Town and Country

Handmade’s Tale

Seattle-by-way-of-Brazil shoe designer Carolina Pagano

January 15, 2009

Here’s a bit of gray area for you: It seems like lately I’ve been meeting Seattle-based designers whose goods are fabricated by hand, in a really meaningful way, but also far, far away—-for example, in Brazil. Can we call that local? Not exactly, no.

But these kinds of products—like Carolina Pagano’s sweetly chic shoes, designed by the Brazilian-born Seattleite, made by hand by artisan cobblers in her home country, and offered exclusively at Bellevue’s tony Posh on Main, might be called close enough. Considering that, as far as I know, we’ve no collective (the word ‘factory’ has taken on such a distasteful pallor, no?) of artisan cobblers here in Seattle, would the neutral-meets-nice-but-naughty (imagine them with cuffed boyfriend jeans and a plain white tee on Saturday morning in June) skimmer pictured here be fair game in terms of my "new year’s resolution to purchase only American clothing and accessories?":

I met with Carolina yesterday at Posh, and we talked about the culture shock of moving to Seattle, how she simply has to buy her bikinis back home because the ones here provide too much coverage, Michael Pollan’s stint on KUOW that morning, and, at length, the incredible intricacies of designing and implementing handmade footwear. Even Angela, the glamorous owner of Posh, was listening in; a finer primer on footwear fabrication you would probably have to pay for at your nearest trade school.

I came away feeling that, by virtue of the fact that Carolina lives, works, and spends her dollars here in Seattle, and because she contracts artisan fabricators and furthers the idea of old-world methods in this not-always-brave new world of ours, we can call them close enough. Posh has eight styles from Carolina’s spring/summer collection, and pre-fall and fall styles will follow.

Oh, and this was funny: Carolina very sweetly complimented my outfit and suggested somewhat urgently that I start a blog and post pictures of what I’m wearing each day. I told her that in fact I had just started a blog, and suggested she read Tuesday’s post on it. I’m telling you, that me-style thing is in the air. And, well, I did concede to posting a few pics of the new-to-me vintage coat I rescued from a Salvation Army in Federal Way in the final days of ‘08, because it truly is amazing. I’ll do that as soon as I overcome my fear of naval gazing and narcissism…

(Image from Carolina Pagano)

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