IT WAS NEW YEAR'S DAY, at an annual gathering of tired, partied-out friends, some who hadn't slept a wink, having shuffled in from the cold for a makeshift taco buffet and a little hair of the dog. One of them pulled a pair of sneakers out of a shopping bag, their wild colors instantly brightening the room and reviving the small crowd of sore eyes. She'd just come from Palace, a new store that opened its doors, against custom, on the first of January, luring people in with free mimosas and live music.
Located in the former Anthem Records space, Palace is the new venture of Charlotte Reich, formerly part of the Rad Summer (2742 E Burnside) crew. When she stepped down from Rad Summer in June, Reich had no plans to open another shop, but in the process of helping a friend look for a space, she stumbled onto 828 SE 34th, and things began to fall into place. The store is large and bright, and reminiscent of Rad Summer in terms of its selection of primarily vintage clothing, plucked and merchandised to maximize appeal and drive your imagination. Whereas most vintage stores are about the dig, a jumble of treasures you need to work through to find excitement, Reich has a talent for arranging her vintage wares in such a way that everything looks doable, from worn-thin and punctured metal T-shirts (I spotted Judas Priest and what at first appeared to be Slayer, but turned out to be something called "Shiner," a band who somehow both shamelessly ripped off the Slayer logo and—according to Wikipedia—toured as openers for Sunny Day Real Estate) to a jumble of tops made navigable simply by arranging them in a rainbow spectrum.
The front of the shop boasts a small selection of unused clothing, including skirts and jackets from Portland designer Dawn Sharp, whose work can also be found in Montavilla's Portland Garment Factory (7910 SE Stark). There are also cowled, caped shapes and stuffed fabric-sculpture necklaces from Brooklyn-based Take off Your Clothes, Rackk and Ruin jewelry embellished with shocks of human hair, and clubby geometric tops from Ruffeo Hearts Lil Snotty, another Brooklyn line Reich points out as most indicative of the direction she wants to move in.
Reich's plan is to sell off the vintage and bring in more eclectic lines of new clothing as space is created, saying of the sourcing necessary to procure secondhand treasures, "I don't really see being a picker as my lifelong pursuit." (Palace, 828 SE 34th, noon-8 pm daily, 7 pm when there's a Blazers game)