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Round Top Magic

A Working Weekend to Texas’ Antiques Mecca Inspires a New Fashion Line

BY // 09.26.16
photography Hunter Bell

After moving her life and her fashion brand from New York to Houston, designer Hunter Bell decamped to Round Top to seek inspiration for her fall collection. Here, she shares the details of her weekend with PaperCity

After reading PaperCity’s special section last September describing the charming town of Round Top, I decided it was going to be my next weekend destination — not only as a family getaway from Houston, but as inspiration for my Fall 2016 collection. On a weekend in October, we arrived in Round Top.

FAMILY TIES

Hunter Bell
Hunter Bell

My husband’s great grandmother was Hazel G. Ledbetter (1902–1992), an avid collector and close friend of Miss Ima Hogg, both pillars of Round Top and Winedale preservation. Hazel was attracted to Round Top’s rural setting as a fertile field for real estate sales to urbanites seeking retreats.

In 1961, she bought the old Wagner House (circa 1934–1848) and soon convinced Miss Ima to buy it from her and restore it, which sparked Ima Hogg’s creation of Winedale Historical Complex. Hazel also donated the Koenig house, circa 1855, to Winedale in 1965; it’s now known as Hazel’s Lone Oak Cottage. Winedale Historical was founded by Hogg and is a collection of 19th-century structures and their period furnishings situated on 225 acres in northern Fayette Country. Hazel was awarded the Ima Hogg Award for her restoration work in Round Top posthumously in 1993.

VINTAGE ROUND TOP

Before any trip, I do my research and opt to stay at places with a great aesthetic. The Vintage Round Top seemed to be overflowing with character, and I called the owner, Paige Hull. We chatted about the history of the area, and our shared appreciation for design. During our stay, I formed a personal relationship with Paige and her husband, Smoot Hull, and I hope to rent their picturesque home again.

DAILY ROUTINE

I made it a tradition to go to Royer’s Pie Haven for pastries and coffee each morning before exploring the town. Some of my favorite discoveries were Bybee Square, Henkel Square Market, The Round Top Festival Institute, and Winedale, of course, with the family connection.

TRANSLATION TO THE COLLECTION

From a stone building to a simple quote etched into a rustic piece of tin, Round Top is overflowing with inspiration. Bybee Square served as a primary source of influence; the combination of stone, rustic metal, and deep-red wood inspired one of my favorite fabrics for my fall collection — it mimics the town’s colors and boxy architectural design.

I also felt a connection to the strong historical influence women had on the area. Inside Royer’s Pie Haven is a quote on the wall: “Isn’t it amazing what clever girls can do?”

Home, chic home.

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