Longtime WW staffer and fashionable woman about town Andrea Manning was happy to brave H&M's sneak preview last night on the newspaper's behalf. You should see how cute she looks today.
"So there's not going to be celebrities?" asks the college-aged girl camped out outside the new H&M downtown.
Literally camped out—tent and everything. "Maybe" hedges the euro-sleek security guy. When I ask inside about the possibility of celebrities turning out for the private opening I'm told, "Well, the mayor is coming."
Last night H&M debuted its 207th store in the US—right here in Portland.
I have to admit that when Saks opened here earlier this decade, I thought that had finally signaled that Portland had Made It. As a Big City. Well, that mausoleum of rich old lady clothes never really took off.
This is a young city, and H&M is coming in screaming and ready for a party. DJ Sterling has been flown in straight from London (kiss kiss, darling), hors d'oeuvre are catered from the likes of Bluehour, Broder, Saucebox, Voodoo Doughnuts and Cupcake Jones.
Plenty of excited women with armloads of clothes and older men with slicked back hair are browsing the racks. Do you want to do the military look? Nautical? Tribal? '80s revival? German techno? Animal prints? Secretary? They've got it all, and at a price cheap enough to keep you coming back month after month (I even spotted buy-one-get-one-free sweaters). Or maybe even week after week. This time of year there are a lot of acrylic sheep being sheared for their winter sweaters and plenty of faux-fur trapper hats, earmuffs and mittens. They've got you covered from your rhinestone accessories to your pleather booties or fake-Uggs. They've got dresses for every type of holiday party—fancy, fake-fancy, or drunken slutty.
Our H&M is a "full concept" store, meaning that we get everything: women's, men's, kids and maternity.
Their kid's collection is welcome in a town where the only inexpensive option is Old Navy or Target. They have everything from cool Japanese-style denim to Elmo sweatshirts and princess dresses at prices from $4.95 to around 30 bucks). They've hired 40 local employees, which doesn't cover the 100 jobs that were lost when Saks closed, but it's something.
H&M clothes are known for being fashion forward, trendy, and inexpensive. Their ad campaigns showcase their best looking stuff on beautiful Euro-models. You may have to dig a bit through their vast offerings, but there is something for everyone here. Walking through the three floors where Saks Men used to be a ghost town, the sales floor is now teeming with excited H&M fans and friendly salespeople, music thumping. It's not local, but this is more Portland's style. Welcome to town.
GO: H&M Portland is located at 340 SW Morrison St., 241-0257. Open 10 am- 8pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am-6 pm Sunday.
H&M shoppers camping out (background) and possibly Portland Mercury reporter Sarah Mirk (foreground) at Wednesday night's sneak preview.