Relief, Day 2

July 30, 2011

This day was hot and dry and crying out for the river and I could not go. I had too much work to do. But the urge to be out in it, one of our few precious days of summer, was so strong that I felt harmed by staying inside. I prepared my fall patterns for the grader but stopped to grit my teeth and squeeze out an anguished grunt. I pretend cried. I did not want to be inside anymore! And then Sarah and I arranged to go to the river after she got off work at 6pm.
I would swim today!

We made it just as the sun was easing behind the fir trees. Just enough time to jump in the current and float downstream and then lay, cool to the touch, on the throw blanket. We looked at W Magazine, smoked a joint, and saw our futures.
I am not sure which part of the day was more productive.

Summer Swim

July 26, 2011

Woohoo! We went swimming!
I am sorry for those of you suffering through triple digit heat. I truly am. I get heat stroke and cannot handle high temperatures. But we are suffering too here in the Northwest. It is almost August and there have been only a handful of days without clouds in the sky. Like maybe two days. And Sunday was not one of those days but I went to the river anyway. And didn’t leave until 8pm. We laid around, we floated downstream, we ate chips. It was magical.
But just in case I started to take days like that for granted, the clouds rolled in and unleashed an impressive thunderstorm around 4am, drenching the couch and peach colored quilt in the backyard.

This Is A Dress

July 26, 2011

I have been asked to participate in a gallery show that will focus on the first step in the creative process – the sketch. The idea is to showcase the idea behind the product and show an aspect of fashion design that people rarely see. Each designer will present a few sketches of their designs alongside the finished product.
I am looking at my workbook and the various notes and doodles and simplistic drawings of dresses that only a paperdoll would wear. Hmm. I went to art school and took classes in fashion illustration from a vary beautiful blond Dutch woman named Iris, so I know that my sketches could be better. Much better. And taller.

Contact List

July 21, 2011

I have barely moved from the couch this week. Data entry. Store contact list update. It has been awhile since I last attended to this portion of my business. I am sending out the Fall 2011 lookbook this week and want to make sure it goes to the right places.
Send me store names that you wished carried Filly!

Take A Look At Fall!

July 20, 2011

The Fall lookbook is now available for viewing! Tell me what you think!

Love Note

July 20, 2011

My time in Bellingham was magical. I arrived just before the Friends of Filly was set to star and it was like I had never left. Here was the little house with the bowl of raspberries on the porch and the magnolia tree hanging over the walk. Bello ran right in with a “I’m home!” look on his face. I did the same. And there to welcome us was Annie and Aila and little 12 week old Clementine. I know these women (future women). They come from the same clan. When we see each other it feels like a reunion. I return to what I once knew and want to know again.

And the sale was rad! I loved that two sets of grandma / mom combos came to take turns holding the baby while the other tried on dresses. In fact I would say the theme of the day had to be babies and and baby bodies. There were a number of… “well, my boobs won’t always be this big. it seems that this would still fit after the baby comes. that makes you look hourglass again!”
But you can’t enter Annie’s house without another theme hitting you square in the face, chest, stomach, all the way down to your toes. Love. There is an abundance of everything that makes a human feel good and cared for. Food, baby animals, comfy sofas, berry bushes, pedicab rides, and the sleep-eyed warmth between Annie and her husband Chris. Smart and earthy, they pepper each other with local farm information, wordlessly hand off sleeping infant in exchange for breakfast prep, negotiate and bargain and smile inwardly at their shared luck. It is an inspiration and a joy to be in their presence. Too bad for me that they live in Bellingham where it might just rain even more than it does in my neck of the woods.

And we’re havin a party… join Bello and me in Bellingham for the only FOF this summer!

Friday 15th
6pm – 9pm
1601 E Street
Bellingham, WA

(whoa, Bell needs some summer sun!)

One Year, Year One

July 15, 2011

This is the longest way I know

Fall 2011 Photoshoot

July 13, 2011

The Fall 2011 photoshoot happen, but just barely. 1.) Allison, the photographer, was leaving for a bike tour on Tuesday the 12th and would not be back in Portland until mid August. Back-up photographers were either out of town, out of my price range, or used film which would take too long to process 2.)The manufacturer took over a month to remake 8 samples. They planned on sending the samples on the 14th. I had to beg, plead, quilt, and finally force them to finish and send the samples express mail to arrive on the 11th. We would have that day to shoot before Allison departed. 3.) When I checked in with Colleen, she found out the houseboat was not available the week of the 11th because workers were coming to replace the windows and power wash the exterior which would remove the beautiful ash color of the weathered wood shingles. I had to throw myself on the mercy of the boat owners to somehow let me in on Monday the 11th. I needed Allsion and I also needed to shoot before the boat lost the look I was so attracted to. Around midnight on Sunday I got an email from Colleen saying we could get in there from 11 – 5:30, would this work? Yes! 4.) I emailed the model, “Can you meet me at my house tomorrow at 9:45?! She is a professional and has been a working model for 10 years. This last minute frantic scrambling is not what she is used to. Additionally she would have to come back from the coast a day early… but she would be there.
At this point I was exhausted from working the wedding for 12 hours and was driving back to Portland at 1am. I was near tears but it looked like it was going to happen…
And it did! It happened, it was perfect, and it is over!
The images are breathtaking and I can breathe again.

Back to Back to Back

July 11, 2011

And this is what it feels like to make ends meet. On Saturday I worked the farmer’s market starting at 5:30am. For 8 hours I lifted heavy wet tubs and charmingly weighed-out fava beans while an attractive crowd of weekend shoppers strolled arm in arm. On Sunday I worked a wedding as a bar-back. For 12 hours Sarah and I poured and cleaned and restocked while a very stylish crowd of wedding guests got very drunk. Today I am heading out to the houseboat for the Fall 2011 catalog shoot where I will primp and plump and make coffee while Allison captures an exceptionally beautiful woman on film. Three days of rich, compelling beauty! I am literally vibrating from so much stimulus.

Hey, come on out! Bello and I are driving to Bellingham for a Friends of Filly!
Recap: Friends of Filly is an event I put on twice a year. I put out all of my backstock from previous seasons and you all come over and try stuff on. Recently I started holding these gatherings in other towns and other homes. Last September I traveled to Seattle, Bellingham, Eugene and Salem. This Summer I hope to follow a similar route.
Please join me next Friday evening at Annie’s house. There will be piles, stacks, heaps of dress and pants and skirts and tops! I generally sell them at wholesale prices. Yikes, too good to miss. Even if you only come and eat cheese and chat.
Friday 15th
6pm – 9pm
1601 E Street
Bellingham, WA

House Love

July 8, 2011

This Monday we will be shooting the catalog for Fall 2011. The shoot will take place in a houseboat docked outside of Portland, OR. The couple that built the boat and lived there for 40 years has recently passed away. The boat is exactly how they left it and unoccupied. Their daughter has granted me full access. The deceased couple, Jack and Mary, were inseparable and deeply in love. They had careers as prominent doctors but she was also a former model and he was a wood sculptor. He designed and built the house boat and it is decorated in late 60s modern style.
The shoot will reenact their story.

As I said in my previous post, I was inspired by mid-century American modernism in architecture. But not so much the big names like Frank Llyod Wright and Richard Neutra. I like the folkier side, the artists and designers who were making art and the spaces within which they executed their craft. Specifically, my inspiration for Fall 2011 is a young married couple in the place they live, work and entertain. One undemanding setting in harmony with nature. Two individuals in harmony with each other.

This is a shot from our test run. It is a gorgeous house still full of tiny ways they said I love you.


July 7, 2011

Dear Emily,

I am an Ethical Fashion Journalist, writing for several french web magazines.
I am quite familiar with your work for having been following you over the past few months and now I have the project to write an article on Filly Designs. I wish very much indeed to introduce your creations to my french readers.
In order to realize this work, could you send me some visuals and informations on your next collection autumn-winter 2012?


Best regards

Audrey Le Cour Châtel

Oh fuck yeah. And also, fuck. This collection has been challenging and it is not yet behind me.
The Fall collection was initially inspired by a deadline. I made the first round of styles in two weeks so that I could show in Vancouver’s Eco Fashion Show. I then remade the styles with more patience and thought. What did I want Filly to say next? The collection had always referenced mid-century architectural modernism but now I had the time to fully develop that concept. Satisfied, I sent the sew samples to my manufacturer with a sample and dye p.o.. I waited for the official catalog samples to arrive in shades of lavender, blush, mouse, and dark green. The box, when it finally graced my doorstep, was filled with clothing the color of soot. Something had gone terribly wrong in the dye process and each item was faded black. Deep breath. More delay. I went back to the studio and took a critical eye to the designs. I cut a few, shortened and lengthened as needed, made a few more designs to fill in gaps, and sent it off, for the third time, to my manufacturer. A month has passed and I am still waiting.
And so, Audrey Le Cour Châtel, can I get right back to you? One second please…


July 6, 2011

This morning I met an old friend for breakfast. We studied fashion together at CCA and it was really fun to catch up and inspire each other. I drank a lot of coffee. And on the way home the coffee and the glow from her energy and spirit somehow propelled me toward the feed store. I needed some straw for the yard.
But instead I bought some animals. Just like that. I barely remember doing it. And now they’re here, silently warming my heart by being small and fuzzy. This act really sums up my life right now. It seems to have a mind of its own and I, for the first time, am letting it lead. What is that? Trust? Happiness? Believing that I will be not only ok, I will be awesome. And I guess that trust is now extending outward and touching others. Come aboard little chicks, you’re safe here with me.

A Full Day

July 5, 2011

Wow. I am all the way drained. Kaput.
That was a journey.
Hiking 7 miles of forest road and bush-wacked trail with an over-stuffed shoulder bag just to get to the festival was a day’s worth of effort and agony. And then there was the festival. How do I explain it? We entered the site over a log bridge, emerging from the trees into three large meadows edged with hip high leafy stalks. The sun was brilliant and we blindly followed the train of people heading toward the central May Pole. A large circle was forming and we joined hands to sing om and shriek with ecstasy. Except that we were totally overwhelmed and not quite ecstatic just yet. I couldn’t process all that I was seeing quickly enough and had resorted to just storing visual information for later. Eyes wide, jaw slack. People from every walk of life and most of them beautifully formed, naked bodies relieved of inhibitions swayed to the steady beat of drums, new relationships formed and dissolved, a smokey haze filled the valley, streamers whistled in the breeze, calls and chants and hugs, body paint, half-lidded eyes, glitter, and lost festival dogs in an endless obsessive search for their owners. We retreated to a crop circle of flattened leafy stalks and laid down, got stoned and began to integrate. Luke and I ventured out and found a village dedicated to Traditional West African Drumming. We entered through an archway of looped branches and vines to find… Eden. A lazy river wound its way around a central grassy island and a collection of drummers sent out a steady stream of beats. We left our personals with two women from an Eileen Fisher ad and started to dance. Stoned, dancing, Luke, people watching… yes I’m in heaven. I actually shouted “Everyone is so beautiful!” The Rainbow had finally touched me. And I got it and loved it and was able to lose myself in it.
Now I can’t find myself. Even after two cups of coffee and a salad. Too much journeying and you accidentally leave pieces behind.

Rainbow Gathering

July 4, 2011

I know someone from a small town in Ohio who describes the 4th like this: In the afternoon, he and his family left the house dressed head to toe in red, white and blue. His Mom carried a casserole, his sister a pie, and his Dad held two folding beach chairs. They greeted their neighbors in the street and began to walk together toward the pond. As they went families joined the progression until it seemed everyone in the little town had gathered at the pond. Adults sat in their folding chairs and enjoyed refreshments while the kids went swimming. Food and drink were plentiful. And if this were not enough, just after sunset, his Mom wrapped him in a huge towel and set him on his father’s lap for the fireworks show exploding over the water.
It was a day to love this country. And the country deserved it.

I want to feel that way. I want to love my country, and not just the uninhabited sections. And so this year I am going to the Rainbow Gathering! Perfect right?! It is being held in Washington about an hour from Portland. And on the final day, today, the entire festival of 20,000 people will join hands for a silent prayer for peace. Of course I am going for the people watching and frisbee tossing but I will also grasp the hand of my neighbor and silence my voice, my critique, my resistance to this American experience for one afternoon among the redwoods.

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