When Flutter / Eden and Porch Light owners Cindy Rokoff and Keiran Best decided to split the space at 221 NW 11th Ave. (formerly Versailles Interiors) last spring to open two new shops, they had a good feeling about Portland’s west side. Friends and former Mississippi Avenue neighbors, Best and Rokoff turned out to be far from the only business owners to sense an opportunity across the river.
There’s currently an east-side exodus of shops, coffee houses and eateries moving or setting up second (or third) locations downtown, in the Pearl and in Portland’s newly christened “West-End” neighborhood. In case you’re an east-sider who hasn’t been downtown in awhile, or a west-sider who may not yet have gotten around to exploring new neighborhood businesses, we thought we’d shine a little spotlight on some of the new additions to the west side neighborhoods!
Stylistically speaking, Eden is undoubtedly a relative of Flutter - you can find perfume, art books, gifts, candles, vintage furniture and clothing and locally designed jewelry. Eden differs from Flutter with a more refined, curated aesthetic (think less Flutter-Clutter,) taking note from London’s swinging 70′s, a love of nature, an exotic influence (imported textiles, jewelry and antiquities) and rock and roll
Next door neighbor Porch Light presents a decidedly different look compared to the location it moved from; while the Mississippi shop courted a flea market aesthetic, Porch Light of the Pearl features a tightly curated range of products, new and old, neatly arranged on sunlight wooden shelves and adorning the tops of found barnhouse furniture.
Halo Shoes, notable for their high-end and bespoke selection of mens and womens’ footwear, moved from Irvington to the Pearl District in 2010. Find brands including Costume National, Cydwoq, Dries Van Noten, Luciano Padovan, Grenson, Moma and Wolverine 1000 Mile.
Right down the street from Eden, Popina Swimwear Boutique set up a second shop just two years ago (their first is on NE 42nd Avenue,) offering a range of swimwear and swim accessories, including some of owner Pamela Levenson’s designs.
In our building, eatery Oven & Shaker moved in just a few months ago. A collaboration by Cathy Whims (of famed SE restaurant Nostrana,) ChefStable’s Kurt Huffman, and Aviation gin’s Ryan Magarian, this new restaurant serves up pizza, small plates and artisan cocktails.
Around the corner from Oven and Shaker, EAT Oyster Bar is currently building out the space directly next to Porch Light. The new restaurant is going to be called Parish and we can’t wait to see what they cook up!
Fellow Mississippi vintage shop Animal Traffic has happily found a second home in the neighborhood as well, with a brand new location on SW 10th Avenue. Expect to see slightly different products in the new store with the same western / heritage aesthetic that Animal Traffic has become known for!
A few months before Eden opened, Barbara Seipp moved and rebranded her clothing store (formerly Phlox) and opened Isaac Hers (also the name of the clothing line with Seipp designs) just south of Burnside on SW 13th Avenue.
New(ish) New York style pizzeria Sizzle Pie found such success on East Burnside that they opened a location on West Burnside just across the street from Powell’s Books. With vegan and vegetarian options, Sizzle Pie has quickly become a crowd pleaser on the west side as well.
Fellow East Burnside business Lille Boutique opened a second location last year called Lille Trousseau, which specializes in wedding and honeymoon lingerie (conveniently it’s located right next to The English Department on SW Alder Street!)
And don’t worry, there’s coffee, too: east-side coffee shop The Fresh Pot opened a third location last year on SW Washington Street!
We’re tremendously excited to be part of a movement of businesses re-energizing, re-innovating and re-imagining Portland’s West Side. We can’t wait to see who joins us next!
“I don’t give a damn about creating. I like to influence fashion, and timing is part of that.”
—Norman Norell on his theories on the evolution of fashion in a 1962 interview (source)
We’ve got the most exquisite vintage dress up our sleeves: a silver sequined mermaid sheath gown designed in the late 60′s and produced by Norman Norell, a highly influential American fashion design house that existed for 12 short but influential years in the middle of the 20th century.
Born in 1900 in Indiana, Norman Norell (originally Norman Levinson) was the son of a haberdasher. From an early point in his life, he showed a strong interest in fashion and design. After attending military school during World War 1, Levinson finished his education at the Pratt Institute, where he earned a degree in fashion design. Levinson changed his name (at least the one he used professionally) after graduation to Norell – “Nor” for Norman, and “L” for “Levinson,” with an extra “L” thrown on for flair.
Some of Norell’s first professional designs were theatrical, for vaudeville costumes and film wardrobes (most notably, he worked for the east coast division of Paramount Pictures.) This dramatic influence, as well as the military influence from his early school days reveal themselves in Norell’s most famous designs. Hattie Carnegie commissioned him to design for her in 1928, and he did for nearly 12 years. Following this, Norell worked on a joint collaborative line by the name of Traina-Norell. It wasn’t until 1960 that Norell launched an eponymous line under his own direction.
Pieces by Norman Norell are identifiable for their use of silhouette (Norell favored high necklines, bell sleeves with fitted cuffs and long, sweeping, elegant skirts) and materials (the most famous of Norell’s designs are his sequin mermaid sheaths, which were worn by everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Lauren Bacall to June Carter Cash to Zsa Zsa Gabor.) Some contemporary names have pulled Norell gowns out of the archives to wear to formal events, including Michelle Obama and Kristen Davis.
The most famous Norell style – interestingly, one which is still aesthetically relevant today – is the “sequin mermaid sheath gown.” This style of gown was produced in a number of variant styles, with different colored sequins and notably, mass-produced (rather than made to order in the tradition of couture.) Despite allowing these garments to be manufactured en masse, Norell paid very nearly the same level of attention that a couturier might to the quality control and construction of his garments.
Sequins, like many fashion trends, cycle in and out of favor every few years (we’re painfully reminded of some of the excesses the 1980s took with this style) and they’ve come roaring back onto everybody’s radar the past few years – this time, with a notably larger degree of restraint than previous iterations. Norell’s were some of the first, though, and his repetition of sequined sheath gowns through many years of designing have had a lasting legacy in contemporary fashion design.
It seems that everyone from high-end designers like Rochas or Bill Blass to fast-fashion retailers like H&M and Forever 21 have produced their own iterations of the sequined dress – something which becomes even more apparent as holiday season hits a fever pitch and many women scramble to find their holiday party frocks. Bill Blass designer Michael Vollbract, admitted that several looks from Blass’s 2008 collection, which included a sweeping silver sequin gown, were references to Norell’s designs. Vollbract, also from Indiana, said on paying homage to the late designer, “I fell in love with his sequined mermaids years and years ago when I was a very young designer” (source.)
We can safely say though, high end or low, you haven’t seen a sequined dress until you’ve encountered the original – and we’ve got one spectacular vintage beauty gracing our shop window. Made in the 1960′s, this gown is ivory colored silk jersey with every inch smothered in hand-sewn silver sequins. The sequin mermaid sheath style was Norell’s most popular and when you see it in person, it’s easy to understand why! This beauty is in near-mint condition with nary a missing sequin.
The measurements would fit a lady of these dimensions: Bust 32-34″ | Neck 13″ | Shoulders 15″ from seam to seam | Waist 25″ | Hip 36″ | Total length 54″ | Sleeve length 26″
Gowns like this can fetch steep prices on auction sites – hitting upwards of four and five thousand dollars!
If you are interested in purchasing our Norman Norell gown, or have questions, please contact info[at!]edenportland.com or call (503) 222-2285 during business hours (Mon-Sat 11-6, Sun 11-5 PST.)
Several months ago, a troupe of ladies drove out to the woods between Washougal and Stevenson to stage, style and shoot the first Eden look book. Alongside Annie Montgomery, Genevieve Liberte took video all day to put together into a little film and Anja Verdugo took behind the scenes photos. We’re pleased to announce the film is now complete and thought we’d share it here, alongside some of Anja’s beautiful behind-the-scenes photos from that very magical day in the forest.
On our radar lately: darling vintage toys and children’s dance costumes. Right now, we’ve got a bunch of beautiful porcelain dolls and vintage ballerina costumes at Eden that we think would make the sweetest gift for someone small or a nice collectible for a former ballerina or collector of dolls.
Two of the sweet ballet costumes currently for sale - vintage but still wearable for someone small!
A few of the dolls at the shop, displayed in glass cloches.
It’s easy to get swept up looking at photos of little girls in fancy dance costumes and children with their porcelain dolls. The addition of these items at Eden adds such a nice balance to our other aesthetics that we’re almost a little envious of whoever ends up taking these items home with them!
Interested in something you see here? Call (503) 222-2285 during business hours or email firstname.lastname@example.org to order.
We’re smitten with the exquisite detailing and obvious attention paid to dressing and styling the cast of PBS’ Downton Abbey. The show chronicles the fate of the wealthy English Crawleys at the beginning of the 20th century at the cusp of World War One. The set designers and costumerstake care to use many genuine vintage garments and making many other from hand using vintage materials, noting that reproducing the pieces the Crawley family would have worn in today’s age would be cost-prohibitive.
Costume designer Susannah Buxton says of working on the show:
“You want to costume to help emphasize the character, to be part of who that person is. It’s almost totally different from fashion. Fashion is all about the clothes but not about the person. It’s about making them look thin and beautiful, whereas a costume is about helping that character develop.”
Eden is pleased to be offering a selection of Victorian and Edwardian-era (as well as 1920s) garments that would look quite at home on the set of Downton Abbey (but might prefer your closet or vintage collection!)