The Cuckoo's Dress

Once upon a time I posted a blog entitled The Cuckoo's Nest: A History of Portland's Original Bohemian Boutique in which I presented stories and images from the glory days of what was undoubtedly the hippest little shop ever to produce unique handmade clothing.

As I reported there, the owner and visionary behind the boutique, Julie Safley, and I developed a cherished camaraderie through our communication concerning The Cuckoo's Nest. Julie now runs an Alpaca farm just outside of Portland where she produces fabulously luxuriant alpaca fibers.
Of the many wonderful and unexpected gifts to come out of this friendship was a package of eight glorious alpaca fiber and Pima cotton dresses...
Four of them are monochromatic (pink, blue, light olive green, and nude), very fitted and flattering, mermaid cut beauties...
And the other four are absolutely gorgeous and utterly unique dresses made of a perfectly blended synthesis of colors, materials, and patterns, each in its own special cut. These dresses were based on original Cuckoo's Nest patterns from the 70s (!), and their bohemian spirit shines brightly through.
Each of the garments is a sensual delight to wear. They are all lined in silky satin and are made of spectacularly well woven material from truly luscious natural materials.
These pieces were made in 1990 for a fashion show and have been awaiting their chance to reappear in public and find a loving home ever since...
And now their time has come. By the end of the week, quite likely sooner, each of these pieces will be listed in the shop.
Thank you Julie, thank you original Cuckoo's Nest designers and seamstresses, and thank you alpacas for giving me the opportunity to present these very, very special dresses to the world.

Inside The Cuckoo's Nest

As promised, the follow up to my most popular blog ever- The Cuckoo's Nest: Portland's Original Bohemian Boutique. These shots were taken in the early 70s and feature different spaces inside the shop as well as some more of the folks involved.

Oh, and awesome news! Julie's friend James Kiehle is now working on a book about The Cuckoo's Nest :-)

The famous men's Western shirts handmade by Georgia Drummond.

I'll take that one and that one and that one and that one...

Susie Carlson pretties up the racks.

The entrance.

The home of Bill & Sam (named after the Naito brothers- see original post).

John Stockert arranging flowers.

Four of the shop's seamstresses.

Georgia Drummond, head seamstress.

Jody Sterne, Marilyn Thompson, and Susie Carlton have fun with Raggedy Ann.

Jody behind the register.

Ric Young sketching a design. He is now, as Julie says, "designing costumes and directing Storefront Theatre productions for angels".

Ric and Jody being fabulous.

Robin Chilstrom, personal seamstress to Ric.

Leather craftsman Rik Ehmann.

The Native American jewelry booth.

The shop stocked a large inventory of jewelry made by the Hopi, Zuni, and Navajo tribes.

All the rest of the jewelry was handcrafted by local artists, one of whom was Dyke Vandenburgh who now owns a beautiful jewelry store in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Handmade pottery by the late Joel Cotett of Portland and Michael Zametkin of Astoria.

The natural foods cafe, managed by Susie Carlton. As with the other hand carved signs, this one (missing the "i" in juice!) was made by Roger McKay.

The menu. Julie recalls that the most expensive item was an avocado, sharp cheddar cheese, tomato and sprout sandwich on wholegrain bread for 85 cents.

There were private dining booths which were wallpapered in antique sheet music. Julie says that customers would spend hours inside.

The natural cosmetic and body bar where customers would bring their own containers and buy in bulk (Julie was so ahead of her time!).

Nooks and crannies in the natural body care section.

Okay and I still have one more Cuckoo's Nest blog to post, all about the musician associated with the shop and some of the AMAZING posters and marketing images they created!