BACK IN THE MID-'00S, Oregon Ballet Theatre recruited Adam Arnold for its ad campaign "Who's Your Dancer?" Photographed by Alicia J. Rose, it profiled OBT dancers wearing clothing designed by Arnold. Since then, Arnold has wanted to costume a ballet, a dream that has been fobbed off, until this week.
Chromatic Quartet is a four-piece program that includes the world premiere of "The Lost Dance," by visiting Canadian choreographer Matjash Mrozewski. When Mrozewski mentioned an interest in having the dancers costumed by a local designer, OBT Artistic Director Christopher Stowell thought of Arnold.
That was a year ago, but until recently Arnold had almost nothing to work with—neither the dance nor the music had been composed, so instead he applied himself to studying Mrozewski's past work, noticing that Mrozewski "has an interest in pieces and clothing and sets that occupy a space out of time. They bring to mind a certain aesthetic, but aren't vintage." It's a description that, as anyone familiar with his work can attest, could be applied to Arnold's own aesthetic.
Arnold was also privy to the development of the score by Owen Belton, beginning with references that Belton and Mrozewski used as a starting point, including pop hits from the Black Keys and Adele, which Arnold—who tends to eschew mainstream music in favor of obscurities—initially blanched at. "Once I start hearing some smoky vocals, I just turn off," he says, laughing at the fact that he had to check his email to even recollect those artists' names. Luckily, what eventually came out of the process "pleasantly surprised" him. "I can hear the references," he says, "but it's very spooky and kind of disco."
The resultant clothing looks like one of Arnold's signature collections, but each piece is altered in some way as a result of the hours he spent developing techniques that allow a huge range of motion. "I approached it from a clothing standpoint rather than a costume one," he says. "The clothing should be supportive of the movement." Chromatic Quartet, Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, opens Thurs April 19, 7:30 pm, through April 28, see obt.org for more showtimes, $15-160
In more traditional fashion events, Isaac Hers is debuting fall 2012 looks at "Chambers," a runway show and shopping party that also features menswear from the Woodlands and PINO, plus a silent auction. Chambers, 610 SW 12th, Sat April 21, 8 pm, $20-40
On the bridal front, AniA Collection has teamed up with the Art Institute to award a design scholarship to student Karina Reed at the CHOICE bridal show. Her winning design will be featured at the event along with gowns from designers like Claire Pettibone and Tara Keely, as well as Leanne Marshall, who returns to Portland to present the award. CHOICE, Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park, Wed April 25, 6 pm, $10-20
Una's first trunk show in its new, larger location features the amazing jewelry of Seattle duo Pariscope Studios, the work of Elena Korakianitou and Joanne Sugura. Una, 922 SE Ankeny, Thurs April 19, 5-8 pm
Local jewelry shop Little Things is hosting a trunk show for Amira Mednick's AMiRA line, with snacks and champagne to lubricate your shopping experience. Little Things, 1720 NW Lovejoy, #102, Fri April 20, 5-8 pm
To celebrate the international stoner holiday, Hollywood Babylon is throwing a 4/20 party—yes, really. Look for local company Case of Bass spinning classic hiphop with their custom boomboxes fashioned from vintage suitcases; black velvet paintings by Juanita, Hot Mama salsa, and complimentary beer and wine. Hollywood Babylon, 4512 NE Sandy, Fri April 20, 7-10 pm
Twelve brands come together under one roof for the Northwest Collective Sample Sale for two days of bargains, with up to 80 percent off for men and women: Nixon, Shwood, Lizard Lounge, Holden, Bridge & Burn, Element, Billabong, Poler, Dehen, Harding & Wilson, Lifetime, and Brixton. 525 NW 10th, Sat April 21, 10 am-6 pm, Sun April 22, noon-5 pm