Posts Tagged ‘review


Jon: Why Portland Fashion Week Is Bad For Portland…





There is no more valuable way to signify the fashion value of a city than through a relevent fashion week. This form of event  showcases the importance of region’s design aesthetic, but more importantly it says to buyers, fashion editors, store owners, garment manufactures, and designers: We are a viable market,and we are ready for you.

Portland has always possessed a strong arts community, but only in the past decade has really begun to develope a fashion culture. With modern world fashion taking many of it’s cues from the d.i.y. art/music scene of the early 90’s as well as ideas related to sustainability, it would seem that Portland (which has always had a strong base in both) would be one of America’s burgeoning fashion capitals. And in many ways, it is.

Based on what was chosen to be presented to the world stage during Portland Fashion Week however, you would never know it.

The thematic elements of Portland street fashion, boutiques, and more notable designers seem to have been popping up on runways around the world the past two seasons. The four that in my opinion have been the most relevent as of late include:

  • Deconstructed Romantic
  • Bike Punk
  • Nerdy/Dandy
  • Lumber Jack / Pendleton

 Though some of these ideas were hinted at or even directly referenced (such as in the bike themed Ready to Roll group show), they were never presented in a way that was  either authentic or directionally forward.

Instead, 90% of the looks that were sent down the runway were tired, poorly styled, and cheap looking. It’s all very I got it on sale at JC Penny in 2006. Even the slightly more ambitious attempts (for example the black dress with the bow to the right) come across as very….Target-ish. Like most of the clothes in Target’s “Go International” line, they might look cute on a hanger, but on a body they are an unflattering mess. No one looks good in voluminous, pin-tucked black satin. No one.

Presenting this selection of designs as a representation of Portland’s presence to the global fashion community does an injustice to the city. It says to anyone outside of the region looking in at it: “We don’t care about fashion“. This is, of course, bad for designers. But is also bad for businesses and workers trying to make a living off fashion in this struggling economy.

The saddest thing about this situation is that Portland does have talented, forward looking designers. It’s a roll call that we should all be familiar with: Adam Arnold, Holly Stalder, Liza Reitz, Church and State, Anna Cohen. And these aren’t just my own personal favorites. These truly are the most important designers working in Portland today. Many of them did host secondary events during PFW, but since none (with the exception of Cohen) were officially involved, non-Portland residents looking at PFW coverage would not be exposed to their designs.

Admittedly, I don’t know all the details of exactly how designers are chosen to be a part of the event. I know that they have to apply and that, if selected, they have to pay a fee to show. Whatever the exact process is though, it reeks of misguided inclusiveness and perhaps even nepotism. Almost none of the designers chosen deserved to be chosen for this or any fashion event. The bar needs ton be set higher. If relevent designers are not applying and/or can’t afford the fee, they should be invited to show for free. It would be unfair to some, but so what? In the end, it would mean more ticket sales, more national press, and a raised presence for the fashion community. It would also encourage other talented designers to apply in the following seasons.

The reason that most of the good designers in Portland don’t become involved is because they know that Portland Fashion Week is a total joke. They don’t want to shell out money to be part of something so irrelevant. But like it or not, as long as Portland Fashion Week exists it will be what most outsiders view as the defacto representation of Portland.

And  that’s a very, very, bad thing.



Oh, and last but not least, I thought I’d leave you below with my vote for the absolute worst look of the entire week. Out of kindness for designers who might be searching for press about themselves, I decided not to include any names for most of the pictures attached to this article (hey, I’m not out to hurt feelings here). However, Nelli Millard and Dru Broekemeier (of NelliDru Design) need to be called out on putting such a monstrosity into the world.

Ugliest dress ever!






Gaycondo has successfully reached the 4 month period! In the context of romantic relations, the 4 month period is the time when newfound love is slowly tapering from sex every 3 hours to perhaps every other time the couple sees each other. There may be some inner-turmoil between the couple leading them to question the status of their relationship. Fights or hot make up sex may ensue.

In the context of blogging, unlike early stage romantic breakups, we, the writers, have triumphed yet another month proving that spewing the unimportant, extraordinary, creative, hilarious BS can conquer all negative forms of human communication!!!!

From one writer’s perspective here ’tis:

Gaycondo: April in Review

Jon: Searching for Grey Gardens : Jon discovers people are capitalizing on Edith Bouvier Beale, Jackie Onassis’s cousin, who made herself a legend in the 1975 documentary, Grey Gardens. For shame!….and money.

KEEP IT ON THE BROWNLOWE: Welcome to the Digital Era : Eff people who think you can’t get passionate/academic if you drop out of college! This is my first essay about how big things ARE currently happening in how we perceive, contribute and discover culture due to advancements in musical/digital technology through the power of the Internet.

Jon: “Magic Johnson” is totally gay… : No, not the superstar who magically lowered his condition of HIV. Instead check out one of our new favorite local bands, Magic Johnson, as they participate in a music video project called The Penny Jam. The location is “The Dollar Scholar” which is not only the best dollar store in Portland but also the place where I purchase my laundry detergent.

KEEP IT ON THE BROWNLOWE: Chores…Tragically UnHeard Of: Here at gaycondo we all do Chores. Unfortunately, not the people of the band, Chores, but the actual act of cleaning. Luckily for us, I scored a sweet interview with the band right after they got home from a romp in California. If you’re looking to add a bit of inspiration into your vocabulary to help you get through sweeping the floor, read this post.

Paul: America Has Lost It’s Edge!: This show documents America’s Next Top Model (which globally is becoming ______’s Next Top Model).

Jon: The best “drag” performance I’ve ever seen: Which surprising enough does NOT feature Divine but instead another diva icon in it’s finale.

KEEP IT ON THE BROWNLOWE: Bridging the Bering Strait: WTF! Building a bridge across the BERING STRAIT!!! YOU CRAZY!

Jon: We Finally get to see what Kris Van Assche of Dior is up to: Finally I get to read a runway fashion post I actually AGREE WITH!

Beth: Making fun of the homophobic: Beth is kind of like the “Where’s Waldo?” gal of gaycondo. And she hates homophobes.

STUFF QUEER PEOPLE LIKE: Shamelessly ripping off the concept behind “Stuff White People Like”, Jon starts a new project: “Stuff Queer People Like” details shit that actually matters.


Jon: We finally get a chance to see what Kris Van Assche is up to at Dior…


…and it appears to be the costuming for “Interview with the Vampire”.

Hedi Slimane

For Gaycondo readers not in the know, the man to your right is none other than seminal designer Hedi Slimane. He first gained major recognition when he became the head creative director and designer at Cristian Dior. In 2000, he created Dior Homme, a new line for the house that was very heavily influenced by the world of rock music. He is best known for his slim silouettes, inky/waxed denim, long coats, high collars, and leather bombers.

I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Slimane (true story) early in the Spring of 2007 here in Portland Oregon while he was shopping in my store. I was so star struck and disoriented while speaking with him, that it didn’t occur to me to inquire about why exactly he was in Portland (I know, I know. Portland is fucking awesome…. But we are not a city that is regularly visited by fashion world heavy hitters). Shouldn’t he be in Europe somewhere designing his 2008 collections or something?

As soon as I got home, I of course went into heavy internet stalking mode trying to discover his reasons for visiting my fare city. While I didn’t find anything out about a secret Portland runway show or anything, I did learn that Slimane had just that week been officially ousted from Dior!


It turns out that he had been seeking more creative freedom within Dior, and was hoping to design a woman’s line under his own signature (i.e. it would be called Hedi Slimane, not Dior). The head honchos at Dior were not pleased, and apparently thought that the “Slimane” name was not commercially valuable enough to invest all that extra money in.


Enter Kris Van Assche, the douche bag (or maybe “Assche Hole”??) to your left. After kicking Slimane to the curb, the reigns of Dior were handed over to him and his creative vision. Bad choice Dior. We just recently got to see Van Assche’s first collection for Dior Homme (Fall 08), and let’s just say, it is looking a little more Anne Rice than New York rock and roll.

For your consideration, examine the following: 

First off, Hedi Slimane:

Two looks by Hedi Slimane

Seriously Slimane, you fucking kick my ass.

Second, Kris Van Assche:

Kris Van Assche for Dior Homme

Seriously Van Assche, are you fucking kidding me? Are you going to drink my blood or what?

p.s. you are a douche.

images via


KEEP IT ON THE BROWNLOWE: CAT POWER: You are *almost* Dead to Me


It is a sad, tragic day when you realize you can’t relate to one of your favorite singer’s creative vision anymore:

Oh NO she DINNIT!!!!!
Cat Power: WTF is with the hat?

For me, this singer is Cat Power. I was SO stoked to give her a second chance after she did a bloody nose dive on The Greatest (2006), which was clearly her worst album to date…Until today, when I was barely able to make it through the 30 second samples of her latest mistake, Jukebox.

I personally liked Cat Power better when she was a bit crazy and self destructive making death rattling, haunting southern alternative folk music. A woman who made herself a legend because she could barely make it through a song live due to  her debilitating emotional pain.

Now, she just sounds like a watered down, cheap whiskey, a recovering alcoholic who makes wonky, down-tempo and tepid sounds, CROSSING THE BORDER INTO ADULT CONTEMPORARY BULLSHIT LAND!!!!.

It really  is sad when your best recorded work in several years is a Cat Stevens cover you recorded for a commercial for diamonds:

SOMEONE NEEDS TO SEND THIS WOMAN TO MUSIC-REHAB with a bottle of Southern Comfort Blues or else I fear their may be a Christian-Alternative Rock album on the way.

Lucky for me, I don’t get sick of her earlier works. That being said, I am willing to give her a third chance (but we all know the rules of baseball).

You Are Free
Listen: “WEREWOLF”″
How on earth can someone take a dive in the wrong direction after an astonishing well done album like this one? This album is a happy marriage of Cat Power’s gut wrenching emotives with power pop optimism. There is a bit of studio musician backing going on, but in a tasteful way. Eddie Vedder even makes a vocal appearance without ruining the mood. I love the quiet piano on opener, “I Don’t Blame You”, acoustic rocking sing-a-long of title track, “You Are Free”, the bottom of a bottle of blues back porch confessions of “Good Woman”, the reviving howls of “Speak For Me”, the haunting croons in “Werewolf”, the pop sensational drive of “He War”, the chills and forewarning of “Shaking Paper”, the sullen minimalism of “Baby Doll”, the trembling harmonies found in “Maybe Not”, the poetic requests of “Half Of You”, and the haunting sound of spiders retreating into the night on “Keep On Runnin”.

Covers Record
Listen: “Sweedee dee”

I cannot even think where to start on explaining why I love this album so much. It is extraordinary. I guess it is because it is so stark and simple, and doesn’t fuck around with frills, and just stabs straight to the emotive heart. I don’t know much about how the original versions sound but I definitely feel Chan Marshall touched them individually and left a part of her soul. I can tell she chose each song for a reason. This album destroys me. Listening to it feels like the comfort after screaming at the top of your lungs or crying for the first time in months. I can listen to it when I want to be calm, when I want to bring up the devil in me and confront him, when I want to look out the window on the train, when I want to be lost in the moment of the words. It is difficult to find a favorite song on this album because they are all so damn good. There are love songs, songs of loss, words of lust, words of deep seeded pain, words of the layman all sung over gently played guitar or piano in Chan’s thick smoke curling draw.

Moon Pix
MOON PIX (1998)
Listen: “He Turns Down”

This album was the first I heard from Cat Power. My friend put a few songs from Moon Pix on a mix tape and it didn’t really help me get out of my 11th grade depression. It did give me something to relate to though…I wore it thin. I love the percussive instrumentation on “American Flag”, how it relates to the words, the flute and guitar entangled “He turns down” and the bottom of the bottle melancholy of “Moonshiner”.

Watch: “Cross Bones Style” Music Video:

What Would The Community Think?
Listen: “Nude as the News”

This album is very shoe gazy at at time wishy washy, but there are some gems, such as the driving “Nude as the News”, emotive crescendo of “fate of the human carbine”, guitar violently ending “Enough”, and the cold spoken repetition of “The Coat is Always On”.

Myra Lee
MYRA LEE (1995)
Listen: “Rockets”

The second disc of the session with Sonic Youth drummer “Steve Shelly” collaborates with Chan on this record whose name helps to propel her into shy indie darling status. This album contains a good balance between driving blues songs such as “We All Die”, “Rockets” and “Top Expert” and chilling minimalism in songs like “Great Expectations” and “Wealthy Man”.

Dear Sir
DEAR SIR (1995)
Listen: “Itchyhead”″
A lot of these songs feel like the first take of many that reappear on Myra Lee. This album is extremely rough, almost nightmarish in it’s manic tendencies. My favorite songs include “Itchyhead” where Chan seems to put herself into the head of a crazy jail dweller who has lost her mind with nonsense words such as “I’m 65 and nobody in my family knows I’m alive / Hey little girl, I wanna cut your hair off / So I can pour butter on you”.

Got any good leads?

gaycondo [at] yahoo [dot] com

We Are In A Band!