Photography by: Bobby Scheidemann
Do you need the perfect men’s band t-shirt for this weekend’s Austin Psych Fest? Or maybe an artisan-crafted necklace that speaks more to your primitive side? Austin-based boutique Laced With Romance has you covered.
Down a short way from the Lake on South First, this up-and-coming vintage apparel store is tucked in between a pipe shop and a custom auto parts shop with plenty of treasures for men and women inside. Formerly a successful eBay-exclusive store, this is Laced With Romance’s brick-and-mortar counterpart, open since October 2009.
Walking through its doors and their black-laced curtains, the air of the place is somewhere between vintage and ultra-cool, brought about by the newest iteration of Stephanie Villalobos-Fellabaum’s chic selection of apparel and accessories. And the selection here certainly is unique—not your average dusty attic.
Inside, customers are greeted by a stuffed hyena wearing a top hap—a rare 19th Century medicine man top hat, refurbished and re-lined by a local artist. But the biggest thing that sets Laced With Romance apart from the pack is its own in-house label, Dust & Drag. You’ll see its racks lined with see-through dresses, gauzy robes and hand-died silk batwing tunics made with techniques that you won’t find anywhere else. The effect is a seemingly impossible collision of Southwestern prints and draping with Steampunk and bohemian vintage.
All of Dust & Drag is handcrafted or edited by Villalobos-Fellabaum and her “sewmate,” Bekah DuBose. “We love creating something new, and like to put that out for the world to see and give people new ideas on things they may have seen before. But now it’s going to take a whole new life, and it’s going to be modernized,” explains DuBose.
Along with their select vintage finds and in-house clothing line, the ladies at Laced With Romance have created a partnership with artisan jeweler Rima Hyena. Her jewelry line, Rima Hyena and Children of the Bright Coming Day, can only be found at Laced With Romance, inside an antique casing decorated with deer antlers, a beaver skull and other various animal bones.
Inspired by ancient alchemical symbolism, old shamanic adornment and ancient cultures, Hyena’s assortment of bronze talismans, leather pouches and silver rings are a manifestation of her odd interests. “I’ve always been into self-adornment, and I’m as curious as a magpie,” says Hyena. “I have a collection of everything from dead things to alive things – just everywhere!”
Dead or alive, the store is brimming with creative energies. The style is as attractive as it is unusual, and Austin’s fashionitas seem to agree. The Laced With Romance website features their featured available styles, and virtually every piece sells out immediately.
If you want to see their work for yourself, Laced With Romance and their artists will be represented at Austin Psych Fest’s summer party, live at The Mohwak this Friday, Aug 12.