ANOTHER BOUTIQUE VENTURE has recently sprouted up in Portland's fertile entrepreneurial soil: Siljan is primarily an online boutique, the joint venture of Erika Nelson and Melora and Jakob Thomsgård. Drawing from the Thomsgårds' annual trips to visit Jakob's family back in Stockholm, they've created a shop with a distinctly Scandinavian focus, punctuated by their own excellent in-house line of accessories.
Nelson points out a number of reasons outside of the trio's familial connections for being drawn to products from the region. "We appreciate Scandinavian design from a heritage standpoint," she says, pointing out that many of the companies they represent have the same longstanding traditions of lasting quality that have spurred renewed interest in venerable American brands. She also points out that Portland and Sweden have similar climates, and both cultures prefer to buy one solid, stylish but classic item only once rather than cycle through a lot of cheap, trendy versions.
"We definitely picked things that are Scandinavian but that will appeal to Americans," Nelson explains of the offerings for both men and women. In other words, they stayed away from traditional folk motifs and anything similarly "small world after all." Melora's day job is as a fabric researcher for Merrell, and she and Nelson both met as apparel design students, so the importance of inspecting quality of garments in person is another priority.
Fans of aesthetics like Dunderdon's and Acne's will find plenty to lust for (don't skip the shoe department!), but perhaps the most exciting products are Siljan's own in-house line of accessories. Designed to complement the store's aesthetic, the line boasts supple handbags in lambskin and suede with horsehair detailing; simple nubs of rabbit fur attached to brass clips for a chic, fuzzy upgrade to your keychain; and a unique pendant with leather backing and a white tuft of rabbit fur on a long grosgrain ribbon—all at jaw-droppingly accessible prices. Nelson says they plan to immediately expand on this line, so keep your eyes peeled for new designs in the near future.
While Siljan is mostly online, they've been hosting a series of open-studio events, and plan to continue doing so periodically. This week they team up for a collaboration with Hollywood Babylon, merchandising complementary vintage pieces in with Siljan's contemporary offerings. Siljan Studio, 2127 N Albina, Mon Dec 19-Wed Dec 21, 4-8 pm, shopsiljan.com
The Citrine Holiday Soiree is keeping the season raging, with plenty of bubbles, prizes, and discounts, plus featured glasswork from Milinn Spady and chocolates by Sweet Masterpiece. Citrine, 2937 E Burnside, Thurs Dec 15, 5-9 pm
Scarlet Chamberlin Jewelry teams up with Cargo for a trunk show of some of her striking baubles, which are fit for many a price range ($35-350), complete with complimentary wine and colorful Cargo-typical gift-wrapping. Cargo, 380 NW 13th, Thurs Dec 15, 1-7 pm
Heart & Sole is not just another party—it's a shoe party. Come in your favorite kicks for drinks, a shoes-only photo booth, and a series of shoe portraits painted by Sam Roloff. Plus, mention the event at Solestruck for 10 percent off your purchase. Proceeds go to benefit Soles4Souls, distributing shoes to children and families in need. Jillian Rabe in the Space, 1030 NW 12th, Fri Dec 16, 6:30-9:30 pm, $10 suggested donation
Tilde is keeping its lights on later than usual (8 pm is "late" in Sellwood time!) for their holiday shopping party, with 15 percent off your purchase. Tilde, 7919 SE 13th, Fri Dec 16, 6-8 pm
Modo Boutique is doing it up for their holiday party, too, with 10 percent off dresses and jewelry, plus refreshments and raffle giveaways. Modo Boutique, 729 E Burnside, #103, Fri Dec 16, 4-8 pm
grayling jewelry is not merely having a holiday party—nay, this calls for a festival—two days of specially priced gift sets, including boxes and stands, free gift wrap, custom "tailoring," and a free gift with purchases of $75 and up! grayling, 107 SE Washington, Fri Dec 16-Sat Dec 17, 11 am-6 pm
The Holiday Pretty Factory is a multitasking good time cooked up by Solestruck: Come for a free make-up consultation, holiday beverages, and of course, a little shoe shopping. Solestruck, 417 SW 13th, Fri Dec 16, 6-9 pm
Hollywood Babylon vintage shop is turning one year old! To celebrate, they're throwing an in-store party with drinks, art by Malynda Shook, live music by the Dim Peepers, and a pinball tournament on their 1978 Gorgar—the winner will walk with a gift certificate to the store. Hollywood Babylon, 4512 NE Sandy, Sat Dec 17, 7 pm
Make a Clutch Purse with Becky is exactly what it sounds like—the Becky in question being former Project Runway contestant Becky Ross, who is walking crafty students through the construction of her own design in the first of two workshops hosted at Breedom Public Sewing House. (Basic sewing skills required.) Breedom Public Sewing House, 3279 SE Hawthorne, Sun Dec 18, noon-3 pm, $45