No matter the season, Laced With Romance, the now-shuttered vintage store on South First Street, was the ultimate one-stop shop for anyone looking to nail the Biker Witch look.
Entering the store, which was filled with artfully thrashed vintage garments, scattered bones and burning incense, was like walking into a sort of tough coven — think Motörhead meets Stevie Nicks.
But landlords can ruin a girl, so owner Stephanie Villalobos took the shop, which was born out of an eBay store, back to its origins this past July.
Those of us who mourned the loss of the brick and mortar took solace in the web store — until one day it, too, was gone.
Panic ensued. Where would we get our tie-dyed dusters? Our handmade top hats? Our ramshead rings?
We had to know: Was this the death knell of our beloved dark source? Were ‘90s floral dresses really going to win? So CultureMap got in touch with Stephanie at her new studio in South Austin, where we learned that, thankfully, things are moving full steam ahead.
"No lease, no store left me with the opportunity pursue Dust & Drag as a more serious line that would have the opportunity to be produced and distributed across the US and Europe." — Stephanie Villalobos
Stephanie Villalobos: I had honestly been thinking about closing the brick and mortar for the previous six months before our actual close, so I took our landlord’s decision not to renew our lease as a sign from the universe. My gut was right: No lease, no store now left me with the opportunity pursue Dust & Drag as a more serious line that would have the opportunity to be produced and distributed across the US and Europe.
Laced With Romance and the selling of vintage will always play a big role in what I do and continue to inspire my work, but I have always wanted to design full time and design legitimate seasonal collections.
CM: When did you launch Dust & Drag? Can you talk a little bit about the decision to begin creating your own pieces? You altered your vintage pieces for Laced, making them more modern — was it a natural extension of that process?
SV: Dust & Drag was launched in the fall of 2011, but I've been actively designing in one way or another since 1998, with my first fashion show in the fall of 2000. I am a self-taught designer, with little to no formal education. Everything I’ve learned has been through sheer determination, the experience of taking things apart and practice, practice, practice.
Before remaking vintage pieces, I did original design, so I would say the opposite occurred for me. I made original design, then moved into recreating vintage, then back to original design. The Laced clothing brand was a way to differentiate the remade vintage pieces from the original designs of Dust & Drag. In the beginning of D&D, both remade and original designs were blanketed under the same brand, and I thought that to be very confusing for the customers. I wanted for D&D to be a cohesive collection of designs that would one day be produced and distributed. A legitimate collection. Separating the one-off pieces was just one of the first steps.
CM: Let’s talk about the new direction for the line — tell me about these exclusive pieces that you created for Las Cruxes.
SV: We are experimenting with some new dye techniques and textures. My favorite piece is the jet latex silk chiffon top, where we combine our square draped silk chiffon top and add dripping latex across the shoulders. These are two textures you probably wouldn't expect to see married, but that's what I like most about it. Femininity, with a drop of sci-fi!