Like most in Middleburg, she was bitten by the horse bug, and indulged that passion for 20 years before returning – a mere six years ago – to fashion. She now designs day and evening wear for ladies and gentlemen near her Pigeon Hill Farm atelier in Berryville, less than one hour from Washington.
Wendy Pepper, Middleburg’s most known designer, gained national attention three years ago during the first season of Bravo cable channel’s “Project Runway.” She recently expanded her horizons with a ready-to-wear sportswear collection called Pretty World (her initials, W. P., reversed). “I’m using vibrant colors and punchy printed knits for sporty separates which can be combined to create individual looks or used to accent the perfect pair of jeans or evening skirt you already own,” she says.
She’s also making new pieces all the time and can frequently be found at her sewing machine at Mark Metzger’s Highcliffe Clothiers. The haberdashery, which offers custom designed suits and shirts for men, has recently relocated from the city to South Madison Street in Middleburg. And, as if all this work was not enough, Pepper continues her haute couture business from her studio in the village, by appointment only.
Troye Plaskitt has opened her new shoe salon, Nobel Nielson, on the other side of South Madison Street. After studying English Literature and theater at University of Virginia and traveling through Europe, she went off to work in New York City’s fashion industry.
Plaskitt first worked with Calvin Klein Classifications (later renamed Calvin Klein Classics) and later at Ralph Lauren Women’s Wear. However, “the commute from Middleburg was horrendous,” she says. She took a local job restoring furniture and also worked with Nancy Bedford and the latter’s Welsh ponies (Middleburg women and their horses are a constant). She worked in several shops in the village and eventually decided to start one of her own.
The several lines of classic shoes Plaskitt carries include the Italian-made Franchetti Bond (sturdy, handsome flats with accents of a snaffle bit, bamboo, or tassel). These elegant yet simple suede flats come in classic colors: cobalt blue, black, emerald green, bright red, and on and on. She discovered these shoes while strolling through Burlington Arcade in London and immediately tracked them to the source. She also tracked down Stephen Bonanno, the original cobbler of those well-known multi-colored Palm Beach sandals.
On a fashion spree in Middleburg, one can track down all types of places to indulge. Who knows, you might even spot a famous fashion plate like Luciana Pedraza, the stunning wife of actor Robert Duvall. “Fashion in Middleburg is timeless, it’s never too provocative,” designer Karen Ewbank concludes. “It always has taste. That’s very important around here.”