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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.