IF SPRING is a good time for firsts, then Lindsey Reif's "first" is the fact that this week's presentation of her spring/summer 2014 collection marks the first time she's shown on her own. It's something of a milestone for the designer, whose line, Reif, has been on everyone's short list of best up-and-coming Portland designers for years now.
Many who were not already familiar with her apparel designs got hip to Reif when her line of turbans in endlessly varying arrays of colors and patterns started showing up in stores across the city. Simple, inexpensive, expressive, and practical, these hair-covering accessories have since become a Portland staple, though—as these things have a tendency to do—it was basically by happy accident.
One should not let the turban madness overshadow the excitement of a proper new Reif apparel collection, however. Each passing season has seen her demonstrate a more refined personality and confident experimentation—one might consider it ballsy, for instance, that the new line includes a skort (yes, a skort—you know, skirt + shorts = skort). Other pieces also feature unexpected cutouts and angles in saturated oranges, cool summertime blues (such a tease considering the current weather), and plenty of good old-fashioned black.
There is, in fact, a bit of a darkness to this season's vibe thus far, with Reif citing both the edgier side of '70s disco and "'90s-era minimalism, vintage Kate Moss and Calvin Klein editorial," as well as "the natural geometric lines found in urban settings" as inspiration.
In other firsts, Reif is hosting the nontraditional presentation (read: no runway, more time to look) at the new Bindery development on NE Sandy, where she recently moved her studio, along with fellow of-the-moment designer Sarah Vale Rapp of Seaecho. And, the new collection is also set to be available at well-respected downtown boutique Frances May for the first time, something of a retail breakthrough opportunity for any local designer.
All signs are pointing positively into the future for Reif as a local company that has potential to thrive here. Reif has admitted in the past that Project Runway comes knocking every now and then—she was recently a finalist to be on the show—and she'd probably do just fine on the program. But I'm honestly far happier that it's never worked out. It's more interesting to see what a designer like her can create in this city without it, and besides—the TV show isn't allowed to take 'em all. Reif spring/summer '14 presentation, The Bindery, 3115 NE Sandy, Fri Feb 21, 8 pm, $20-40, all ages