History means a whole lot to different people. It can be endearing and show character. Others may see history as baggage, especially when most of that history is clouded and undocumented.
But what does this all mean when talking about a home? Like your choice in underwear or your Internet’s browser history, one’s home can be the most personal and historically revealing attribute of a person.
This centennial Victorian in Southeast is waiting to make more history.
At a first glance, 1934 SE Umatilla needs some TLC. It’s a home with delicate details and beauty oozing out of every slab of maple that lines its floors and abundant stained glass windows. Many of its rough characteristics are also what make it a special property: uneven floors, spunky dark wallpaper, and smaller-than-usual rails are all part of its appeal and wonder.
According to the current owners, it was built and completed roughly between 1878 and 1890. A couple of photos of the home hang on the walls of its living and dining rooms from a time when Sellwood was still its own municipality (it was annexed by Portland in 1883—check out the photos).
The owner’s also confirmed that past tenants included the former president of the Portland Blues Society and many famous blues musicians actually played in the house, including Muddy Waters!
“Everyone has different ideas of what they want. You’d have to love this house for all the character and quirkiness that it has,” said Wendy Snyder, head agent for the home. “The owners didn’t want to change or ruin any of the character.”
So maybe my excitement led me to get a little out of hand with the subject tags of this post, but that's only because Sword + Fern—the gem of a shop helmed by Emily Baker, who makes jewelry but also stocks local apothecary, art, clothing, vintage nicknacks, books, and more—just keeps becoming a better and more rounded nexus of all these things.
After closing for a few months for renovations, Sword + Fern will be back in the First Friday swing of it this week, debuting the first in their new series of curatorial collaborations/art installations, "DISCOVERe'verer," with Plane/Air, to be followed by a roster of participants that includes Claudia Meza, Anna Korte, Helmy Membreno, Valentine Freeman, and more. Plus they've just announced that S+F will be the pickup spot for produce from Thistle Top Farm, and a forthcoming clothing line collaboration with Portland Garment Factory(!!). Swing by this Friday from 6-9 for a look at the reconfigured space and a high five for Baker's expanded venture.
Sparks is playing The Aladdin Theater on Sunday and I am beyond excited. I have been a huge fan for a while, (so much so in fact that I manged to get an interview with them, which you can read here.) Sparks' career has spanned over four decades, and with that comes many changes in style, both in music and wardrobe. My favorite sartorial period of Sparks is the 1970s, and Russell Mael combined the styles of glam and disco while his brother Ron's style was a throwback to the 1940s. A very interesting juxtaposition that worked well visually with their performance styles. Here are some of my favorite looks, including a couple of videos.
I totally dig the white leisure suit that Russell Mael is wearing. You can get a better view of it in their video for This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us:
Before the current issue disappears into the horizon and sails away, I'd like to encourage you to take note that in addition to our lengthy feature on mayor Charlie Hales, I devoted my little fashion column to his wife, and Portland's first lady, Nancy Hales, which sort of makes this the unofficial Hales Issue.
I didn't really think anything of the fact that he was married when Hales first took office. In the 15+ years that I've lived here Portland never had a "first lady" in any impactful way, so expectations were pretty nonexistent. It was actually Tito Chowdhury, Executive Producer of FASHIONxt who first alerted me to her in his contribution for our 2013 style predictions at the new year:
Our new mayor's wife, who's well traveled, outward looking in her professional capacity, and a fashion enthusiast, may play a visible role in promoting style. Unless the underachieving, vocal majority of Portlanders don't break her spirit just because she's showing fashion awareness, [since] that threatens their frumpy looks and living.
Man, I almost forgot how jerky he got at the end there. Anyway, it was enough to make me curious, and to notice when she kept being photographed wearing Portland-designed pieces. I was just excited to have someone in a visible role who was stylish—we could use a little glamour, guys, and I will never forget the time a supportive but hapless Sam Adams made his opening remarks at Portland Fashion Week wearing a tee-shirt and baseball cap (ugh, so embarrassing). And I was delighted to find out that her interest is more than just for show. She has a fascinating job in her own right, running the First Stop Portland program at PSU, acting as an ambassador of the city for international delegations coming to visit and study Portland for a variety of reasons, and it was through this work that she started to unpeel what the local industry has been doing, and she understands its significance within the overall culture of the city and its famous "livability."
Anyway, I think she's rather fantastic, and maybe represents the potential for more support and/or recognition from people in decision-making positions. Read it!
Continuing my day's theme of things you can hang on a wall: I've been cultivating an obsession with the art of Wesley Younie for the past couple years (full disclosure: we are friends, but I am also friends with other, more mediocre artists (you know who you are!) who I never blog about). Anyhow, one of the handful of poor decision that I, and maybe you, made this weekend was to be too tired/scared of downtown to go out to the opening of his new show, with Amy Ruppel, on Saturday at the Mark Woolley gallery space in Pioneer Place.
One of my most prized possessions is the giant Younie painting hanging in my living room, and I've been known to give some of his smaller pieces as gifts. But after seeing photos of the work (I had a mole), which will remain up until May 12, it's clear that I'm far from having satisfied the urge to look at these expansive nature motifs, in all their blue-skied psychedelia and alternating darkness, every goddamn day.
Hot on the not so recent heels of her Opening Ceremony Collection, Yoko Ono just released her Make-up Tips for Men video. It's not so much a video tutorial as it is an inspirational video with animations of cute boys and text about rainbows, sparkling, and "pull[ing your date] by his dyed blond hair." The video is short and sweet, and I can totally see the party-goers of Blow Pony heeding Yoko's advice.
A glimpse into a possible future of garment manufacturing technology (an industry that needs materials innovation with increasingly obvious desperation) came this week courtesy of stage designer Michael Schmidt and model Dita Von Teese, who debuted the design at none other than the NYC outpost of the Ace Hotel:
I think it's pretty hot, personally, but now for the science!: "The dress is made of powdered nylon, a flexible, fabric-like substance that's most often used for architectural modeling... The dress was then polished and lacquered black and covered with 12,000 black Swarovski crystals."
Another round of music video inspiration! So new it doesn't officially come out until tomorrow, here's a sneak peek at the new video for "The Walls Want Communion" by trance-y, gothy Portland dark wavers Light House. That pan up the lead singer's outfit is no accident, of course. That's kickass apparel designer Dawn Sharp rocking witchy shoes, velvet skirt, floaty blouse, and super-cute pixie. It's somewhat more lo-fi than Bowie's latest posted below (hello, garage), but the eye makeup is equally good, and the vibe offers a useful insight into Sharp's aesthetic.
Holy shit you guys, David Bowie is blowing up for the millionth time in his career. With a new album and a new movie Bowie seems to be everywhere, and all indications lead to to the fact that he is still as talented and provocative as ever. Case in point, his newest music video for the song "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" featuring actress Tilda Swinton and models Andrej Pejic, Saskia de Brauw, and Iselin Steiro. Throwing back to his earlier self, this video is full of gender bending and just good ol' fashion sex appeal. Enjoy! (But maybe not where your boss can see it.)
In honor of Valentine's Day, betsy & iya just announced the most awesome contest idea ever! The jewelry label, which always has the most poetic product descriptions on their website, decided to reverse the creative process by giving fans a chance to submit a 40-word story that "will capture a quintessential betsy & iya moment," and designer Betsy Cross will make an original piece of jewelry inspired by the winner's story. The winner will receive the piece of jewelry once it is made, as well as a $400 gift certificate. The second and third runners-up will receive $100 and $50 gift certificates respectively. All contest entrants will be eligible to receive a 20% discount on an online purchase between today and April 3.
Entries, which must be submitted by March 7 to betsy & iya's Facebook page, will be put up for vote by FB users from March 8—March 14 to determine the finalists. The top three entries will be chosen by a panel that includes author Nancy Rommelmann (Transportation: Stories, The Queens of Montague Street), Kevin Sampsell (author of A Common Pornography, founder of Future Tense Publishing), B Frayn Masters (host/executive producer of Back Fence PDX), Courtenay Hameister (host of Live Wire!) and Nathalie Weinstein (editor of PDX Pipeline). The winner will be announce March 31.
Betsy & iya is always finding creative ways to connect to their customers, and this contest was conceived as a way to allow them to reflect the line means to them. As Cross explains, "We have such an engaged following online. We wanted to hear from them about what stories, dreams and fantasies come to mind through the lens of a betsy & iya piece." Get all the contest details here.
Although this video has been out for a while, I just recently stumbled on it and it is well worth a watch. A promo video for his latest exhibition at Somerset House in London, it contains footage of Valentino talking about the exhibition and the pieces that are on display, which happen to be his most exquisite couture creations spanning his entire career. A perfect and short distraction to get you through your grey Tuesday. (And if you still want more Valentino hop on over to his virtual museum here.)
Solestruck recently started a blog series called In My Shoes, which chronicles staff members and their favorite spots around town. With such national and international outreach, I love the fact that they feature small local independent shops and business here in Portland. Most recently Ms. Anna Branch, the Creative Lead (and one of my besties!) at Solestruck took us on a tour of her favorite vintage spots in town. Topping the list is Eden, Rock N’ Rose, Yo Vintage!, and Julia Barbee’s 811 E. Burnside storefront. Check out the super cute photos below, and stay tuned for more In My Shoes on Solestruck’s blog.
Trend Alert!!! Stripes are all the rage for Spring/Summer which doesn't seem that exciting but for one reason or another I have become obsessed just like everyone else. From the colorful Holiday inspired ethnic prints plus stripes of Dolce and Gabbana to the Beetlejuice-esque prints of Marc Jacobs, this trend has been re-imagined to fit anyone's style.
The fact that some fashion rules have been challenged in recent years for the plus size community means more exploration for anyone that was too shy to embrace the pattern. It's in my opinion that ANYONE can pull off stripes, whether its in the form of a blazer, jeans, dress, or an accessory (Successory if you nasty!) like a scarf.
Below I have given three different ways you can pull a single stripe piece together with whatever is in your closet.
Mademoiselle Coco's Country Club
A perfect juxtaposition of styles - On top says we are riding on a sailboat this afternoon and the bottom says I am sassy and I know it!
Mixing floral print with stripes is nothing new but always seems like a stylish way to freshen up your look for Spring.
Just like some animal prints I treat stripes like a neutral here. For an easy combination I picked a floral top that had a base color of black that ties the whole look together.
You can go so many ways with this dress. Add a denim shirt like in the 1st picture or keep it Parisian with a red flower and beret. However I love mixing girlie pieces with edgy accents so I had to add an old moto jacket and a spiked adorned leather hair bow.
Since she's got your attention at the moment anyway, Beyonce just released a promo video for this summer's Mrs. Carter World Tour, not scheduled to come any closer to us than San Jose, CA. Which sucks, because if this is any indication, the costuming on this tour is going to be worth the price of admission alone:
Check out this amazing tarot-inspired lookbook shoot done by Sugarhigh & Lovestoned in collaboration with the designer’s personal tarot mentor Victoria Kray of Vega Jewelry. I can’t get over how rad this concept is! Combining every gypsy's boho’s favorite things: tarot, velvet, and of course loads of amaze jewels, I’m lovin’ this look. Check out the full spread here, and peep below for descriptions of each card. If you fall in love with the looks as much as I did, shop them here.
Trend alert: hologram everything is going to be MAHJ for the upcoming spring summer season. Get inspired and get holographic with anything shiny, silver, and spacey.
Multidisciplinary artist Emily Katz, whether working in apparel design or fiber art—her two most frequented mediums, along with music, poetry, food, and beyond—has been feeling a somnambulant, balletic vibe lately, expressed in layers of pale tulle and linens marked with the erratic narratives of freehand embroidery. Her latest is art of the hang-able sort, a show called "In Dreams" at the OG Stumptown on SE Division (4525 SE Division, to be specific). In it she describes an experimental process of "cutting out shapes and forms, faces, and hands. Cutting them out of the bigger picture and displacing them. Sometimes dreams feel that way, you are in one place and it is beautiful, and then immediately you are somewhere else, with no explanation." The results are very pretty:
breaking away from the First/Last Thursday/Friday etc. crowds, Katz is having an opening reception for the new work this coming Sunday from 4-6 pm, offering something soothing for the caffeinated southeast crowds to calm themselves.
Clair Vintage Inspired just released their S/S 2013 lookbook, and this one has to be one of my favorites to date. Shot by Sarah Giffrow near Alyson's studio in her own car, this lookbook definitely gives off a Lynchian vibe of the Mulholland Drive sort. The collection will be available in stores next month. Here are my favorite shots, and you can view the entire lookbook on Clair's blog here.
Solestruck never disappoints when it comes to their lookbooks, and the newly released Imelda 13 is the most ambitious yet. Shot just after Christmas in Manila, this lookbook features shoes and clothing from Philippine based brand Gold Dot, and the shoes will be available on the Solestruck website in February. Here are some shots from the lookbook, and you can view the entire thing here.
Lille Boutique is still basking in the glow of their successful "Astral Bodies" fashion show last month, blogging that it will almost surely become an annual affair when they posted this stylish little mini-doc by filmmakers Alex Huebsch and Bradley Sellers on Tuesday. Here's what you missed, in all its rose-tinted glamour:
Fuck you, Joshua Tree! With your balmy January weather, gorgeous hiking destinations, and eclectic bohemian community! As you may or may not know, the Tree stole a few of our artists for a while, including Lisa Schonberg (Explode into Colors, Secret Drum Band), clothing and costume designer/musician (also Explode into Colors) Heather Treadway, video artists Jodi Darby and Julie Perini, Allan Wilson (chk!chk!chk!), and Tara Jane Oneil. They made off to the desert for "Hits of Sunshine," a multi-media, site-specific performance that it looked like Portland would never see, barring a plane ticket. However! Now that they've returned to colder climes with even more gorgeous hiking destinations, they're bringing the show to Disjecta on the 19th in the form of Darby's documentary video, plus a live performance of the "sound work, video, and fashion" that went into it. So there.
Officially one of my favorite trends moving into 2013 has got to be the pajama style top/pant. The key to looking chic, and not like you simply didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning is all about layering, texture, and properly accessorizing. I can’t get enough of the harem style, or the breezy silk printed PJs. Whether you fancy a vintage pair, or a lust-worthy designer style, PJ’s can certainly be dressed up for nearly any occasion. Just ask these top babes!
In the last Mercury of 2012 (tear), I asked a bunch of the city's style insiders what their favorite moments were from the year. According to the "fashionably late" stereotype, a number of these people did not get back to me until after deadline. However! The rest of what these latecomers had to say, with insights from representatives of Portland's Pretty, Odessa, House of Coco, and Yo Vintage!. Read 'em while 2013 still has that new-year smell.
Marissa Sullivan, Portland's Pretty
I thought the No Sleep Til... Deja Vu party, which was for Solestruck flagship store's one year anniversary, was the best fashion event of the year, with Yacht playing an awe-inspiring set, Degen making their models dance in underwear, and how Esque by Leslie Pennel sent down one after the other gorgeous leather peplum looks. Or how the Chloe Spring 2013 Ready To Wear show stole my heart with its sheer pastels, metallic heels, tailored shorts, and crisp white Japanese polyester looks. Then how there was this breakout sister trio called Haim that completely won me over with their first single "Forever." Their harmonizing is spot on, but their style is what really gets me going with their whole '90s 90210 meets 2012 rocker girl aesthetic. And what about Pinterest becoming the biggest time suck for budding stylists, fashionistas, and experienced style bloggers alike?
Bree Goertzen, Odessa
I love all of the color that has been present in fashion this year. While I tend to have a pretty toned down fashion palette I’ve really enjoyed the way color and pattern have been catching my eye and pulling my heart strings in 2012. To this, there is no one who has worn color and pattern better this year than Solange Knowles! Her "Losing You" video is a perfect example of this, and her lovely music is pretty great too!
Coco Madrid, House of Coco
It’s been a good year filled with great fashion events, trends, and inspirations. Here are some of my favorites! 1) New Goth: Saw a surge of this aesthetic in fashion, music, and film. New goth has proved to be chic and accessible to everyone. Mixing mystery and fantasy and some well done black nails, you can take your LBD to new levels with attention to detail and texture. All black everything! Into it. 2) Bad Bitch Style: We got a taste of this from Iggy Azalea, Gita Speaxdaily, and Brooke Candy. '90s throw back/bizarro world Peg Bundy/long scary nails. (Side note: One of my new favorite local designers, Hello Eliza is a prime example of this style. Check out her "Gangland" collection for the best in Bad Bitch clothing.) 3) The rise of Plus Size Bloggers: An issue that is near and dear to me! Finally the fashion world takes notice of the many fashionable fat girls of the internet. Mega online publications like the New York Times, Huffington Post, and Refinery29 covered the elite Plus Bloggers that have inspired me for over five years. This is definitely not just a trend but a revolution in the making. Event of the year goes to the Solestruck 1st year anniversary party. I am still thinking about all the great designers, dÉcor, and music that made this night one to remember. It was a great example of how a proper fashion event should go. Can’t wait for next year’s party!
Kayla Rekofke, Yo Vintage!
I absolutely loved Leandra Medine’s, aka the Man Repeller’s wedding. Her couture Marchesa dress (ultimate dream!), moto jacket, and a flower crown were utter perfection. Overall The Man Repeller is brilliant. I identify with her sense of style, age, and the way she doesn’t make fashion seem so “serious.” Although she’s become quite the it girl, I think her reign as top blogging babe is here to stay well into 2013. It might come off as bitchy, but every celebrity has money, time, and personal training sessions at their disposal, so it wouldn’t be that hard to look great all the time. I like the way real girls pull together outfits and street style trends. Most of my fashion inspiration comes from my closest group of girlfriends. I envy Anna Branch’s effortless layering ability, Melissa LaChance’s boho, luxe, Olsen twin-esque vibe, and Maya Dahlgreen’s Americana, rocker leather, dark, witchy looks. Favorite Collections: Alexander McQueen Spring 2013 RTW. Sarah Burton consistently gets it right, seamlessly keeping the late Alexander McQueen’s spirit alive while clearly making her own legacy. Chanel Spring 2013 RTW. Who could forget the fucking hoola-hop purse? Still obsessed, good one Uncle Karl. Book: Add More Ing~ To Your Life by Gabrielle Bernstein. Event: Coachella 2012. Decor: This year I loved thrifting for vintage teacups, dishes, and other little bits to stash jewelry, makeup, and odds and ends in my bedroom!
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