THE LAST TIME I saw clothing designed by Rachel Ancliffe was when she was selling the dead stock of Charles and Victoria. A high-end line she'd been commissioned to design just before the bottom fell out of the economy, she was selling the lovely silk party dresses and smart separates for a song at one of the city's holiday pop-up shops circa 2009.
In the meantime, Ancliffe has been working for the big sportswear companies, dabbling in her own projects in the studio, trying to stoke her creativity. Eventually that dabbling turned into the Ancliffe Collection, which is being featured at another weekend-long pop-up shop, one of the only chances to get your hands on the latest from the veteran designer.
"This line is much more basics driven," says Ancliffe, who chose to focus on relatively simple but "modernized and fashionable" shapes in nice fabrics, like the perfect pair of cigarette trousers in a range of colors and one hand-dyed pattern. "The idea is that they layer," Ancliffe says, "or you buy one item and it integrates with everything in your wardrobe." It looks like more, but the limited-edition collection is only 10 pieces, and while Ancliffe is conscious of the interest in locally produced apparel, she decided to take advantage of a unique relationship she has with the owner of a small sample room in China, where a small batch of the collection was produced for her that met her desire for "premium quality."
"I'm really picky and I want my stuff to be really perfect, and I haven't found anyone locally who can do the silk," Ancliffe explains. "I could have it made in New York, but their minimums are too high." Besides, she says of her Chinese partner, "He's trustworthy and wonderful, and I know how he runs his factory... it's handmade by skilled people who are making a living wage."
With the idea that it's helpful to be able to shop for clothing and accessories under the same roof, Ancliffe is pairing her clothing with ABCoLab jewelry and the shoes of host Halo, with personal stylist Scarlet Chamberlin also presiding over the affair. With just a few quickly selling Ancliffe Collection pieces in store at Una, this may be your only chance to try the line out in the immediate future. Ancliffe Collection pop-up at Halo Shoes, 938 NW Everett, Fri-Sat 11 am-6 pm, Sun noon-5 pm
The Portland Flea has enjoyed several expansions over the past year or so, both in location and frequency. The latest feather in its cap is a new monthly collaboration with Rejuvenation called "Sunday Emporium." Look for the craftsmanship and vintage charm you've come to expect from the Flea, with an added focus on home beautification. Rejuvenation, 1100 SE Grand, last Sundays starting Sun June 29, 11 am-5 pm.