Paloma Soledad’s MYTHAUS show impresses Portland’s fashionistas | July 20, 2010
This last fall, I had the honor of assisting with the PR & marketing for Portland Fashion Week 2009. There, I received my formal introduction to the intense creativity of the Portland fashion scene. The winner of the Emerging Designer competition was, to my darkest delights, creative corset designer Paloma Soledad. Entranced by her faerie-like mischief, and charmed by her smooth, ethereal elegance, I was instantly a fan. (http://www.palomasoledad.com/)
Last weekend on July 17th, I was invited to attend her MYTHAUS launch, a fashion and art show combining her talents with artist Robb Kramer to bring another level of fantasy and fashion to a perfect Saturday evening in the ballroom at The Benson Hotel in downtown Portland.
Paloma’s background includes a world of creative costume-inspired fashion, including wardrobe work for films such as “Coraline,” “Hostel,” and “Cabin Fever” among other high-profile contributions to the entertainment industry.
Kramer’s paintings served as the backdrop to the art and fashion event, and were reminiscent of Jackson Pollock’s chaotic, moody works, with their dramatic color and brushstrokes, and enticing fragments of an earthy dream-world dimension. The designs that the models would don would combine the unique feel of both Soledad’s world of fashion and Kramer’s painted visions.
I took my seat in the front row and watched as a curious crowd filled the beautiful ballroom. Soon the lights dimmed, and an eerie, dark, and unsettling chiaroscuro show with puppetry was cast in large shadows against a white backdrop, portraying a dramatic and gruesome silhouette of some silent murder tragedy, or …something? This was the performance of local art group ‘Nightshade’.
As the crowd held their breath to see what would happen next, a distressed woman wearing tattered leather and a wild look on her face crawled, barely, down the runway with large metal poles attached to her appendages and clothing, writhing in clear despair. This dance performance courtesy of local group ‘tEEth’ became more dramatic and confusing when white latex-covered dancers came out to shock the crowd with a continuation of an emotionally violent and stunning performance.
Hearts were pounding by the time the traditional runway show began. The audience then awed at the designs that came out, one by one, on the many beautiful models. The first look included a headpiece reminiscent of decaying sunken pirate ships, juxtaposed to champagne silks and dark leather. Next, we saw glittering formal corset work with deep purple shimmers, and high to the thigh slit cut black skirts. The next skirt and corset ensemble included a mermaid-cut ruffle with brass metal detailing.
The Victorian-esque pirate-world theme continued, with more metalwork corsets and waist cinchers, including old fashioned skeleton key detailing. Here, more earthy greens paired with deep red emerged, with flattering hour-glass cuts, and stained leathers.
Soledad also highlighted one of her newer accessory designs, the LoPocket, which fits around the knee comfortably much like a garter belt fanny-pack. Dare I say fanny pack? This must-have design, however, is classy, functional, and uber-stylish.
Here, the mythical and mystical energy of the show shifted as a model emerged wearing make-shift dragon wings with steam punk flair, paired with woodsy faerie headpieces. Here also, more of the brush-stroke patterns seen in Kramer’s paintings appeared on both sturdy leather corsets and silky, flowing dresses.
As someone who frequents the goth-industrial scene in Portland, I had a slight advantage at being exposed to all of the creative cross-over cultures that are seen, from Victorian and pirate-era fashions, the luscious world of dragons and faeries, as well as the peculiar and fascinating world of what is known as “Steam Punk” – which I attempted to explain to a fellow fashionista to the best of my ability. Portland is certainly a curious city which allows creative energy to flow through both light and dark, and all shades in-between, from fantasy and myth and all through history and imagination. Soledad and Kramer left the audience filled with visual splendor, inspire, and awe. I look forward to seeing what Mythaus brings to us next, and purchasing my very own Lopocket accessory, as seen on the model below, photo courtesy of Mark Coffin Photography.
Other local coverage of the Soledad/Kramer ‘Mythaus’ event includes:
The Portland Mercury. ‘Paloma Soledad Show’.
Willamette Weekly. ‘Retail Therapist: Coraline, the fashion show’.