by Rabia Ahmad
Flannel and Birkenstocks might be a staple for some north westerners, but with plenty of New Yorkers, Californians, and other urbanites migrating here for the good wine and boundless greenery, locals are starting to trade in their sandals for Sigersons. And a handful of chic boutiques in downtown Portland, Oregon, are helping to ease the transition.
Around the bend from Powell's Bookstore in Portland's new offbeat West End neighborhood sits the recently settled Odessa. Owner, Susan Tompkins first opened the local favorite ten years ago off the beaten path in an area, which was then, vacant lots and warehouses, and is now the flourishing Pearl District. In search of a more urban Portland, Tompkins uprooted her store and transformed it from a glossy minimalist shop to an eclectic old-world boutique for fashion-forward Oregonians.
Though the location and vibe of the store has changed, the exquisite apparel is still the main attraction. Odessa is one, if not arguably the first, of a few boutiques in Portland to carry a wide array of independent designers. Here, Tompkins has stocked choice pieces by Mayle, Daryl K, Cacharel, and Loomstate alongside local designer Anna Cohen, whose blouses, skirts, and trousers are described by Tompkins as "organic with an Italian street-wear" look. Not just limited to clothing, Odessa also offers Kerry Cassill bedding fashioned from Indian linens with dual pattern prints displaying rich florals with stripes in muted tones. Among Tompkins must-haves for fall, she adores Daryl K's kimono jacket. "It has a sexy fit and you can throw it on over anything and still look put together." No doubt the perfect complement to a pair of Birks or stilettos.
Odessa is located at 410 SW 13th Avenue, Portland, OR; 503-223-1998
A new shop in Portland's West End brings some urban edge to the Pacific Northwest.