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March 21st, 2007 Elianna Bar-el | Featured Stories
 

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WW checks in with three local fashion mavens to discover what they buy for their stores...and what they really buy for themselves.

     
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BARBARA SEIPP

Owner, buyer, designer of Phlox

Store vibe: Equal parts zen fabrics and flattering silhouettes.

Buys for her store: When Seipp scored a job transfer from Boston to Portland 10 years ago to work at Hewlett-Packard, she had no idea she would be moving to "one of the frumpiest places," fashionwise, she had ever laid eyes on. Fast-forward to spring '07, and Seipp has a new job and a new outlook. She opened Phlox (3962 N Mississippi Ave., 890-0715) last July to a host of style-starved Portlanders hungry to get their fix of brands like the ever-popular Three Dots, Nanushka and Corey Lynn Calter. One request? More adventurous ladies. "Portland is not quite cutting-edge," she explains. "Some women are still so unsure. They have to see it in magazines and on others first before they make the leap."

Buys for herself: Fishnet hose...from Fred Meyer.



GIOVANNA PAROLARI

Owner, buyer and designer, Una

Store vibe: Shanty antique charm meets international hotbox of designers.

Buys for her store: If Una (2802 SE Ankeny St., 235-2326) were a dress, it would be a thoughtful mix of eyecatching stripes and flouncy romance. With a few select racks of exclusive international and national designers sold nowhere else in P-town--plus designs by local couturiers Jess Beebe and Daniel McCall--this 2-year-old neighborhood boutique has been outfitting Portlanders in eclectic frocks by Brazilian-bred line Coven and chic, tailored cuts by Brooklyn-based Laura Seymour. A Bay Area transplant, Parolari has a sharp eye for mixing and matching. Una is peppered with whimsical found objects (from frequent jaunts to flea markets and estate sales) and a stream of refined yet dainty jewelry from traveling silversmiths. So it's no wonder that the artfully decorated space attracts fashion-forward tourists, locals and neighbors alike.

Buys for herself: "Used Ferragamo sandals that I relaced with purple ribbon and found for a whopping $5 at Goodwill. Or my Sears Capezio lookalikes [also found at Goodwill]. They're good-ugly!"



BRIA PHILIPS

Owner and buyer, Le Train Bleu

Store vibe: Understated styles from thesartorialist.com.

Buys for her store: Initially launched online (letrainbleu.com) in February 2004, Portlanders couldn't wait to get Le Train Bleu (748 NW 11th Ave., 343-5140) in earthbound form. Luckily, Philips didn't take long to secure a Pearl District spot to stock her splurge-worthy collections of hard-to-find designer apparel from the likes of Australian-based Yeojin Bae to NYC's Vena Cava. The variety of cuts and colors at Le Train embody bohemian sophistication with a heavy focus on precise detail and craftsmanship. As for the newest trends from the spring runway, you won't find a metallic onslaught of spit-shiny items on Le Train Bleu's shelves. Although Philips doesn't turn a wholly blind eye to seasonal fads, she has a fixed British-pop aesthetic that rules her quality buys. "I find it impossible not to get excited about the newest, latest and greatest," she wholeheartedly admits. "But, I have a sort of twee dandyish streak. I like wool socks and sweaters and wellies and waistcoats."

Buys for herself: "My closet is full of skirts from Forever 21!" she admits. "Even with wholesale prices I can't afford to wear head-to-toe Le Train Bleu every day. I have a black trench from Old Navy [$39] that I bought a couple of years ago and wear a lot. I think a lot of my customers dress like this [mixing really special items and some cheapies]. I'm actually working on a new feature for our website called 'Hello, High-Low' where we style outfits with items from the store mixed with mall-brand and vintage items."

 
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