September 1 2014

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1 posts tagged "Portlandia"

The Next U.S. Style Capital: Portlandia?


Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen’s Pacific Northwest-spoofing sketch show Portlandia took off last year, with a skit parodying the city’s hipster contingent and their Etsy-fied predilection for (in their words) putting birds on things. “Put a bird on it!” the newly formed credo went. Coincidentally or not, out came Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu collection, the one Michelle Williams wore to the Met ball. Lo and behold: She had put a bird on it.

Could it be that Portland style is reaching the rest of the globe? If it is, you can thank Portlandia costume designer Amanda Needham. (Don’t laugh—she won an Emmy last year for her work on the show.) And according to Needham, it may not be high fashion, but you’ll find plenty to love in the Rose City. “In Portland, you could find any kind of style you want to,” she says. “There is such a huge mix, from indie rocker to geek-chic cute babe to punk, there are old hippies and new hippies, and everything in between. I wouldn’t say the characters’ costumes on the show are much of an exaggeration—these people exist in Portland, for sure.” (Brownstein recently told The New Yorker that she feels like she’s “borrowing clothes from someone’s closet” when she’s in costume.)

This month, the series and its artsy, eco-conscious, feminist bookstore-owning residents returned to IFC for a second season. “The characters are getting stronger voices through their wardrobe this season. We are reiterating some of the pieces—lots of layering, down vests, fleece, and khaki.” To get the look, she frequents local Portland thrift shops, REI (it’s a one-stop shop for creating Kath and Dave’s wardrobes), and hand-makes the rest. As for this season’s new characters (one played by Kristen Wiig), she says, “Carrie and Fred play these gutter punks, and their outfits and hair—it’s so gross. I felt so bad putting them in them,” she says. “They actually asked if I really got them from the dumpster.”

It leads you to wonder—is Portlandian style destined for a catwalk near you? “I would love to see ‘feminist bookstore’ on the runway—I am totally open to that idea,” Needham muses, citing one of Portlandia‘s sketches. “Although I am not so sure batik will make a comeback. If it does, I certainly don’t want my name attached to it.”

Photos: Danielle Mathias / IFC