A landmark deal was inked last week that ushers in the close of an era: Seaplane (827 NW 23rd), a store that is arguably the single most influential entity in Portland's design community, was sold. After eight years of operating the space (first on SE Belmont, later in its current location on NW 23rd), original founders Holly Stalder and Kate Towers finalized a deal with Tacee Webb, a previous owner of the Red Light vintage stores who has opened new locations for American Apparel and is the founder of the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls-esque Fashion Camp.
On the phone, Stalder was overwhelmingly optimistic about the outlook for the store and everyone involved, expressing excitement in the newfound freedom she and Towers now have to devote more energy to their eponymous clothing lines, which will remain under contract on Seaplane's racks. For her part, Webb has plans to open a second location in LA, where she is also debuting an edition of Fashion Camp this summer. This could potentially be good news to other designers who sell their lines through the store, in that the exportation of local lines would afford them exposure in a larger market. Plus LA's market is inseparable from the film and television industry, in which stylists are constantly seeking new and exclusive looks, a trademark on which Seaplane's one-of-a-kind dominated foundation was built. (The potential for higher price points can't hurt either.)
Leaving behind a legacy of legendary fashion shows, and the closest thing to a home address that Portland's fashion community has ever known, Stalder is adamant that the end of she and Towers' ownership does not mean they will discontinue their involvement with the business altogether. Likewise, frequenters of the store will recognize Laura Irwin of Precious, who will continue working full-time at the store. Here's to looking forward to a fresh chapter in Seaplane and Portland's history.
Speaking of fresh chapters, two more (yes, more) new boutiques have set up shop on the west side of town: Lucia Apparel (424 NW 11th) and Folly (1005 NW 16th). Opened by Sarah Wallace to showcase her young line of clothing of the same name, Lucia's stable of trend-less pieces will soon debut a unique sizing system. In addition to traditional size runs, pieces will be marked to indicate the most appropriate body type for their fit (pear, apple, straight, and hourglass). The customer can have their body type diagnosed in-store, then use that as a guide to find the most flattering pieces for their frame. Check out the spring line of lightweight knits and cottons at the First Thursday grand opening, which will also feature the photography of Pete Springer (well known in local fashion circles, but here he's displaying his shots of scenic Oregon). (Lucia Apparel grand opening, Thurs June 5, 6 pm)
Meanwhile, up the road in the hinterlands between Northwest Portland's buzzing Nob Hill and Pearl neighborhoods is Folly, opened by Sarah Bibb. Again featuring her own work (a line of mostly one-of-a-kind pieces, notably skirts, dresses, and colorful children's pieces called One Ear Dog Frog, the origin of which she is too bashful to disclose), Folly also features lines from elsewhere on the West Coast ("That's 'local' to me," she notes), like Porridge, Cameo, Level 99, and Dusty. Airy and bright, with a charming blue front door, the shop also houses bath products from Portland company Milina, plus candles and whimsical flower hairpieces whipped up by Bibb. Situated on Lovejoy just yards from Le Happy ("Love, joy, and happiness—that's everything you want in life"), Folly reflects Bibb's infectious positivity. (Folly grand opening, Thurs June 5, 6 pm)
Meanwhile, specialty eyewear store Visage (1046 NW Johnson) is teaming up with Mabel & Zora, Popina, and Olive for a summer fashion show and trunk show featuring the celeb-favored Sama line of eyewear. (Fashion show, Fri June 6, 7:30 pm; trunk show Sat June 7, 11 am-4 pm)