring season featuring stunning new pieces from Tsumori Chisato and Isabel Marant, modeled by their own Bree Goertzen.
And I must have this sweater:
Check out the whole thing on their tumblr.
People who wore Pendleton to Pendleton's The Portland Collection show at Rontoms:
More wool and such after the jump...
While I might not have been as excited for The Pendleton Open Season fashion show (I mean, I've already thumbed through the catalog and yes, I love it, but had already seen it), I can say that it was, from what I could tell, the crowds' favorite thus far. Starting with a line out the door and a sold out show, I knew this night was going to be well received. The show was set to live music by The Lovers, who were all decked out in Pendleton. In attendance: none other than the Mayor, Charlie Hales, and his wife Nancy, who was also decked out in Pendleton's The Portland Collection. The looks were stunning, and the models were top notch. I did what I could to get photos (hung out by the garbage), so peep 'em below.
I had a really good feeling about the Open Season show last night and it did NOT disappoint. Brady Lange—I'm looking at you. What I know about this PYT is that he had a blog, then interned at Adam Arnold and now he's showing a line for men and women that's bright, fun, and immaculately tailored. As for Reif, most people might know her best for her awesome turbans which have saved me on many a bad hair day. But last night she showed a killer conducive collection of trousers & cutout dresses. I was especially a big fan of the black pleather jumper. Check out the pics below to get a better idea of what I'm talking about.
Reif after the jump...
Yesterday marked what will be the start of something monumental (I don't overreact) in Portland fashion. Let me step back. I've been in Portland for three years and have attended a ton of fashion shows in town, reviewing them either here on MOD as an intern, or as a freelancer for a number of places. Tonight, though, felt like no other show I've attended. The venue: Outdoors at White Owl Social Club. The crowd: A mix of makers, doers, designers, and regular folk. The music: Moody. The clothes: Spectacular and original. I don't want to sound cheesy, but when the music kicked in, the models started walking out, and a hush fell over the mixed crowd, I truly felt like I was a part of something very special, and I can not wait to see what the next three days bring.
Below are my favorite looks of the night.
More after the jump...
While I've had my head wrapped up in Open Season, Mercury's four-night series of fashion shows happening next week, there's another show that should be on the radar of those with vested (pun!) interest in new developments in local design. While our show features some of the best and well-established talent in town (seriously, our designers are ballers), Portland Sewing's annual Fashion Forward graduate show (along with the Art Institute's June 1 graduate show) offer an annual late-spring crop of mostly unheard-of new talent.
Helpfully, Sharon Blair, Portland Sewing's director, has put together a handy preview of some of these new faces, photos of their work included:
Heidi Bergin's Adelheid Bergin
Lane Hunter's FACET
Lisha Xie's 谢丽莎 (her name in characters.)
Caitlin McCall's Quick Study
These new designers are showing along side Joshua Buck and Lisa Silveira's Wandering Muse—the two have them have become key in the Studio SKB design cluster that also includes Blair's line of the same name. Things will kick off at 7:30 at White Horse Studios this Saturday, May 11. Tickets are $20 ($25 at the door) with proceeds going to the Portland Sewing Fashion Design Scholarship for Teens, a fund that helps pay for $1200 of classes at Portland sewing followed by an internship with a local apparel company. Just three years running, the first winner did her internship at Nike followed by attending Parsons, with plans to attend Central St. Martins this fall. Last year's winner is currently doing her internship with Holly Stalder (one of our ballers).
Sad news: R.A.W. Textiles, a longtimer in the Portland design scene, will no longer be producing lingerie. Things aren't all bad, though. R.A.W. will continue to produce hand-dyed textiles, the focus of this being on custom yardage and accessories and creating patterns for sale and licensing. R.A.W. will also continue to release collections, with the upcoming Fall/Winter collection featuring scarves and two styles of shawls.
And of course the silver lining in all of this is a huge sale to clear out inventory hosted at the R.A.W. Textiles showroom May 9-11 from noon-5 pm. There will be deep price cuts on their one-of-a-kind pieces and samples from the 2009-2012 collections. For those who can’t wait until May 9 there is an online preview sale starting today where you can save on specially selected items in their e-store.
As you may have heard, Portland continued its uncanny televised streak a couple weeks ago by having yet another apparel design representative win Project Runway, which—while there's no getting around the fact that it's reality TV, and all that comes with that—does necessitate an actual skill. Prior hometown winners have taken the money and run to New York to establish themselves in a bigger market, but I think it's interesting that Michelle Lesniak Franklin has chosen instead to invest her money in the local economy, with plans to hire in-house production workers and commitments to participate in at least three upcoming fashion shows in the next six months.
In this week's paper I interviewed Michelle about the mind tricks of reality TV (which she dealt with remarkably well) and plans for further design domination. You may not have heard of her prior to the show's season but get ready for her name to come up often.
Can't make every night of this year's Open Season series of fashion shows? Tickets for individual nights just went on sale. Pick and choose, choosy!
In this week's Sold Out, I finally got to profile one of the Portland designers who originally got me interested in the independent apparel design scene here: Claire La Faye. Prominent at Seaplane and its events, La Faye's party dresses were the stuff of fantasy: romantic and unpredictable, feminine and just the right note of funky—not silly, but unexpected. She did a long stretch in Los Angeles shortly after I began covering the scene here, where she dressed a slew of celebrities for the red carpet, including a stint as Courtney Love's personal designer. Now back in Portland and concentrating exclusively on bridal wear, which takes her design signatures to next-level degrees of creative freedom, Haunt is hosting her on Saturday for a trunk show event, thus giving me the excuse to do the profile of her I've always wanted to. There's an itty bitty version in the print edition to make room for the photos, but check out the online extend-o version for the full scoop.
Greetings from lovely Vancouver, British Columbia!
I'm here for the city's Eco Fashion Week, founded six seasons ago by Myriam Laroche with the goal of "informing and inspiring the fashion-conscious, and sustainable-minded, alike, in a way that harmonizes beauty and the environment. After all, innovation in fashion—the future of chic—is inextricably linked to innovation in, well, sustainability."
For as huge an industry as it is, apparel production is behind the curve in terms of having a unified blueprint for how it will evolve in response to the soundly proven evidence that its current state of consumption (mass produced fast fashion) and production (unethical labor practices, a huge carbon footprint) is on course for disaster. When the idea of "green fashion" had its big moment some years ago, it never quite beat its rap for being slightly uncool and faddish, but that's insane: An industry that bases its whole identity on being one step ahead of the game has a responsibility to innovate, and to make the way into the future attractive and desirable. It's the whole point.
Portland, of course, is no stranger to this issue, and while Portland Fashion Week at one point set its goal as being a global destination for designers who were introducing sustainable methods, things got sidetracked and splintered off into the technology-emphasizing FASHIONxt and a rebooted Portland Fashion Week that's declared its intention to refocus on local designers and sustainability in its production if not necessarily on the runway. The jury's still out on that one; it will make its debut on Sept 12, with no participating designers having been announced yet.
In the meantime, as respective events hype themselves and the city's most experienced designers shy away from the whole fractious confusion, it makes one wonder where the original goal of making Portland known to the world as a center of sustainable design has gone. Just about everyone can agree that national and international exposure is a goal, but it's been slow to achieve.
PINO designer Crispin Argento, who has recently become ubiquitous on Portland's apparel scene, a human flurry of event organizing, champion networking, and men's accessory design, had the idea of cutting to the chase. Vancouver's Eco Fashion Week—so far as I've seen—is unabashed and unswerving in its emphasis on sustainable practices. And Vancouver, although smaller than its towering buildings would have you believe, is perhaps the most international of the Cascadian cities, and has a longstanding, consistent event in place. Why not join forces, with designers from Seattle, Portland, and the rest of the Pacific Northwest pooling their resources to represent the best of the best in the entire region?
That's what I'm here to investigate.
Serial collaborator PINO has teamed up with Pattern People to produce limited edition printed silk bow ties, with proceeds benefiting PICA programs and artists. Only 100 of these were made, and with that stunning graphic print I can imagine these will sell pretty quickly. To purchase click here.
Physical Element celebrated their 10 year anniversary on Friday with a night that included music, refreshments, and a series of fashion installations spotlighting some of the most popular lines they carry. Since opening in 2003, the store has evolved from focusing primarily on high-end activewear to carrying a wide range of eclectic, sometime avant garde styles for everyday and special occasions from small independent lines both local and global. This was reflected in the sampling of designers shown on Friday.
First two installations featured looks by Art Point, an Austrian line that specializes in unfussy, super-versatile pieces, like jackets that can also be worn as skirts:
The looks were as fashion forward as they were practical, giving them a cool, modern feel.
The next installation featured striking, vibrant knits by Spanish designer Isabel de Pedro and French line Aventures des Toiles (left and center), juxtaposed with a simple white wrap-dress by Portland designer Renee Armstrong (right):
Next up was Rundholz Black Label, a German line that specializes in elaborately draped dresses with a sort of Comme-de-Garcons-meets-new-age-bohemian vibe:
The final installation featured several looks by Moyuru, a Japanese label that does slouchy yet dramatic pieces, contrasting with a minimalist look by Bobkova, an edgy Ukrainian line (second from right).
Moyuru was definitely the most avant garde line shown, and their clothes aren't for everyone, but they exemplify the aesthetic that has made Physical Element stand out from the crowd for the last ten years. A lot of retail has cropped up since 2003, particularly in the Pearl, but Physical Element's particular brand of fantasy, edge and global influence has made it a one-of-a-kind destination.
Physical Element is celebrating the big 1-0 tonight, and they're not skimping on the revelry. The party, which starts at 6:30 and also serves as the grand opening of their new location at 416 NW 12th Ave, will include a live DJ, fashion installation, $500 shopping spree giveaway for one lucky winner, and of course, plenty of drinks and refreshments. In alignment with the store's focus on both local and global design, the installation will feature Spring 2013 looks by Portland based designer Renee Armstrong, as well as European labels Trippen Shoes, Rundholz and Isabel de Pedro. There will also be a one-night-only 10% discount on all merchandise in the store.
Store owner Jo Carter notes that "Portland's support and appreciation of small businesses" has made reaching the 10 year landmark possible, and says "sharing my love of architectural and modernist influenced design has been one of my favorite components of being a business owner." Get event details and RSPV here.
For the past couple years Portland's been churning out bitchin' accessories (bags galore) and even a bumper crop of exciting lingerie designers, but the wave of new names in straight-up apparel design has appeared to slightly ebb, with a few notable exceptions. One such is Crazy Wind, which released its first small collection of pieces in Japanese kasuri last month. Produced by the Portland Garment Factory, it sailed right into local stores like Frances May and Table of Contents.
Kasuri is a Japanese ikat technique of dyeing and weaving to create blurry, abstract patterns. Traditionally, the dye process looks like this:
Designed by Chiyo Takahashi with support of her mother Hatsuyo Takahashi, they source this material directly from Japan and have turned it into a carefree batch of lightweight pieces perfect for romping around in all summer. A couple faves:
I swear it seems like every time I check my inbox Yo Vintage! has a new lookbook to show us, and yet each one lives up to the super-polished, high-fashion editorial quality we've come to expect from them. For the latest one, owner Sarah Radcliffe set her sights on the deserts of Arizona to capture their new assortment, which combines classic Americana with Portland-style quirkiness. As is generally the case with Yo, the pieces are as versatile and wearable as they are eclectic, ranging from breezy '70s-style dresses and jumpsuits to more structured pants and voluminous skirts. And the collection's sun-bleached color palate feels perfectly timed to strangely summery weather we've been having lately. Check it out below, and shop the looks here (more pieces to arrive Friday).
The winner will be chosen tonight, so get on it NOW.
TOC continually sets the standard for curated design in Portland and their spring arrivals do not disappoint. Their seasonal theme, "A Piece of Cloth", is taken from Issey Miyake and focuses on "an explorationby of what can be achieved by starting with a basic unit of material and manipulating it as little as possible".
These pieces align with my approach to spring cleaning: pare down the garish prints and poly in your closet and streamline with a simple, structured piece like one of these:
The latest collection from Portland designer Tiffany Bean has dropped!
You probably know Bean first as the owner of Mabel and Zora, which is also gearing up to celebrate its seven-year anniversary party on April 12 (3-8 pm), with mini-makeovers from Sephora, personal style tips from Gina Crowder, A Yen for Chocolate... chocolate, and the official debut of this collection as well as that of ASA Jewelry.
I love that Bean is making dresses that suit a wide variety of tastes and body types, all while keeping production local and prices reasonable ($74-248, with most dresses in the $150-180 range—it's not chump change, but it's on par with, say, a celebrity designer collaboration at H&M, and of way better quality). Its one of the instances I keep seeing more of that prove that local fashion doesn't have to only be super expensive or only occasion-wear, with more and more solid, go-to staple items, too. The more people see buying local as an everyday alternative to mass-produced or imported clothing, the more long-term success it will see.
Someone doesn't want to be forgotten until fall: The FashionNXT crew recently released a stunning new video by Gravitational Creations featuring plenty of cameos from Project Runway stars, former Mayor Sam Adams, the president of Intel, and countless others. The vid gives a insiders' view to what goes down backstage, (I spy MOD contributor Elizabeth Mollo!) and holds insight from sponsors, designers and the creater of FashionNXT Tito Chowdhury gearing up for next October’s round of shows.
Oh Georgina! Although I’m not surprised by couture lines pairing up with mass big box retailers like Target, JC Penny, and H&M anymore, I shed a small tear upon finding out that my dream wedding dress designer Marchesa had become “one of those.” Now you, too, can own a (albeit cheaply made) piece of Marchesa. The Pearl collection features the silhouettes and layers of dreamy tulle that Marchesa is known for with a playful, young vibe. With prices ranging from $50-$250, Pearl is definitely affordable, but I’d rather hold out for the real thang. Check out the entire collection here.
On Friday Union/Pine hosted Art of Garment, one of the innovative local fashion events to pop up recently, previously mentioned here. The aim of this show was to illuminate the process behind designing a collection, with each designer showing a display that included elements such as sketches, fabric swatches and pattern pieces, in addition to the final product. This provided the viewer with a lot more context than a traditional runway show typically does, even if space limitations sometimes left me wishing for more. Still, overall the format felt fresh and forward thinking.
The scene stealer of the night was definitely the display of Urchin Redesign by Sonia Kasparian, who uses repurposed materials and couture techniques to create one-of-a-kind bridal/special occasion gowns. The pieces she showed were romantic and feminine, but felt very fashion forward:
And her illustrations felt like works of art all on their own:
Heather Treadway had another standout display, showing the earthy, ashram-esque costumes from the desert based Hits of Sunshine performance/installation she participated in a while back, along with photos from the event:
Cassie Ridgeway of Mag-Big, showed some simple but fun, super boho pieces inspired by The Mamas and The Papas, accompanied by a single newspaper clipping on the band:
One of my absolute favorites was R.A.W. Textiles by Rio Wrenn. Her metallic themed collection included a bikini completely adorned with flattened bottle caps, along with some light, breezy silk pieces that were dyed using iron.
She also had some great process/inspiration pieces:
Overall I think this event is a great addition to Portland's ever growing fashion calendar. If I had one critique it would be that the presentations sometimes felt a little uneven in terms of how much of a peek we got into each designer's work and process. It definitely felt like there were some stars and some supporting cast-members in the show. That being said, it's a new event that I really hope will continue in years to come, so organizers should have plenty of time to smooth out the rough edges.
Last week's Fade to Light fashion show went off without a hitch (we think) to a packed crowd at the Crystal Ballroom, where we were treated to new collections from lines like M. Wood, Emit, and Charlie Harper, augmented by short video presentations introducing each, providing a peek into the inspirations and moods behind the clothes.
Studio SKB was first out with a collection inspired by Edie Sedgwick, whose face, via footage from a Warhol test, loomed out over the proceedings. The models came out all at once, shoulders shrouded with scarves, to have their faces powdered for a moment below the screen. Unlit as they were, it was the first of several confusing moments for the audience, unsure as to whether the show had begun. But, soon enough the scarves were shrugged off and the lights came up on the runway, where models displayed a dark palette of designer Sharon Blair's dresses and separates that employed an almost Fair Isle-looking print, unexpected stripe paneling, and a reverse seam here and there. Highlights were a floaty paisley blouse, pretty lace overlays, and a sporty striped top.
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