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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Neutral Territory

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Wed, Mar 12, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Gretchen Jones has been in the Portland fashion news cycle a lot this year with her return from New York and the unfolding picture of her new role at Pendleton. But in her own time Jones has been running a self-imposed experiment called Neutral Territory, in which she is systematically depriving herself of color in her wardrobe as a way to think about color theory and "what constraints can mean for fashion, beyond the inherent limitations of our bodies and budgets."

She's nerding out pretty hard, and it's developing into a pretty fascinating read. There are Monday-Friday #ootds*, sure, but it's more intellectually advanced than your average fashion blogger's vanity project, and her frequent posts meditating on each neutral—one of which will be eliminated each month throughout 2014—carry all the serious insight of the professional she is, also broken up by interviews with a cast of mostly industry professionals who she surveyed to determine what a neutral is in a sartorial context, and some slightly jealous posts devoted to the colors she can't have. (The categories of neutrals that resulted from this process, in the "Rules of Engagement" section of the website, may be up for contention, but it's hard to argue that denim or herringbone don't count.) It's worth checking out even if you're not ordinarily the fashion blog type, an insight into some of the thought processes that go into garment design and styling with the same seriousness as the thought with which any artist contemplates the materials and limitations of their chosen craft.

Day 49s #ootd
  • Neutral Territory
  • Day 49's #ootd

*Outfit of the day. It's a thing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Behind The Scenes With Wildfang

Posted by Katie Guinn on Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Portland's own Wildfang is marking their one-year anniversary this month. You may be well aware that this store and their brand have in a way taken over our town with their carefully curated boyish pieces. They present their items in a way that doesn't separate the men's from the women's, but hangs them all together to let each piece speak on its own to an individual. Their flag ship store opened in mid-August of last year, but that was after the original online store debuted five months earlier. The plan was just that: a web store that could reach like minded gals with a flair for a guy's touch of style.

The result was a success, and a lot of their customers, they realized, were based in Portland so they figured an actual store was appropriate. This home base, which they call "The Fort" or "Fort Wildfang" has proved to be equally attractive to customers. There's a swing for photo-ops, and one entire wall is ready to be carved into, so if you happen to have a pocket knife on you... tag that shit! (Well, I'd ask first just to get the OK). Their debut house collection featured sweat shirts and tees bedecked with a modern interpretation of a tribal style wolf. The same wolf in its massive carved version hung in the front window. They've collaborated with another Portland based artist to create a new window display that will debut close to their anniversary.

The Tabor Tee
  • Lindsay Beaumont
  • The Tabor Tee

Wildfang don't mess around with their advertising, and keeps things fresh with weekly photo shoots. Instead of releasing a spread of their new items all at once, they do a few at a time each week to keep their customers engaged. I recently hung out behind the scenes at one of their shoots, which just so happened to be for their one-year anniversary Tomboy house collection. The studio sits upstairs in a warehouse building in SE. The walls are decorated with floor to ceiling graffiti-art murals, there's a table piled up with food for snacking, a ladder for item layout shooting, and of course your standard photo studio set-up. There was an entire team of people including: Creative Director Taralyn Thuot, photographer Lindsay Beaumont, stylist Ali Breslin along with model Meredith Adelaide (who Lindsay claimed made her job so easy because she does her thang just right). With Sex Pistols playing in the background the "we are bad-asses who like to have fun" mood was set.


The Photographer behind all the Tomboy magic
  • Katie Guinn
  • The Photographer behind all the Tomboy magic

Don't forget! Wildfang's anniversary bash is this Friday, from 6-8 at the store and from 8 pm on at the White Owl.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Two Upcoming Wedding Events

Posted by Katie Guinn on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 9:59 AM

With wedding season fast approaching, preparations are on, and two events are happening this weekend to help all you brides get inspired and ready for that big day. If you're looking for a brand new, contemporary and luxe approach, Portland Bride & Groom's 3rd annual Rocked at the Nines will be on Saturday, March 1st from noon to 5pm, including a showcase of gowns from local designers including: New comer Sunjin Lee Bridal, Haunt + Holly Stalder Designs, Xtabay Vintage, Urchin Re.Design, Sophie Chang and Oh Baby Lingerie with some shops like Divine Designs and Joy's Uptown Style. There will be vendors for entertainment, catering, event spaces/venues, floral designers, photographers, jewelry and even travel agents to name just a few of the categories.
Tickets are $15 and you can find them here.

Urchin Redesign
  • Eve in Eden
  • Urchin Redesign

Make-Up & Hair design by Austie Eckley
  • Make-Up & Hair design by Austie Eckley

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  • Sunjin Lee

Holly Stalder
  • Christine Shields
  • Holly Stalder

For everything vintage and vintage inspired, The Plucky Maidens first ever Get Hitched show will take place Sunday March 2nd From 11am-5pm at The Crystal Ballroom.

Continue reading »

Designer Highlight: Casstronaut

Posted by Katie Guinn on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 8:59 AM

I was immediately captivated the first time I saw a photo of Cassie Meder (aka Casstronaut). It was a photo of her in a Holly Stalder silk gown with a crown of lit candles on her head in the middle of a snow covered forest. This girl has modeled for many of Portland’s finest clothing designers and there’s no mystery as to why . The photos she’s in take on a life their own, and while watching some of the behind the scenes videos she’s posted on YouTube, it’s quite clear that’s she’s not a bore to hang with either!

Gown by Holly Stalder
  • Kindra Nikole Photography
  • Gown by Holly Stalder

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  • Myles Katherine

Her work as a model is something she does because it just works out sometimes, and there’s obviously a demand for her look, but her real career lives through her self-expression as an artist and designer herself. She has a few artsy short films under her belt that seem to have a cohesive theme. Each one has strong ethereal visuals and certainly don’t lack professional quality. She is an artist in the original sense, meaning that she draws, and her illustrations convey surreal subjects in pencil, often on tea stained paper. If that’s not enough, she also designs and makes jewelry: simple, straight forward pieces that adorn the head, along with chained ear cuffs and some Victorian inspired rings. Haunt recently announced that they’ll be stocking some head pieces and prints of her illustrations, and I discovered that she’ll be moving to Nashville, so I asked Cassie a few questions before she takes that huge leap cross country.

I’ve found that in the design world people advise against doing too many things, having too many focuses, because it can confuse the customer, but some designers start out as artists, and that’s what brought them into fashion design, and if done right it can totally work. What is your perspective on this?
Cassie: I think it depends on the artist, really. Saying that is like saying to a parent, “You can’t have more than one kid! You’ll get confused!” An artist’s work is so much like a child, really. Some people like having one child they can shower and dedicate themselves to completely. Others like to be surrounded and immersed, almost overtaken, in what they have created and what they love. It’s the same situation with artists. It’s a way of leaving a legacy and giving something back to the world. Why not leave more than one thing? I also think artists tend to use their work as a means of communication. You may notice that most artists are so much alike, you would think there was some kind of personality fad happening. Most of us don’t communicate ideas or feelings with our mouths or our bodies, so we find other means and if one way isn’t enough, find other ways to make your voice whole and audible. So with all of that being said, it is incredibly hard. It's absolutely worth it, though.

Part of How Does Your Garden Grow? Series
  • Cassie Meder
  • Part of "How Does Your Garden Grow?" Series

Son of Man
  • Cassie Meder
  • "Son of Man"

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Something Positive to Keep in Mind About the Sochi Olympics

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Feb 7, 2014 at 4:14 PM

There's plenty to legitimately gripe about concerning the Sochi winter Olympics, and griping we have done, and not without good reason. It's a shame that the negatives are threatening to overshadow many people's hard work, and however mad I am (and I am) about homophobic policies and dog murderers, these Olympics are a special point of pride for Oregon.

I'm speaking, of course, of the contribution made by Oregon's Imperial Stock Ranch, whose wool was used to supply the Ralph Lauren-designed opening ceremony parade sweaters. Yes, a lot of people got a good laugh, but regardless of their design aesthetic, their significance is immense.

I just got off the phone with Imperial's Jeanne Carver. She's in the middle of lambing season. Trooping through the snow as her sheep give birth, protecting them from the cold and, as she put it to me, "saving little lives," she took a break this morning to check her email, and found a message from Ralph Lauren's head designer. Inside was a photo taken by one of the company's teammates currently in Russia, of the US team leaving the Olympic village en route to the opening ceremony.

Carver choked up as she explained to me how honored and in awe she felt to be connected to this huge global event happening on the other side of the world. "What an amazing thing for me to be out here by myself in the desert, just fighting our daily battles, and to be seeing that." Carver has nothing but admiration for Ralph Lauren's commitment to and success in making every aspect of these uniforms originate from within the US, and says she knows that for every one of the many, many Americans' work that went into it, that their families and communities can now claim a connection to our Olympic team, "Right down to me talking to you."

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  • Imperial Yarn via Facebook

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Happy Birthday, David Bowie!

Posted by Elizabeth Mollo on Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 10:00 AM

If you have been an avid reader of my posts here on MOD (and why wouldn't you be?), you must surely know that I have kind of a major lady boner for David Bowie. His constant transformations, even up until today, have made him one of the most influential and admired artists in the world, and he is still pushing the boundaries of music and fashion at the age of 67. Happy Birthday, David Bowie, and here's to many more! (And a show in Portland, maybe?)

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Remember when Givenchy put out a blazer exactly like this in 2010?
  • Remember when Givenchy put out a blazer exactly like this in 2010?

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Continue reading »

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Rituals to Bring the End of Long Nights

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Tue, Jan 7, 2014 at 3:14 PM

If this week is any indication, I'm going to have to start treating local lookbook releases the way Ned does music videos. (Lookbook Lunes, anyone?) The next one up is solidly set in this polarly vortexed winter, with the somewhat mournful/hopeful title "Rituals to Bring the End of Long Nights."

The rituals depicted here seem to call for holing up in a snowy cabin with your best tattooed girlfriends, wearing long johns and wool socks while chopping wood and taking hot baths with tree pieces—which seems as healthy a way to pass the weather as any. Plus the photos, which are a showcase for Cobra Cult jewelry, are quite lovely. Taken by the buzzed-about Amanda Leigh Smith it also features some of the local women who are defining the motorcycle/camping/Poler vibe that so many are looking to right now.


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  • Amanda Leigh Smith

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  • Amanda Leigh Smith

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  • Amanda Leigh Smith

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  • Amanda Leigh Smith

Continue reading »

Monday, January 6, 2014

Spellbound Flowers and the Art of Floriography

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Jan 6, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Um, I'm going to go ahead and call floriography "media" because we don't seem to have a subject category for "flowers" or—I sense an unfortunate omission here—"witchcraft." Floriography is of course the language of flowers, born out of the Victorian era of repression, when people were too shy to express things like "I share your sentiment" (daisy), "regards" (daffodil), and "I hate you" (orange lily) in speech.

Most people don't speak it these days, but Spellbound Flowers' Nico Bella does. You may have seen her and her crew at Pioneer Square, where they have held it down as what they claim is the country's only bicycle based florist. They're still there, but they've also taken over the former Jane's Vanity shop space at 521 SW Broadway. They also are the only florist in town that will deliver within the metro area until 2 am, seven days a week.

I could mention Valentine's Day is blah blah, but feel free to think outside of the red roses box. There are apparently flowers that mean "death threat," which may be a little extreme, but I don't know your business. Also consider "let's elope" (spider flower), "I finally got you" (venus flytrap, totally creepy), or "my regrets follow you to the grave" (asphodel).

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  • Spellbound

Friday, January 3, 2014

Taco Tuesday: The First Lookbook of the Year

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 10:59 AM

The scene: Don Poncho's NE Alberta taquería. The hair, huge. The clothing, loud. And the nail art... completely bonkers.

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  • Arthur Benavides

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  • Arthur Benavides

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  • Arthur Benavides

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  • Arthur Benavides

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  • Arthur Benavides

Clothing and necklaces: Sara Moskovitz
Photography: Arthur Benavides
Hair and makeup: Jodi Vaughn
Nail art: Asa Bree
Shoes: Solestruck

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Emily Bolles on 2013/2014

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 8:59 AM

Now that we're settling into the 2014 freshie it's time to put a lid on the year that came before, and I'm doing so with the final submission of thoughts from stylish folks about what was great (and not so) in 2013, and what we can hope to look forward to in the new year.

Next and last up, Emily Bolles of Sturnelle Collection.

I gained a lot of inspiration from these designers/campaigns: 1) Valentino F/W because of the dark bold colors and the classic clean structure of the garments, 2) Calvin Klein's structured and tapered suits were really inspiring to me as well, especially on buying trips, 3) Miu Miu for its vintage flare and incorporated dork styling.

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  • Vogue

Trends that I liked or might have made up: 1) maxi dresses (preferably black) with long coats and hats, 2) hats of all kinds, 3) button-up '80s mom blouses, 4) slouchy sweaters with an '80s mom blouse and red lipstick, 5) velvet and crushed velvet, 6) ONESIES.

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totokaelo.com

Trends that could not happen anymore and I wouldn't be sad: 1) Skirts over pants, 2) athletic gear with dressy things. For next year, I don't know what to expect, but I hope to see more fun collaborations amongst people within the small business realm and creative industries. The support and creativity I have seen and experienced is inspiring! I hope for PDX's fashion industry to keep growing and thriving.

Don't miss the current edition of Sold Out, which features a slew of people talking about their wishes and predictions for '14—far more than are in print!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

In the Mood: New Year's Eve

Posted by Jessica Caldwell on Tue, Dec 31, 2013 at 11:18 AM

It's time to get ready for the last soirée of the year. Pull out your dancing shoes, put on your party hats, and pop the champagne. As if you needed an excuse to wear something sparkly, here's a little inspiration to send you on your way tonight. Cheers to a dazzling new year!

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Neo Short Earrings from Grayling Jewelry // Scania Cuff Bracelet from Betsy & Iya // Additional photos from Pinterest

Friday, December 27, 2013

Alyson Clair of Clair Vintage Inspired on 2013 & 2014

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Dec 27, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Like everyone else, we here at the Merc are in the midst of compiling our "bests" and "worsts" of 2013. To that end, I polled the designers, retails, bloggers, and others involved in making and shaping the city's style-focused industry, and got a ton of responses. Many of them are in upcoming/current/future editions of the paper (web versions are longer!), but the lovely overflow continues, right here on MOD. And, because fashion is supposed to be at heart a forward thinking, we asked for their hopes and predictions for 2014, to boot.

Next up: Alyson Clair of Clair Vintage Inspired.

My favorites were Fade to Light, both shows. I wasn't able to do the summer one due to another project I have going on, so it was amazing to actually watch the entire show from the audience. I LOVE to see the creativity from our community that goes behind the fashion. Also loved the Alley 33 show, it's one of my favorites to see such a broad range of people making things in Portland. I'm stoked both shows have a strong footing and are "must dos" in my day planner for 2014.

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  • Alley 33

Year to come? I think it's going to be fucking awesome. I've got something up my sleeve hitting early April I have been working on for the last year. (Top secret still.)

I'm ready for the mullet hem trend to go away, as well as the Uggs that NEVER seem to want to die.

One thing that I have seen a trend in, is having a more open apparel community. Meaning people are helping each other more with resources. PDX Fashion Trade group on Facebook has been really good about having conversations from sewing machine repair to creepers that frequent boutiques. I strongly believe this is key to the success of small designers in our city. Manufacturing is one of the largest hurdles for makers. I'm hardcore made in USA, and always happy to share information. It helps makes us all better together, stronger makers, and hopefully will keep talent in Portland—long term. Over the next 10 years, I want to see designers and brands really make it in Portland. There's always ebb and flow, but I want to see some strong brands really represent Portland as landmarks. We have the talent and we have the tools, let's make some clothes!

Clair Vintage Inspired
  • Upswept Creative
  • Clair Vintage Inspired

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bree Goertzen of Odessa on 2013 & 2014

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Thu, Dec 26, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Like everyone else, we here at the Merc are in the midst of compiling our "bests" and "worsts" of 2013. To that end, I polled the designers, retails, bloggers, and others involved in making and shaping the city's style-focused industry, and got a ton of responses. Many of them are in upcoming/current/future editions of the paper (web versions are longer!), but the lovely overflow continues, right here on MOD. And, because fashion is supposed to be at heart a forward thinking, we asked for their hopes and predictions for 2014, to boot.

Next up: purveyor of rad clothes Bree Goertzen of Odessa:

Over this past year I've been taking a lot of inspiration from fashion photography new and old in order to discover new ways of thinking about clothing and style. In so, a nod to Irving Penn for expanding my love of the polka dot into an obsession. Polka dots, or any thoughtful pattern, can really make a simple look feel complete. I love the reemergence of color, print, and unusual textiles we are seeing in 2014, which have been done so well by Prada, Celine, Lanvin, and Isabel Marant.

Prada

In 2014 it's all about mixing things up, and I'm not talking "high/low" blah… blah… I'm talking really just making an outfit your own by deciding where you want to take it through your personal creative inspiration. In fashion we are all influenced and inspired by what we see and how it is presented, but what keeps it fun is how everyone has a different personal take on what they want to wear based on whatever is important to them. Miuccia Prada has been a great example of this, we see Prada taking color, fabrics, and aesthetic outside of the comfort zone and it looks good! That's where fashion is truly going in 2014, a place where we can define and refine personal style to suit our own creativity.

On a side note: In beauty, I love the direction that some make-up artists have been going where they are featuring a nude face. Fuck make-up! It's fun to do a little bit sometimes but simplicity is the best. Let's take a step away from the mirror and love the way we look without a lot of make-up.

Isabel Marant
  • Odessa
  • Isabel Marant

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sara Bergman on 2013 and 2014

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 8:59 AM

Like everyone else, we here at the Merc are in the midst of compiling our "bests" and "worsts" of 2013. To that end, I polled the designers, retails, bloggers, and others involved in making and shaping the city's style-focused industry, and got a ton of responses. Many of them are in upcoming/current/future editions of the paper (web versions are longer!), but the lovely overflow continues, right here on MOD. And, because fashion is supposed to be at heart a forward thinking, we asked for their hopes and predictions for 2014, to boot.

Next up: Sara Bergman.

My favorite fashion moment from 2013 was Rick Owens’ ferocious, rhythmic S/S presentation.

[This one came up a lot, and it's no wonder.]

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  • Rick Owens

What I’m dreaming of in 2014: raw gems, lady tuxedos, Canadian tuxedos. A head-to-toe blackout, but with strange shapes. Also, winter rompers! My hope for the future of fashion is to transform the garment production industry into something ethical, sustainable, and humane.

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  • Sara Bergman

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Cassie Ridgway of Mag-Big on 2013

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 8:59 AM

Our series of local experts weighing on the closing year continues, this time with Mag-Big owner, fashion event producer, designer, MOD contributor, and local-production advocate Casse Ridgway!

My takeaway from 2013 is the phrase "The high tide will raise all ships." There is a serious manufacturing movement happening here in Portland. The craftspeople of our city are working together and pooling resources to make it happen. When asked why we would want to produce here (as opposed to cities where manufacturing is more common and easier to access), the answer rings loud and clear: because there is so much production happening right here, right now. Portland produces.

As for 2014:

I have hopes that in the coming months, smaller clothing companies (such as my own) will work with other smaller clothing companies to source fabric in a more viable way. Thing is: it gets cheaper in larger quantities—but that can sometimes be hard to do as a small batch manufacturer. Not to mention the high cost of freighting it to the NW. I hope we can use our network of makers to lessen the overhead and share some of the costs while our companies are in this critical stage of growth.

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  • Mag-Big

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday Party Attire: Local Experts Advise

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 12:59 PM

This week's Sold Out column is an extra-large blowout, wall to wall with designers, buyers, fashion show producers, and other stylish types around the city talking about what they'll be wearing to the next couple weeks' crush of parties leading up to the NYE grand finale. Recurring themes include red lipstick, monochromatism, sequins, big jewelry, pattern mixing, and displeasure at the continued existence of ugly sweaters—along with a whole boatload of suggestions and points of inspiration.

Whenever I am having a model styled for a photo shoot and the stylist is doing hair and makeup, I always ask that she is a little tousled looking—like she just woke up from a nap or wrestled with her boyfriend. Better yet, ride your bike to the party so your cheeks are flushed when you arrive. I do not like things that look brand new or perfect. I think if you are going to wear something that is really expensive, the rest of the outfit should be free hand-me-downs so you don't look like a snob.—Holly Stalder, designer, hollystalder.com

Most guys, all they need is a proper two- or three-button wool jacket, a clean, trim-fitting poplin oxford, and trousers with proper footwear. [A] well-fitting modern suit with patterned Fair Isle socks and a clever piece of neckwear make all the difference. Guys in Portland tend to lean toward a bowtie or necktie, but I think the realness comes in the form of a wool throwover or, better yet, a punchy scarf. Just please, no Red Wings with your suit.—Mike Andersen, marketing manager/lead buyer, Cascadian Fabrications, Inc., tannergoods.com

I am going to stick with a tried-and-true classic: sequins. My holiday uniform of choice will be pants, some sort of top, and a sequin coat. This will allow me to stay warm and hide any food/booze babies that might suddenly appear.—Elizabeth Mollo, fashion show producer and Mercury contributor, elizabethmollo.com

Read 'em all here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Best Style Moments of 2013: Local Experts Weigh In

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Like everyone else, we here at the Merc are in the midst of compiling our "bests" and "worsts" of 2013. And while the majority of my style-focused listing will appear in upcoming Sold Out columns, I got a ton of responses from the designers, retails, bloggers, and others involved in making and shaping the city's style-focused industry. So, I'm getting things started a little bit early, posting end-of-year reflections that didn't make deadline for the print version.

First up: Designer Caitlin McCall of bike-centric women's apparel line Quick Study:

Favorite moment: Nonsense Dance Company getting down to Beyonce at Fade to Light in Bryce Black's work in August! More of this creative approach to runway, please! Runner up: The presentation at the Portland Fashion and Style Awards! I've literally never seen anything like it...

Looks/trends: I love what Eliza Harrison is up to with Hello Eliza. This cartoonish club kid style is a welcome alternative to the woodsy old-timey thing we see so much of here. I wish our nightlife would start to reflect this with more after-hours options. There was a dance-y situation going on in industrial NE for like five minutes in 2011, they were partying until four with jams, Sessions, and vodka orange. It was probably totally illegal, but really fun and full of fresh looks.

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  • Hello Eliza

My other favorite trend is traditional Japanese textiles! One of my friends brought me a cool Furoshiki cloth from his trip to Japan over the summer and shortly afterward I started noticing similar things in Portland. Crazy Wind's stuff is fabulous. Also, there was a great shirtdress that Kathryn Matsuura showed for her label at FashionNxt that referenced a traditional Asian look, and I love Kiriko's scarves.

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  • Crazy Wind

Favorite events: Fade to Light and Content. I like the more open approach to presenting a line or label these two allow. Also, I think Imaginary Authors totally killed it at Content. Their presentation was spot on, with the dioramas, scent stations, and kaleidoscope portraits you could look up online the next day.

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  • Imaginary Authors

From a larger perspective, Rick Owens' SS2014 Paris presentation. That step performance made my mind explode. Having so many strong models all together on the runway doing these repetitive, intimidating movements for so long makes that start to seem like the norm and everything the way it was before begins to make no sense at all. Genius.

As far as designers go, Stella McCartney and Miu Miu AW2013 collections were big hits for me. I love this layered, ladylike silhouette with mid-calf length dresses. It's such a great fit for the northwest; the elegance of a maxi, but you don't end up dragging it through puddles. Plus, we can grunge it a bit with an oversized wool sweater and a beanie while still looking killer.

I'm also inspired by my neighborhood. I've been living (and working) in St. Johns for the past year, and since Portland is "the city that works" I have a new slogan for this place. "St. Johns: Whatever Works." People just sort of do... whatever out here. The point is, we're up to something rather than nothing. Everyone's pretty industrious, even if industrious means making a custom double garbage can holder for collecting cans on your bike. It's scrappy. This spirit is present in the style out here too, and I like it.

In music, Haim's performance on Saturday Night Live got me hooked on their stuff. They're like, Michael Jackson meets Bonnie Raitt! But with less mature songwriting and in the form of Kings of Leon... I'm excited to see how their career shapes up. Also, Pissed Jeans made a perfect gem of a music video for their song "Romanticize Me." I've already watched it four times and am still thinking about it.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Eden's "Blue Christmas," "White Night," and Holiday Finale

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Another lovely Eden lookbook just dropped, their last for the holiday season. I've gushed about the Eric Rose-shot series before, and this one, along with last two week's releases, "Blue Christmas" and "White Night" keep the theme consistent with a little pensive mystery and a focus on just a handful of remarkable pieces:

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2013's Style Predictions: How Did We Do?

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Oh yeah, baby, it's that time: Time for the season of year-end lists! Yes, it would be boring if they happened all the time, but for one to two months out of the year I love a goddamn list. Here at the Merc we're getting into list-mode ourselves, including an annual tradition I have in Sold Out: In addition to asking pillars of the local fashion and style community to contribute their favorite moments of the closing year, I also ask them to make their wishes and predictions for the coming year:

Out: super stilettos; studded everything; giant trash-bag-sized purses; men's jewelry (e.g., 25 seventh-grade-level bracelets polluting arms); the heritage/Americana look; floral for men; and boat shoes—sorry, boys.—Crispin Argento, owner of PINO, pinoportland.com

I personally am moving towards less "trendy" items like my beloved tranny shoes of 2012, and anything too girly. Nail art will be a mainstay, but not as loud as 2012. 2013 has me feeling dark and decadent with pops of fur, pin straight hair, and sexy androgynous looks for night.—Kayla Rekofke, Yo Vintage!, shopyovintage.com, and MOD contributor

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.—Tito Chowdhury, executive producer of FASHIONxt, fashionxt.net

My hope for 2013 is that people will continue to put pressure on [large clothing] companies, that the companies continue to improve their policies, and for the general public to finally realize that fast fashion is just fucking lame.—Elizabeth Mollo, fashion show producer, MOD contributor, mod.portlandmercury.com

The stiletto/"tranny shoe" thing came true, as did Nancy Hales, but heritage/Americana is still going strong (for now). Want to weigh in on 2014? Email me your wishes and predictions, and check out more from last year here.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945: PAM Finally Gets A Proper Fashion Exhibit (Year after Next, Tho)

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Dec 9, 2013 at 1:14 PM

On Friday, the Portland Monthly reported that the Portland Art Museum has booked Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945, a fashion-specific exhibit in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Fashion has been making more frequent appearances on the museum circuit in recent years, but not here. I used 2013's combo of overlapping fashion centric exhibits at the Met (Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity and Punk: Chaos to Couture) as an excuse to blow all my airline points on two round trips to New York, and plenty of Portland fashion enthusiasts have taken road trips to Seattle and/or San Francisco to experience exhibits that don't quite reach us here.

The exhibit is going to have some major pieces from legends like Pucci, Versace, Prada, Valentino, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana... 90 garments in all. It's going to be marvelous! The only downside is that the exhibit doesn't open until February... 2015. Though as the museum Tweeted at me over the weekend, "It will be worth the wait."


Gianfranco Ferre ad, F/W 91
  • Gian Paolo Barbieri
  • Gianfranco Ferre ad, F/W '91

Friday, December 6, 2013

Dress to Ride

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 1:59 PM

When I was first introduced to Caitlin McCall's road-tested collection of bicycle clothing that doesn't look like bicycle clothing, Quick Study, I was so impressed that I devoted an entire page to it in the last Mercury Bike Issue.

Now, she's working on a project called "Dress to Ride," documenting the bike style of Portland women. She's just put out a call for entries for those who wished to be considered for an interview and portrait that will become part of a permanent gallery beginning in early January to coincide with the launch of QS' new web site. (Smart to do this when there's snow on the ground; fair-weather poseurs like me will have a harder time self-identifying as a cyclist this time of year.)

Full details for those who are interested are after the cut.

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  • Shola Lawson

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Winter's Muse and Northern Lights: Arty Holiday Lookbooks from Eden

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Eden churns out lookbooks at a steady clip, and its two-part holiday series, shot by Eric Rose, is more about moody images than the relatively small amount of product on display. Yes, the vintage painted souvenir skirt, airy dresses, and statement jewelry are gorgeous, but these are miles more inspiring than bald product shots.




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Friday, November 22, 2013

Wildfang's WILD.LIFE.

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Last night, Wildfang held the launch party for WILD.LIFE., the new private label put out by the tomboy-branded, Portland-based store that opened its brick 'n' mortar on SE Grand earlier this year. It's only four pieces, each emblazoned with the new wolf mascot logo (which they were offering to tattoo you with for free at the party, and no I didn't get one), but it's a start, and the embroidered wolf on the black sweatshirt is beautiful up close. They're also loosely based on different Wildfang-style archetypes: the the jock, the prep, the rebel, the "urban." It was all manufactured in Canada (better than overseas, not as great as USA, but ok), and as is Wildfang tradition, they made a video featuring tough girls and lofty pronouncements that serves as a more stimulating lookbook than static photos. And this time they added a couple adorable pets, too:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Wanted: Fashion Bloggers

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Here on MOD, we've had a few of our contributors fly the coop. One moved to San Francisco, and another's got two new jobs and plans to move to London. So! I'm looking for some fresh voices to help chronicle all the bustling activity happening in this city on the independent design and style front, because there is so much to keep track of. (Including attending and reviewing fashion shows, profiling new designers and retailers, testing products and fitness endeavors, tracking street style...)

Interested in helping out? Ideal candidates will have a strong interest in promoting local design and independent business (and at least a general indifference toward big-box retailers), good writing skills, and a critical eye. If this sounds like fun, email me a resume, some samples of your writing, and a general idea of what sorts of contributions you'd be interested in making.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Content Designer Spotlight: Seaecho

Posted by Toby Robboy on Fri, Nov 8, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Before Content starts tomorrow, we have one more designer to spotlight: Sarah Vale Rapp of SEAECHO. Vale launched her handbag line just last year, starting with a few simple yet super-chic bags made using Pendleton fabrics. Since then, her label's popularity has exploded, and the product selection has expanded to a wider range of prints and fabrics that still includes her trademark Pendleton wool.

A Vancouver, Washington native, Rapp was taught to sew by her mother at a young age. As she explains, "She and my father always encouraged me to draw, sew, paint and everything else a kid can do but sing... NO SINGING ALLOWED!" She adds "I am seriously tone deaf." After attending an art-focused middle and high school, she enrolled at the Art Institute of Portland, where she graduated with a degree in Apparel Design.

Rapp says she ended up launching SEAECHO "by accident, really." As she explains, "I was at the fabric store getting material for Christmas presents, and found a piece of Pendleton that was beautiful, and my husband bought it for me." She used the fabric to make herself a laptop bag, which ended up turning into a clutch. People started asking where she got it, and pretty soon "I started making bags for friends, friends of friends, and before you knew it I was sewing like crazy for some of my favorite boutiques in town."

Rapp says that "daily life dictates a lot of my inspiration." As she explains, "I have a very challenging, fun, fashion-focused day job [project manager at Solestruck] that pushes me in new directions every day. I am constantly picking up little bits from here and there, and storing them away for nights and weekends, when SEAECHO gets my attention." She adds that "I am also very curious by nature, and always end up digging a little more, a little deeper; then eventually get dropped into a rabbit hole where you never know what you will find/see/experience next."

As for what to expect from her Content installation, Rapp says "I don't even know what to expect! I am hoping all my pieces come together and that the story I'm telling translates... or at the very least I hope it's fun and people enjoy seeing a different side of SEAECHO."

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  • seaecholovesyou.com

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