What a joy it is to announce that spring has at last arrived in Portland, hallmarked by several days of 70°+ weather, sunshine and blue skies. It’s also showing up all around Eden with all sorts of beautiful, brightly colored arrivals: vintage furnishings, gowns, lingerie and ephemera; cosmetics and fragrances, jewelry and more!
Above photos from our Instagram feed. You can follow us at @edenpdx, and follow our sister shop Flutter at @flutterclutter! If you don’t have Instagram, you can still check these photos out in our Facebook album or Pinterest board.
V&A Pattern Books: Garden Florals, Spitalfield Silks and Walter Crane (background images in above collages are from the excellent dvds from these three books, which feature all of the artwork included in digital versions as well!)
We’re so enjoying the beauty of the season and these wonderful items reminiscent of spring – come visit Eden soon to see what’s new!
Eden is beyond thrilled to introduce lingerie from R.A.W. textiles: a host of locally hand-made and one-of-a-kind artisanal undergarments.
Founded and designed by Rio A. Wrenn, R.A.W. hand-dyes textiles using rust, shibori and other techniques, incorporating silk, cottons and vintage crochet trims. Each piece is hand-crafted and hand-sewn from start to finish. With the mission of showing beauty through uncommon means, R.A.W. simultaneously strives to remain ecological and sustainably driven as a lingerie company. Wrenn, R.A.W.’s proprietress has a background in fine art, sculpture and textile design. We interviewed her recently about her technique, process and philosophy on lingerie and fashion design. Read on…
Eden: Can you speak a little to your name for the company and why you chose it?
Rio Wrenn: My business is R.A.W. Textiles and my collection is R.A.W. R.A.W. are my initials. Rio Angela Wrenn. I thought it also went well with the fact that I used such, well, raw processes to color my textiles.
E: As a textile and garment designer, how did you become introduced to the technique of using organic ingredients as fabric dyes?
RW: I always had an interest in plants, in that you could use them for medicine and incense and oils as well as many other things including dyes. I studied sculpture in college at the university of Washington and I took some classes for dying and was introduced the to the world of natural dyes. I also have a interest in Indian history which has a rich textile language. They used a lot of iron in India to dye cloth in combination with plants. Iron is a mordant used in dying that changes the color of the dye and creates stability for that color (colorfastness.) I started rusting textiles with scraps that were donated to the sculpture dept. This really got me started. I knew that there was so much to explore with this medium (rusting). The other techniques that I use include composting and shibori. The composting method is great because you get beautiful colors with little water waste and a low volume of plant or dye material. It does take more time to get the results but they are well worth it. Some of the dyes I grow in my garden such as berries, and hollyhock.
E: You also make art. Does it ever feel like the more commercial process of making lingerie competes with your art (or vice-versa) or do they fuel each other? How does your art intersect with lingerie design?
RW: I started creating silk panels and installations for galleries right out of school, but I always thought it would be fun to have my own textile line that designers would use in their collections. I created only fine art for about 5 years and then I decided to implement my plan in 2007. People responded well to my collection that I fashioned out of my textiles and then I couldn’t stop designing. So I officially created R.A.W. in 2009. I think that the lingerie line is still art but being that it is something you wear makes a world of difference to the end consumer. I don’t ever see my work being mass produced. That is actually counter productive to what message I am trying to get the world to hear. I do however think about ways to make things more efficient and a little bit of higher volume would be great.
E: Do you have goals for growing or expanding this business?
RW: Now that I have been producing for about 4 years I am ready to go back to my original idea and create textiles in volume for designers or dance companies. I am looking into getting some large dye vats and re-figuring my collections so that they are more streamline. I am also interested in creating more one of a kind lingerie / loungewear looks that are using the vintage laces and fabrics that I have in great abundance. There comes a time when collecting things can turn into hoarding and then they never see the light of day.
E: Where do you find influence / inspiration?
RW: I am inspired by nature, a woman’s body, dancing, and metal . . . I really like to find something that is dirty and not usually a head turner and take that opportunity to turn your head by transforming its beauty into a delicate and irresistibly rich garment or silk panel. I like the contrast of hard and soft. My main influence has been spirit. Wicca, Hinduism, Buddhism.
E: Do you have a philosophy about lingerie and under-things which informs your designs, your aesthetic or your process?
RW: I think that your underwear is very important to how you feel and carry yourself. For me as a natural dyer I feel it is very important to have chemical free dyes grace the fabrics that are the closest to your skin. R.A.W. is designed for the woman who wants everyday underpinning and the woman who wants something special that is heirloom quality. I am fascinated by Victorian undergarments because of the beautiful laces and textiles they used and the modesty behind the garments. Growing up in this age its easy to forget how women were treated in daily life and how modest they had to be in order to have any respect. The undergarments they wore were almost cruel but so beautiful and a shame to cover them.
Thanks so much, Rio! To see more of Rio’s designs for sale at Eden, click here or peruse them in person at the shop!
Gorgeous photographs of R.A.W. lingerie by Blueglair.
We’re super excited to be hosting a Trunk and Fashion Show at Eden in just a few weeks! The show is going to take place Thursday, May 3rd (First Thursday) at 6pm and will feature four very talented local designers, cocktail pours from our neighbors at Jinx Lounge, music by DJ Voluspa, and as always, plenty of opulent curiosities!
A little more information about the evening’s event and participating designers:
Pure Jewelry is by Annie Montgomery, a silversmith who combines astrological, nature and textile influences into beautiful and symbolic silver jewelry. Her line ranges from simple and economically-priced earrings to limited-quantity cast pieces of investment quality. For more information about Annie, check out our interview with her.
Meagan Hardy is a clothing and jewelry designer local to Portland. She makes all sorts of wonderful, ethereal garments, including incredible crochet leggings, romantic halter vests and elegant, draped blouses.
Rio Wren is a lingerie and textile designer who uses high quality silks and natural fabric dye processes in her line, R.A.W. Textiles.
Sonia Kasparian heads Urchin Redesign, a local line of reconstructed couture made by traditional hand draping, using deconstructed finishes. Each piece is custom designed, finished, dyed, patinaed, and made from a combination of vintage and new materials.
See more work by our Trunk Show artists here!
We are very lucky to be hosting over a dozen beautiful 1950s gowns at Eden, just in time for spring formals, bridesmaid dress shopping and other warm-season formal events. The innocent, romantic feel of dresses from this era is palpable – nearly all of them look like fancy desserts with their layers of tulle, lace, crinolines and bedecked with bows, feathers, flowers, rhinestones, you name it! The common use of longer hemlines, full skirts and strapless sweetheart necklines makes them even more charming. As these types of gowns become more and more collectible, and with the passing of time, it can be more and more difficult to secure a dress in this style, especially when there’s a deadline (such as a wedding or prom right around the corner.)
Available in every color of the rainbow and a number of different sizes (these aren’t by any means exclusively itty-bitty dresses,) these beautiful gowns were all part of a collector friend of ours’s private collection. They are about as fancy and frothy as they come! Eden’s new window display is a celebration of spring, featuring four of the gowns, a beautiful pale pink damask armchair, vintage paper lanterns and mannequins from the 1950′s, like a staging for a midsummer’s night dream inside of a vintage dress shop…
And yes, these dresses are all for sale, ranging from $110-$275 and all in very excellent condition. For information, visit us during business hours (Mon-Sat 11-6, Sun 11-5) or call (503) 222-2285.