FIRST THINGS FIRST: This week in retail is hopping. Bubble Boutique is throwing a party-clothes fashion show for the LA line Heidi Merrick, with DJ Evan Alexander, drinks, and a 15 percent discount (Bubble Boutique, 1100 NW Glisan, Thurs Dec 16, 7 pm). Rio Wrenn is opening up the R.A.W. studio for a holiday trunk show with 10-50 percent off R.A.W. lingerie, plus giftables like handmade ceramics and jewelry (R.A.W. Dye Studio, 529 NE Couch, Sat Dec 18, noon-7 pm). And, Portland-designed apparel company Bridge & Burn are erecting a three-day pop-up shop at the just-closed Frank James (Frank James, 729 E Burnside, Thurs Dec 16-Sat Dec 18, 11 am-7 pm).
What, you didn't know Frank James was closed? It is, and when one store closes, another opens. Or several, in the case of West Burnside's Eagle building, where memories of S&M queer clubs are soon to be erased by a new compound of exciting shops, including an expansion of Seattle's Blackbird, a Portland brick-n-mortar for Dunderdon (they've kept their US headquarters here for a while), and new locations for Portland shops Tanner Goods and Phlox (which has been trying out the new handle "PCB," standing for Phlox Clothing Boutique)! Look for doors to start opening there in May.
But back to Frank James, which was opened by Alison Hawley and Victoria Mesenbrink a scant two and a half years ago. Hawley, who has since become sole proprietor, is picking up and moving on with a fresh slate, first with a private showroom, and an eye on a brand-new downtown store on the horizon. To clarify her reasons behind shutting down, Hawley wrote in an email, "For a while now I felt like I needed a change, for myself and the store—which usually end up being direct reflections of each other. It's been a growing experience for me, good and bad. The store had been doing fine enough, but I haven't been personally satisfied with it, and I was losing steam. [At] this past market, I unintentionally bought all new lines. It wasn't until after I got back and was reviewing everything and thought to myself, wow, I have an awesome store here in these orders... and since then I haven't been able to stop thinking about how great it would be to just start fresh... Fortunately I'm in a position where I can step away from everything for a while. So after this next week I'm going to take a vacation for the first time in five years." Read more from Hawley, and find more fashion and retail events happening this week on mod.portlandmercury.com.