Photography Choiyee Wong | Hair/Make-Up Heidi Gravier
MODELS Shannah Dibb | Kendall Schuler | Elizabeth Nguyen

Christiane Millinger

From my earliest age I have enjoyed fabrics, wool, interior beauty and human behavior within beautiful environments. I also benefited from a very tight-knit community in my childhood. While Portland is bigger, it still is a wonderfully connected community. Over the past 25 years I have enjoyed incredible connections to people in Portland, working so closely with them trying to express their version of beauty and joy in their homes. Some families I am honored to work with are 3rd generation now. Since I am never short on an aesthetic opinion or an historic anecdote about rugs, it has been and continues to be a remarkably joyful journey.
Instagram: christianemillinger

Sonia Kasparian

I’ve been a designer for over 33 years. I’ve worked for some pretty major companies building brands and expanding markets, which was great fun for the most part and allowed me to use the business side of my brain. But for the last eight years or so I have been making bespoke couture which is artistry, and my true love, out of my home base of Portland, Oregon.

My process of building is almost exclusively draping. That means I work 3-Dimensionally on either a tailoring form, or on my clients’ own bodies. This gives me a fit and aesthetic that simply cannot be achieved through a flat pattern drafted garment. Each piece I create is one of a kind, and non-reproduced.

My clients come from all over the nation, and contract me to design garments for galas, red carpet events, and for their own weddings. They find me through either word of mouth, referrals, having seen my work in stores from back when I used to keep a small retail presence, or through randomly finding me. I work with them both remotely, and also through their coming into town for fittings.

I’m also a sculptor and an incredibly detail and process oriented person by nature, so couture is a perfect fit for me. I also like the process and challenge of working directly with clients, and creating one of a kind pieces, which would be much more of a challenge if I did not have amazing, inventive, and wonderful clients. I feel very fortunate to be able to live here in Portland in this beautiful place, and be part of this amazing vibrant, creative and supportive community.

There are, of course, challenges choosing to be a bespoke couture designer here as opposed to a major city where there would be a much larger clientele for my work. There would be many more high-profile functions, and resources to find local materials and at lower prices. But the benefits of designing in Portland far outweigh the challenges.

URCHIN: Re-Design Couture, vintage re-created from heirloom fabrics, ephemera, flotsam and jetsam.
Instagram: soniakasparian_urchin

Nature: by Wool & Silk
6′ x 9′
Handwoven in Nepal

Waterlily No. 12: by Rug Star
9′ x 12′
Silk and Wool
Handwoven in Rajasthan

Sliced Agate Blue: by Jan Kath
8′ x 10′
Handwoven in Nepal

Mameluk No. 03 Original: by Rug Star
8’4″ x 9’11”
Silk and Wool
Handwoven in Rajasthan

Spot Supreme No. 4: by Rug Star
9′ x 12′
Handwoven in Rajasthan

Mono Supreme: by Rug Star
8’10” x 11’10”
Silk and Wool
Handwoven in Nepal

Eden Grasshopper: by Rug Star
5’7″ x 8’8″
Handwoven in Nepal

About The Author: Editor

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