Ports 1961 established in Toronto back in 1961 by founder Luke Tanabe, and now has become a global fashion house that is hugely popular in Asia and Europe. In early 2013 the company had closed the doors to their famous Bloor Street store, and now have returned in the Greater Toronto Area with their Toronto Premium Outlet location. The beauty of the outlet is that you can find pieces from several Ports collections at an amazing price.
On the Friday March 21st, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to collaborate with the iconic brand on styling and merchandising their store. The theme both myself and the Ports team kept in mind was to show their styles to really match the transition from winter to spring. Considering we are in the transitional mode with Canadian weather and that it is still cold, we chose items that could be worn throughout spring but that can be worn with layers in winter as well. So for the outer display we used the colour combination of navy, white, black, gold and a bright green.
The Outer Display
The key piece that really inspired the tone for the whole display story was a navy vest fur on it. The fur had the rich green, blue, grey and black tones in it. For this outfit I added a simple white pant, a grey tank top to cool the outfit down and also to make it more springy. Then to glam it up I added the gold belt. As you will see with the next looks there will be a trace of all of the colours or contrasting colours to the tones used in this look.
For this look I tried to continue every colour that was used in the first look, but in a completely different way. The top actually is asymmetrical and very flowy on its own, but I wanted a more structured look to balance out the dress from outfit 3. So I used this beautiful asymmetric pencil skirt in navy, and added a little bag to pull the look together. What I also love about the top is that it has the cowl neckline which would look great under any jacket or blazer.
Outfit number 3 was purposely made minimalist because I wanted to make a balance of the full front display, including a continuation for the gowns in outfit 4 & 5. The dress we used is the perfect spring summer dress, it is very light and flowy. To make this outfit pop, we used the wooden clutch to make it interesting, and to add a conversation piece.
Look 4 & 5
Outfit 4 was a super easy choice because it really did have every element we had used before. I loved the print on this gown and the long sleeves changed up all the balance of all of the others looks shown before that had no sleeves. Let’s not forget how great Drew Barrymore looked in the print.
Look 5 was the last outer display look, and we used the long navy gown to balance out the print from the gown next to it. Also it continue on the gold, I added the belt on it just to break it up and make it less plain. I love tastefully cut slit on the dress, to make it look bolder.
For the outfits that were done inside the store, I wanted to continue the theme to an extent from the outside, but also break away from it as you continued into the store by using contrasting colours. But there is a sense of continuation throughout that really did look effortless but took a lot of thought.
Look 6 & 7
The mustard dress was picked by Ports Manager, Denae Johnston. I loved the contrast between the navy used in the front and this colour, as well as the fit of the dress itself. The next outfit we picked was with a beautiful cashmere coat, hounds-tooth printed pants, which actually even have an ombre effect, and underneath we neutralized it with an off-white short-sleeve sweater.
Look 8 & 9
The last two looks completed the new colour palette that we selected for the interior outfits. In look 8 we paired a two piece blouse and pant which I loved from the beginning. It also neutralized the interior outfits and balanced out the boldness of colours and prints used on the surrounding mannequins. The last look to me is the perfect tunic dress. The colours worked perfectly with all of the interior outfits and the detailing on the dress was magnificent. I loved the contrast of the damask-eque print with the disheveled dot print on the border.
Overall the experience of merchandising for Ports 1961 was great. I learned a lot more about the brand and really grew to appreciate the detailing and quality in each item. The team really made this experience amazing and gave great direction and feedback. A special shoutout to the Ports Team members that helped me with the collaboration: Adil, Connie, & Denae!
I hope you all enjoyed reading about my collaboration with Ports!
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