If you recently walked by High Country Boutique in downtown Lewisburg, you may have stopped and stared for a moment…or two. The dresses during Christmas and Valentine’s Day resembled something you would see on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. Did the boutique’s owner, Donna Toney purchase these magnificent dresses from the Christian Siriano Fall 2014 Collection? Not at all. Her daughter, Erica Hilton creates all of them by hand.
Having grown up in Lewisburg, Erica moved back 9 years ago from California for a quieter and safer style of life for her children. She started working at the boutique 8 years ago and her responsibilities include buying, window dressing, and visual merchandising. Over the holidays, Erica created “The Christmas Angel.” The mannequin’s dress was made of handmade guinea fowl feather corset and white shimmer tulle skirt with silver ribbon accents. She also had white feather angel wings with feather boa accents. It wore a Chan Luu necklace and wrap bracelets which is sold at the boutique. There was a second Christmas outfit, “The Cocktail Dress.” It was made of green garland and hidden faceted Christmas bulbs and was finished with a sparkle Christmas ribbon belt with bow and golden bird accent.
Erica’s Valentine’s dress was simply breathtaking. It was made of 928 faux red rose petals and mini rose accents. The shoes were made of red sparkle ribbon. The mannequin held a long stem rose, wore a Lenora Dame necklace from the boutique. She sewed together faux red roses and hung them from the ceiling for accents with crystal garlands.
How does Erica describe her art and what inspires her to make these incredible pieces? Find out with our Q&A:
1. How do you describe your palette?
I would describe my palette as eclectic. I love simplicity and neutrals and then bold and brights. The mix of old and new is one of my favorites.
2. What’s your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishments are my two sons, Diesel and Bodi. I also love making people smile when they look at something I created.
3. What obstacles do you need to overcome to find your creative space/muse?
I don’t have any creative obstacles. I get an idea in my head and just go for it! They always take a few twists and turns but turn out exactly what I imagined. It’s so exciting to see them come to life!
4. How do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from Life! Flowers, trees, people, and events that happen. There is something inspiring in everything you see and everyone you meet.
5. What advice do you have for other artists?
Every artist is so unique and amazing at what they create. I don’t feel like I could give them any advice. I follow my heart and imagination.
6. What do you have planned for upcoming displays?
That’s a surprise! Throughout 2015, you will find seasonal themes to go with all of our beautiful clothing and jewelry.
7. How long have you been making the High Country displays?
I’ve been creating the displays at High Country for 3 years. I started making paper dresses every year for the Lewisburg Literary Festival, held August 7th and 8th 2015, and it has evolved since then.
8. What is your favorite design so far and why?
I love each and every design equally. They are so exciting to create and all have their own story to tell.
9. Is your work for sale?
My creations are not for sale. I am frequently asked to sell them but art doesn’t always need to be created for a price. I make them for everyone to enjoy!
Visit Erica at High Country the next time you want to feel inspired with downtown couture. She may have her next creation in the window! This special boutique includes an attractive collection of functional women’s clothing with an artistic flare. There’s also art, fine crafts, jewelry, and home accessories. The selection of scarves, jackets, and antique African beads are ever changing. It is located at 122 W. Washington St. in downtown Lewisburg, WV. Spring hours are Monday-Saturday from 11- 5pm. During the summer the boutique is open Sundays from 12-4pm. For more information, visit highcountrylewisburg.com and/or call 304-645-5222.
Since interviewing Erica, she has displayed her latest creation in the window…
Beautiful Spring Flowers! Follow Erica’s fabulous work on Facebook @HighCountryBoutique
– LBSPY #63. March 2015.