Jonathan Adler is here. Does this mean we’ve arrived? Is Portland cool now? Or is this the end of our heyday of cool, the death of our homespun, follow-our-own drummer, D.I.Y. culture? Probably a bit of all of the above. Whatever the implications for Portland, it’s a fact: Jonathan Adler has opened up a store in the Pearl District.
He’s a national retailer (and TV personality), and this is his 21st store. So what does his opening a sleek, 2600 square foot store mean for Portland’s smaller makers and indie, mini shops? My bet is (and I hope I’m right): the more the merrier.
A design district is a destination for locals and out-of-towners alike, and the Pearl (with its across-Burnside buddy, the West End district) is itself a destination in part because it’s home to so many design stores and firms. Like attracts like, and as the Pearl becomes stronger as a design hot spot, one can argue (and hope) that its strength bolsters other, slightly different design districts in Portland as well, like NW 19th and Lovejoy or the Central Eastside.
Adler opened his first store in 1998, in SoHo – long after that part of New York had converted from artsy grit to retail glam, and from marginal to mainstream. So it’s equally fitting that Adler has opened his latest retail outpost in our city’s clean-cut, deliberately planned, 21st century version of the SoHo warehouse/loft district. His witty, bright, and bold home goods will be at home here, and should reach a broad audience.
You probably already know Jonathan Adler, from shelter mags and for being half of a top flight style maven team (he’s been married since 2008 to Simon Doonan, the fashion writer and longtime Barney’s New York creative director). He is a first-rank trendspotter and trendsetter who started as a ceramist, i.e., someone who makes pottery.
But not pottery as in Pottery Barn or bumpy, brown clay things. Adler items have a visual style that plays gleefully off 1960s and ‘70s kitsch, adhering loosely to a Lilly Pulitzer/Papagallo version of tastefulness (bright, bold, preppie), and not taking itself too seriously. The company motto is “happy chic.” It should be a natural fit in Puddletown.
1165 NW Everett St.
Portland, OR 97209
Sun 11am - 5pm