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Garnish Blog

On Display

January 28th, 2015

by Nicole Prevost

You know how it is: the thing that you think looks so wrong, so glaringly bad that a spotlight must be shining directly on it? When I mentioned to Erica what I’d be writing about for my “loveyourwholeself” blog post, she said she’d never noticed my “ugly” hands. Of course, she hadn’t. They’re not covered in green scales, after all. But it’s also because I do a fairly good job of hiding them.

I’m very self-conscious about my mitts. I try not to rest my chin in my hand very much. Every time I recommend jewelry to you kind customers, I tend to hide my middle finger with its misshapen nail. Not so long ago, as he held my hands, a then-new beau commented that he “didn’t know my hands yet.” Instead of embracing the sweet moment, I blushed and pulled my hands away.

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Before I began designing clothes and working in dress shops, I was a chef. Lots of years reaching for hot pans, getting splattered with hot oil. One burn was so bad, after only a couple of seconds I felt no pain from it; the nerves under the skin on that thumb were deadened, and the skin became thick, white and rubbery. As it healed, that scar remained so red and so prominently raised that I considered getting a tattoo – either a fern or a carrot – to mimic its shape. (Luckily, I decided against the permanent ink.) Other scars remain, all over my hands.

The misshapen nail? That’s from a wart. Ick, I know. Well, it’s actually not so icky, but it is in just about the worst spot it could be. Warts that are next to nails are notoriously hard to get rid of. I know because I tried over the years. Months on end of doctor treatments, home remedies. (Duct tape, anyone?) It’s lingered, long ago causing the nail on my middle finger to stop growing on one side.

And then there are the fat knuckles, the fingers that are quite crooked. Since puberty, I’ve cracked my knuckles. Much to my father’s chagrin. Since high school, I’ve had those knobby knuckles and fingers as crooked as tree limbs.

Overall, not a very dainty sight.

The challenge to ourselves and to all of you for our #newyearsrevolution has been to embrace our whole selves, warts and all. (In my case, quite literally!) In 2015, I’m reminding myself each day that my hands make me the maker I am. With these crooked, scarred hands, I cook the best gumbo you’ve ever had. With these paws that often drop things – have I mentioned my clumsiness? – I design and make most of the clothes I wear. I cut and sew dresses that you’ll wear. Most importantly, these not so pretty hands will give my beautiful teenage daughter hugs, as often as she’ll let me.

So this year, I’ll be pulling out the red nail polish often. Decidedly not hiding my hands. Calling attention to them, in fact.

With my hands, I create. And that fulfills me.

 

Nicole comes to Garnish having long been involved in Portland’s fashion scene. Beginning in 2007 and continuing for 7 years, she owned Union Rose, a boutique featuring locally made designs, including her own clothing line, Big Brown Eyes. She’s passionate about well-made things and is a fierce supporter of all things local. A Louisiana native but long-time Portlander, Nicole sees that her 13 year old daughter has also taken on the mantle of clotheshorse. They have many spirited discussions on what is considered fancy. “Many things in life can be done in a silk dress and heels. Why NOT look good?”

Authentic Beauty – Guest Blogger Katherine Johnson

January 16th, 2015

“Real style is never right or wrong. It’s a matter of being yourself on purpose.”  -G. Bruce Boyer

No matter how different we may be as individuals, we all share the ritual of getting dressed everyday. Whether we are aware of it or not, what we wear communicates something about who we are. It acts as a microphone — announcing who we are to the world. It is a powerful communication that reflects how we feel about ourselves and affects how people respond to us.

We all have the ability to live in our brightest light, sharing our true beauty with the world and attracting the people that are a good match for us, both professionally and personally. The process of self-exploration and discovery that I share with my clients helps them to understand how to show up fully in all areas of their lives.

Our personal style is a way to say who we are without speaking. It comes from knowing who we are and having the confidence to embrace and express this sense of self. Our style is a vehicle of self-expression and it affords us the opportunity to celebrate ourselves, bringing intention and magic to the start of each day. The power of this intention has the potential to be magnetic.

We all have many roles to balance in life – daughter, mother, wife, athlete, friend, professional, partner — it can be wonderful but also at times confusing and overwhelming. Sometimes my clients feel they have lost touch with who they really are and have become uncertain about how to authentically express themselves. We use the colors, design lines, patterns and fabrics that are in harmony with their essential energy to light them up. Many clients have described this experience as a feeling of “coming home.” Showing up as your best dressed self starts with loving your whole self. By giving yourself permission to be more of yourself, you connect with the power and beauty that has been within you all along. Good things are possible when you are completely aligned inside and out.

When we know ourselves we can adorn ourselves with the clothes and accessories that express our unique inner essence. When we feel good and have confidence sharing our authentic beauty, we make better choices, we exude more confidence, and people react positively to us. I encourage you to embrace your style as a way to step into your essential beauty and radiate out your unique signature so that the world is lit up by your brightness.

I want the world to see and take notice of the authentic YOU.

“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” — Oscar Wilde

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Katherine Johnson is founder and owner of SPARK: IGNITE YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE. Learn more about her work at www.katherine-johnson.com

#loveyourwholeself

My Not-So-Secret Love

December 10th, 2014

by Nicole Prevost

As much as I love modern things, I have a not-so-secret LOVE of vintage, especially vintage clothing. The style, the fabrics, the construction of vintage dresses and coats make me swoon! So it was with great pleasure I treated a girlfriend to last weekend’s holiday fashion show at Xtabay Vintage.

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The ladies of Xtabay showed off the most exquisite pieces from the last century. There were gasps of delight and wonder each time a lovely model came out in a glorious gown. My friend and I have already decided we’re making this an annual holiday outing.

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Almost as fabulous as the show itself was the arrival of the guests. You see, attendees were asked to dress up for the occasion, and they did not disappoint! My friend M wore a mod dress from the 60s, while I pulled out my most cherished dress, a black silk beaded gown from the 1920s. Besides being a thing of beauty, the reason I most love the dress is because someone long ago darned a hole in the dress. And no, it wasn’t a rip in some hardly seen place – this hole is at the very top front of the bodice.

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It may be hard to see in the photo, but this repair work is the type hardly done anymore – if ever! Basically, someone tried to recreate the fabric with the teeniest stitches and weaving possible. I just love that this gown wasn’t thrown out, even with a flaw in such a prominent place.

These well-made pieces were loved, were valued…they’ve got staying power. We feel the same way about the pieces we’ve got in the shop. With great fabrics and well-made pieces, we hope you wear Garnish garments again and again. I know we do.

Day 1 - 12 Looks of Xmas

 Alexandra Dress

Haute (Couture) Holidays!

November 17th, 2014

by Nicole Prevost

This week’s not-so-snowy, a little bit icy, definitely COLD blast of early winter weather seemed like the perfect time for us to spruce up for the holidays.

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First, Miss Do-It-All Erica gathered the pine boughs from her property. She thinned out some overgrowth and felled a tree!

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Next, she drew on her background in sculpture  and crafted skirts for our ladies out of chicken wire. We then got to work. A little like draping slopers on mannequins, we let the branches dictate how the skirts would look.

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Sticking with the theme of creating finery from humble items, we draped the bodices in natural burlap. Satin ribbons pulled the looks together.

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Twinkly lights, some of the jewelry made in-house, and our Haute (Couture) Holidays are ready! They’ve already received great responses from people strolling by. If you can, come and take a look.

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Designer Spotlight: Karen Davis of Moulagerie

May 28th, 2013

We Garnish gals easily get smitten over fabulous local design. And Portland designer, Karen Davis of Moulagerie is giving us just that!

Moulagerie {pronounced moo LA zhuh REE} flawlessly combines romantic femininity with classic sophistication and natural fibers for a fashion forward look with enduring style. We  had a chance to sit down and chat with Karen about what inspires her work, her thoughts on the latest trends, and her TOP 3 style tips every woman should know.

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G: Karen, what inspired you to become a designer? What that always the plan?

K: My mother was a model when I was young. I still have some of the beautiful dresses that she wore “back in the day”. So I’ve always had an appreciation for stunning clothes and beautiful design. I started sewing when I was eleven on an old, black singer sewing machine and immediately fell in love with the medium. Tweaking store bought patterns to suit my imagination, I made everything from christening gowns to couture wedding gowns and everything in between. So yes, I guess it’s always been part of the plan. But after getting married and having children I put that dream on a shelf in order to devote myself to raising my family. I’d really given up on it until a few years ago when I took a pattern making class at Portland Sewing and the world opened up to me once again. Then the Fashion Forward Program was offered to me – an accelerated program that taught both design and the business of fashion. With the kids grown there was no reason why I shouldn’t dust the cobwebs off that old dream and take it down from the shelf. I’m so glad that I did.

G: How did Moulagerie come to be and what is unique about your designs?

K: Moulagerie is more than just a fashion label. It was birthed out of a desire to be true to my beliefs, to walk them out consciously and to encourage others to do the same. So, what makes Moulagerie unique is the business model. We create quality crafted, truly fashionable clothing with respect toward the consumer, the worker, the local community and the environment without compromise. Our hangtags are printed with a “responsibility breakdown” empowering women to make informed and responsible decisions with each Moulagerie purchase.  A portion of each sale is contributed to the fight against human trafficking and to rescue and educate orphans, widows and salvaged young women in and around Cambodia’s garment factories. And all of our clothes are locally manufactured. So, Moulagerie is as much about giving back, restoration and compassion as it is about fashion.

G: Where do you go for inspiration?

K: Everywhere! I’m inspired by fabrics and textiles but I can also be inspired by anything in my world – The Portland skyline, bridges, the ocean. The other day I saw a spiderweb with hundreds of baby spiders, little yellow spiders with black bottoms, suspended on that web. I took a picture of it and am totally exited for the next Moulagerie collection.

G: What trends are you seeing in design and fashion that you are loving right now?

K: I love the athletic, architectural detailing that we are seeing in sophisticated dresses. You see it in Jason Wu and Alexander McQueen. It balances strength with femininity for a body beautiful look without the sensuality.  I’m also loving the return to bold, bright color. I’ve always loved color and I’m so hoping that Portland embraces it!

G: Sometimes a gal can use some help. What are your TOP 3 “Must Know’ style tips?

K: Be true to yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable in it then what’s the point? Next, know your body type and the cuts that look best on you. You’ll save a lot of frustrating moments in the dressing room that way. And finally, throw out the spandex!!! I know it’s comfortable but it’s also never stylish.

G: Besides fashion, is there anything else- a hobby or pastime- that you absolutely enjoy?

K:  Travel. We’ve had some incredible opportunities to travel to various parts of the world – Cambodia, Mexico, Scotland, France, Italy. It has had a profound impact on my understanding of my place in this world and my responsibilities to it. The people, the landscape, the hardships and the beauty are all overwhelming to me.

G: Is there any essential advice you would like to pass on to all of the aspiring designers out there?

K: Begin with the discovery of who you are and what you stand for. Use that knowledge to develop your brand and don’t sway from it. It’s what will keep you grounded and keep you passionate about whatever you do no matter how tough it gets. Take the time to hone your craft. Don’t be afraid to take it slowly. It’s the one’s who don’t give up who eventually succeed.

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We invite you to join Karen Davis and us Garnish Gals for a Moulagerie Trunk Show on Thursday,  June 6th from  6-9pm at our Garnish Boutique in the Pearl. Enjoy Moulagerie Summer designs, wine and light bites, mixing and mingling with friends, a live fashion show with model Raquel Romans, and a preview of Moulagerie’s Fall 2013 Chateau Collection. Ah, and also we don’t want to forget to tell you that Portland Makeup Artist & Fashion Stylist- Claudine Ebel- will be painting gorgeous lips with shades perfect for this Summer and will be talking about personal styling tips and tricks to help Capture Your Style.

Thursday June 6th. 6-9pm. Garnish in the Pearl District- 404 NW 12th Ave. Portland, OR.

See you there!

Love,

The Garnish Gals

Join Us! Garnish Spring Soiree on April 5th!

March 27th, 2013

We’re throwing a party! Join us at our Pearl District location on Friday, April 5th from 6-9pm. We will be celebrating the in-store arrival of our Spring 2013 and White Label by Garnish collections like never before!

Mark your calendars and grab the girls. Here is what you can expect at the “From Behind The Lens” spring soiree:

*Live Cuban music by Portland latin sound standout, Xavier Tavera Band*
*Prizes and giveaways including a $500 Garnish shopping spree!*
*Complimentary cocktails featuring New Deal Distillery spirits (21+).*
*Complimentary Dead Guy Ale courtesy of Rogue Ales (21+).*
*Savory hor d’oeuvres and sweets.*
*A fashion show featuring the newest Garnish styles of the season.*
* Select styles from Au Clothing, the in demand fashion line by Garnish team member and current Project Runway Season 11 contestant Michelle Lesniak Franklin.*
*A preview and chance to pre-order designs from Garnish’s upcoming summer lines before they hit the racks.*

The giveaways don’t end there!
Post your BEST party pics on Facebook and TAG Garnish for a chance to WIN a $100 Garnish Gift Certificate. The lucky winner will be selected and announced the next day!

This is one spring bash you don’t want to miss.

See you on April 5th!

Project Runway Bound!

January 10th, 2013

Garnish Team Member Michelle Lesniak Franklin

Photo credit: Katie Simon

We have are thrilled to share this news with you all!

A Garnish Gal is on her way to the runway, Project Runway that is! Michelle Lesniak Franklin, team member and friend, has been selected to compete on Season 11 of Project Runway set to air on Lifetime January 24th. We are beyond excited to tune in and root for her as she takes on the competition.

Au Clothing Coat and Knit Dress at Garnish

Au Clothing stylish waist length raincoat shown over Au Clothing Knit Dress

Michelle took a chance and left behind a decade long career in the wine industry to follow her true passion, design. She has since been recognized as one of “3 Designers to Watch” by The Oregonian and has continued to woo fashionistas with her line, Au Clothing, that, in Michelle’s words, “celebrates the smart, sassy, articulate, nerdy woman.” Since she joined Garnish in May, we’ve had so much fun working with Michelle and being privy to her extraordinary creative energy and rock-star sense of style!

Au Clothing Long Coat at Garnish, Portland OR

Customer, Carol Wessinger, in Au clothing.

Michelle’s bold and edgy aesthetic has brought a wonderful spirit to Garnish’s collaborative design process. From what we’ve been able to sneak a peek at online, it’s said that this season will feature more team challenges than ever before. Michelle is a strong team player. Can we just say that we are super confident that she has what it takes to go far in the competition. Let’s hear it for Michelle!

Click here to watch her Project Runway Bio.

Au clothing available online and at the Garnish, Pearl District boutique.


Polka dot Spring!

January 29th, 2012

Black and white polka dots are a big trend this Spring.  We are devoting an entire collection to Black and White designs  in April, so stay tuned!

Sampling from 2012 Designer Collections

December 30th, 2011

Love some of the colors and fun 60’s silhouettes of 2012 designer collections.  Here is a sampling including designs from  Diane Von Furstenberg and Zac Posen!   Oh, and the gloves!

 

 

Caught up in Royal Wedding Fever, just a little late!

June 20th, 2011

Must be nice to have a royal budget for clothes!

Ok, so I wasn’t exactly caught up in the whole Royal Wedding until my mom came to visit and brought my sister-in-law’s issue of People Magazine with the 72 page spread on the big event.  Now, I must admit, I’m a bit smitten with Kate and her classic style.  Anyone who can rock the numerous hats she has worn in the past month (both literally and figuratively) has my vote.