This Summer We Swim


Well, hello there, Summer! The raspberries are so ripe they are falling off the cane. Neighbors gather and leisurely enjoy them while catching up on the local summer happenings. I’m picking shirt-fulls of strawberries every morning from my berry patch, each one dewy and sweet. We have swung fully into summer mode: beers on porches, happy hour on sunny patios, punk shows at book stores, and riding our bikes everywhere. There is a lot to celebrate this summer. Notably, this is the summer that we begin swimming in the Willamette. I’m not sure how quickly Portland culture will be transformed or in what direction this might lead us, but it feels big.

For years we were told that the gentle, beautiful waterway that bisects our town was too polluted to swim in. On hot summer nights we would ride our bikes across the Steel Bridge allowing the upriver breeze to cool us. Who didn’t want to wash away the summer sweat with a quick plunge from the banks? We all longed for moonlit skinny-dips or splashy romps at Cathedral Park with our friends. While riding along the Springwater corridor I imagined myself swimming bravely out to Ross Island.

Our city that works has completed the Big Pipe Project keeping those pollutants that once fouled the waters during heavy rains out of the Willamette and the Department of Environmental Quality has proclaimed the river to be safe for swimming. To celebrate and spread the word, the good people at The Human Access Project are inviting us to swim and float with them on July 27th. I can’t wait to see fellow Portlanders launch canoes, inner tubes, and rafts from Poet’s Beach. Whether you find us there, at Hawthorn Cove, Cathedral Park or the secret Swan Island spot, if you are swimming with us, you are diving into a new Portland culture.
– E. F.

Summertime at Flutter.

Good afternoon! This is Summer, your new summertime Sunday shopgirl (I do like the way that sounds.) I must say, I am thoroughly enjoying spending my weekend time in Flutter, surrounded by lovely oddities, gorgeous dresses, and intoxicating scents. And of course, having long conversations with King the shop-cat… he has quite the nightlife when the lights in the store go out, believe me. The tales are epic!

First I’d like to share some photos I have been taking during my time at the shop. I love taking pictures, and Flutter seems to be the perfect place for inspiration, even if just snapped on my iPhone…

Ah, a lovely place to be. And now, some of my favorite new (non-vintage) items I have been absolutely loving (all currently available at Flutter):

1. Tokyomilk’s Dark Bittersweet perfume- one of the best smells ever. There’s nothing quite like smelling as if you’ve been endulging in the finest dark chocolate.

2. The beloved frog prince bottle opener. He just makes me smile.

3. These dried bugs in glass paperweights are both a little eerie and breathtaking.

4. The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite has been fabulous to flip through while at the register. Did you know crickets used to be prized pets and champagne manufacturing was once a very dangerous occupation due to bottles exploding?

5. Another Tokyomilk product I am loving: Kabuki shea butter lotion. It smells like sugared citrus fruit and jasmine flowers and leaves your hands soft as silk.

6. Photobooth Dogs. Dogs. In photobooths. Need I say more?

7. I want to take these alphabet discs and hang banners all around my house of fanciful words.

8. I love all the masks we have in the store, but for some reason, this bear is my favorite. His face reminds me of old drawings from The Three Little Bears. This would make a mighty fine photobooth prop.

See you next week, for a summertime circus post! Au Revoir!

o summer, we hardly knew ye

Summer’s end is celebratory here at Flutter. We’ve all come back from our various junkets refreshed and inspired, eager to push up our sleeves and get something DONE. Like Aphrodite’s yearly dive into the Ionian Sea, summer vacation has renewed our enthusiasm and now we are unstoppable. Cindy and Kalaisha spent a hearty couple of days bringing in all of the glorious bits and pieces they have been hinting about on Facebook. Kalaisha is perfecly suited to her new position as co-chair of Flutter, Inc. Her sensibilities match and flatter Cindy’s, and the store this afternoon looks great in that special way that it always does right after a big re-arrange, before all the incredible velvet couches and lush mohair armchairs get snatched up. Their artistic intention is displayed to full effect, colors juxtaposing with just the right amount of cheek and class. It’s like dressing a set of a dramatic, romantic play, but with price tags. I asked Cindy if she felt a little sad, setting the stage so carefully and having it dismantled a little bit every day. She said: No silly that’s the point! And so, like a Navajo sand painting, Flutter exists preciously, naked to ravaging punters and savvy vintage junkies. Cindy and Kalaisha had more practice set dressing while working on the Builders and the Butchers video with Alicia Rose this summer. Look at this!!

The Builders and the Butchers “Golden and Green” from What Rabbit on Vimeo.

People have been noticing Flutter’s good looks lately, and posting flattering pictures in their blogs, like VINTAGE INDIE, JUNKER JANE, SHOP VINTAGE PORTLAND and my personal favorite A SHIMMERING GO-BETWEEN.

This weekend I made like the masses and drove out to Sauvie Island (as an aside, I figured out why so many people call it Souvies Island: apparently it was renamed Souvies in the 1850s but the name never was committed to print, and lives on only in Portland vernacular). It was super crowded out there, but gorgeous and clear-skied. The textures of the rolling fields, with their rows of berries and sprawling pumpkins, were best viewed from the tractor-pulled hay ride. I bought some little cucumbers for pickling and some dark red apples that are crisp white inside, delicious fairy-tale apples.
Last week I had a customer ask me to show her around the perfumes of Flutter. She said she was a little obsessed with perfume, so I asked her what fragrances she liked. She looked me in the eye and said “leather”, so I steered her away from the “fleurs petillant” and towards the wonderful Amber by Cote Bastide. It smells like an oak whiskey barrel full of oily black vanilla pods. We talked about Chandler Burr, the brilliant perfume writer for the New York Times, and physicist/critic Luca Turin, subject of Burr’s book “the Emperor of Scent”. Both of them write volumes about perfumes and the heady cloud of culture and innuendo surrounding them. I tend to agree with them about 60% of the time, and they have turned me on to some amazing olfactory works of art, yet they are generally unimpressed by one of my favorite scents, Samsara by Guerlain. Turin said it was “more notable for its absence of faults than for its qualities”. He just hasn’t smelled it on me yet. Anyone who hasn’t been to the Perfume House on Hawthorne should make a trip down there and just smell for hours. Don’t spray one on yourself until you find one that’s just right, and then ask the kind people there if they can make a little tester of it for you. Last time I was in there I got a sample of the pink hand-grenade Agent Provocateur perfume, and the amber by Prada. Any of the Guerlain fragrances are transformative, they sit in these gilded bottles like a row of archetypical femininity; like the greek goddesses. Jardins de Bagatelle is like Diana, woodsy and floral. Mitsouko is like Aphrodite, obscenely perfect rose and peach. I think Samsara would be like Hera: overly sensual and heady, demanding, maybe a little needy. Hmm.