THE SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP between fashion design and photography is obvious, and yet, it's not often that fashion photography is singled out for attention in the fine-art sense. It's a pairing that's been gaining ever-more fuel via the internet, where lookbooks are quickly becoming a requisite for designers as much as boutiques, and new favorites are discovered via the Instagram rabbithole of tagged photos. And so Notions of Beauty: NW Fashion Photography NOW is long in coming; it's a look at "the culture of making beauty while living within a new phase of 'hypermodernity'."
Curated by longtime commercial and fashion photographer Christine Taylor, Notions came about as a byproduct of preparations for the Museum of Contemporary Craft's Fashioning Cascadia exhibit, which seems to have created a stirring in virtually every corner of the local industry (including our own Open Season series of fashion shows, running May 12-14, which draws from the participating design pool). And while Notions isn't part of Fashioning Cascadia proper, its debut this week kicks off what will be months' worth of exciting (and hopefully fruitful) citywide examinations of our relationships with clothing.
For Taylor, it was important to include artists who weren't just shooting commercially, but who were seeking out fashion-related projects for their own creative satisfaction. This allowed her to draw from a body of work that doesn't just represent the aims of a client (to say nothing of the art directors, stylists, and more, whose input influences the final product of a shoot), but that demonstrates more of the photographer's personal vision.
The result is a collection that represents the work of nearly 30 shooters, including Portland's Holly Andres, Brendan Coughlin, and Taylor's own archives, as well as a strong representation from photographers working in Seattle. Our region's industry is about to have a moment; with this, let it begin. Steven Goldman Gallery at the Portland Art Institute, 1122 NW Davis, reception Thurs May 1, 5-8 pm, through June 1
• Another notch in the Westside's major-retail belt is the arrival of Madewell, which is trying to take the edge off its corporate origins by incorporating some local makers in the new Portland store (AK Vintage, Maak Lab), which could function as a nice gateway drug for the uninitiated. They're kicking things off with a reception, featuring bubbles, music, and small bites, plus complimentary Bien Fait tote bags with each purchase all day. Madewell, 30 NW 12th, Wed April 30, 6-8 pm
• Bridge & Burn celebrates year one of their brick 'n' mortar with raffles and 10 percent off storewide through Sunday, a portion of sales donated to ALS research, and a keg of Crux Fermentation Project beer named for founder Erik Prowell's dad. As if that's not enough, there will also be a post-store closing afterparty at Jackknife. Bridge & Burn, 1122 SW Morrison, Thurs May 1, 6-8:30 pm, afterparty at Jackknife, 614 SW 11th
• The City Club of Portland has chosen an opportune time to look at "Moving Fashion Forward in Portland." With a panel including Pendleton President Mort Bishop and Seth Friedermann of Manufacture New York, they'll be looking at ways the city could better support the growth of local design and production—yes please!!! Sentinel, 614 SW 11th, Fri May 2, noon, $15-30
• Quick Study, the bike-centric clothing (that doesn't look like bike clothing) by Caitlin McCall, is warming up the new location of Gladys Bikes with a theme party called "Supermarket at the End of the World." Check out the latest spring pieces plus photography, film, raffles, refreshments, DJ Big Booty Judy, and an offbeat photo booth. Gladys Bikes, 2905 NE Alberta, Fri May 2, 5-9 pm
• Another First Friday means another trunk show at Montavilla's Union Rose, and this month they're featuring Whiskey & Wine, as well as Jade Nomad. Snacks and bubbly come standard, of course. Union Rose, 7909 SE Stark, Fri May 2, 6-9 pm
• Shop Adorn hosts a two-day, pre-Mother's Day trunk show featuring work by jewelry lines Amy Wing, Sahlia, and Lulu, perfume from Olivine and Kai, plus giveaways and refreshments. Shop Adorn, 4120 NE Fremont, Sat May 3, 10 am-6:30 pm, Sun May 4, 11 am-5 pm