This Portland Design Project Puts Women's Faces On Garments and Furniture

Wild Woman will premiere part of its collection at luxury furniture store Roche Bobois on Thursday.

By Olivia Wolf November 12, 2019

Marcela Dyer and Laura Renée Maier.

Portland designer Marcela Dyer and roving textile artist Laura Renée Maier are partnering with French luxury furniture company Roche Bobois to showcase their collection of Wild Woman clothing and chairs, which sport portraits of women from around the world hand-cranked onto the fabric with Maier’s one-hundred year old sewing machine.

The idea for the female-focused project came after Dyer attended the 2017 Women’s March in Portland. She set out to begin what would become an international collaboration, intent on capturing the solidarity that she felt at the march.

The full, 12-piece collection will debut at New York Fashion Week in 2020, after which individual pieces will be auctioned off to raise money for the Mexican Society for Women’s Rights. Dyer, who originates from Mexico, has already revealed several pieces in Mexico City, San Luis Potosi, and Portland, alongside Portland Monthly’s own Eden Dawn during Design Week.

Although Dyer had never designed furniture before, when the Portland manager of Roche Bobois, who happened to be an admirer of Dyer’s work, reached out to her in the hopes of partnering with a local designer, she jumped on board.

“It wasn’t hard, because I do a lot of custom made-to-fit clothing,” she says of the transition from clothing to furniture. “So when I have a chair in my studio, I see it as an object that is also 3-D, and then I create my pattern. It’s a lot of math and precision.”

The chairs were crafted using sustainable pineapple fibers shipped from London, and their frames came from Italy, true to Roche Bobois’ European roots. Between the two of them, Dyer and Maier have spent a total of 285 hours hand-making the furniture.

In all, the event will feature six Wild Woman clothing pieces and two chairs, plus a performance by Canadian violinist Serena Eases. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will also be present, for those wanting to indulge in a bit of French flavor.

Roche Bobois x Wild Woman

Thursday, Nov 14, 6:30–9 p.m., Roche Bobois, 1025 SW Washington St

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