- Tracy Potter Opheim
Woodstock is a town known for preserving the culture, attitude, and style of a bygone era. Artisan’s Garden, a new boutique just off the village’s busy Tinker Street, does just that in a sense—but takes it back further than the Summer of Love by offering vintage threads and handmade 1940s-inspired couture and bridal dresses.
“There’s a timelessness to this type of fashion; it’s very feminine,” says shop owner Lisette Lux. Though she’s relatively new to Woodstock, Lux is no stranger to the fashion world. Born in Germany, the daughter of a diplomat, Lux was trained in haute couture design around Europe. She opened her first clothing boutique with a partner in Stockholm in 1975, and later had shops in Santa Cruz then Houston; her high-end gowns sold for upwards of $15,000.
- Stacy Fine
“Then I quit, left behind the drama of the haute couture industry, and returned to Europe,” she says, where she remained until she found out her daughter in New York was having a baby. That’s when she moved to Woodstock and decided to open a store. “I knew the clothes needed to be more approachable than what I’d done in the past, but I still wanted to make pretty things,” she said. “I wasn’t going to start making ponchos just because it works for other shops.”
Artisan’s Garden is a co-op of sorts, offering wares from various local vendors including art prints, hats, and handmade jewelry. There’s an entire back room featuring home décor and functional art made from reclaimed and found materials. A headboard, for instance, depicts mountains in shades of blue and green against a brown backdrop—each color a mosaic piece of reclaimed barnwood.
- Stacy Fine
But the shop’s main offering is what Lux calls “1940s-meets-Bohemian luxury.” Though she sells some casual and evening dresses in the $150-$200 range, you’ll also find glamorous designs like a dramatic black gown with beaded dragonflies across its sheer chest and back that took four months to make.
Another, the Poetry Dress, features the text of Sylvia Plath’s “Mad Girl’s Love Song” hand-stitched in black on strips of sheer white fabric, laid across its bodice, and adorning the skirt of the dress. “I was angry—you know, relationship stuff,” she says, casually, of what inspired the design. Lux is modest when talking about her creations—an artist more than a salesperson, who shares stories but otherwise allows each piece to speak for itself.
- Stacy Fine
One corner of the store displays bridal dresses, including an elegant, blush-hued gown with cascading crystals and soft feathers along the bottom trim. “This is a vintage dress I’d sell in the ’70s in LA. Stevie Nicks has one, so I guess it’s cool,” she shrugs. In another section, you’ll find shirts and jackets for women and men tailored for flattering fits, including a burgundy brocade jacket that exemplifies the 1940s-inspired look and a black velvet knee-length duster with brooch front-closure that’s more Bohemian (and actually, a bit Stevie Nicks).
“Haute couture is a lost art, so I made a more approachable version of it,” she says. “I opened the store as a reason to keep myself creating. I need to create. I can’t stop.”