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Intrigued by vintage clothing and accessories? A day trip might be in order!

Fallbrook can easily be considered a vintage town, since its early settlers planted their roots here in 1869, during the latter part of the Victorian era.

This golden epoch was a period named after the United Kingdom’s Queen Victoria, who reined the monarchy from 1937 to 1901.

For those who find that time period, vintage and vintage-inspired clothing and accessories fascinating, it might be fun to take a day trip to La Boutique in San Jacinto.

With their kashmiri shawls, Victorians were well-known for indulging in materiality and La Boutique fits beautifully with that theme, featuring all things chic.

Store owner Eve Faulkner lived in a Victorian home (built in 1906) in Upland for 14 years. When she began renting out the house for Victorian-style weddings, she didn’t know anything about the time period.

“That’s where it all began,” she recalled during a recent interview.

Tireless research made Faulkner an expert in the Victorian revivalist community. She founded the Victorian Bridal Museum in Orange County, which she ran with her husband for 15 years.

When she retired eight years ago and moved to Hemet, she had no intention of opening another business. “I couldn’t help myself,” Faulkner said. “This is a great building.”

La Boutique is located inside the Farmer’s Corner, a building known as the second-largest wooden mall west of the Mississippi, at 2535 South San Jacinto Avenue. The shop’s motto is “Something old, something new and something vintage too…”

By recycling clothing, they have also caught the crest of the “green” environmental wave that is sweeping much of the nation.

Most days, Faulkner’s long dusky brown hair is wisped in a neat bouffant. She can often be found dressed in finely tailored vintage gowns.

During the interview, she came out from behind the register and pointed to her new advertisement that quotes a customer saying, “This is Hollywood in Hemet.”

“That’s what a customer said the other day when she first walked in the door,” Faulkner said proudly, as though she hopes the phrase will become well-known throughout the community.

Temecula resident Maria Railton has recently connected with Faulkner.

The retired women met recently – more than a century after the monarch’s reign ended – while collaborating on a Victorian fashion show.

While organizing the show, Railton, known by many in the area through her Temecula home-based business, Victoriana Times, contacted Faulkner during her Internet search for an expert consultant.

They became instant friends. “We have similar passions,” said Faulkner, with Railton at her side. “There is a reason why people find each other in life.”

They both agree, deep down, they are just little girls who love to play dress-up. And if each had a chest full of dresses at the end of her bed, it would be full of Victorian-era decadence.

Faulkner has invited Railton to sell her line of authentic, original and vintage-inspired hat designs in the store’s newly opened addition.

As a little girl in Holland, Railton always loved fashion. She later began her career working for a popular French skincare company.

Railton said she’s been in the United States a long time, including Temecula for 11 years, but still visits the fashion hubs of Europe at least once a year to keep abreast of fashion trends.

“My favorite era is the Edwardian period in the beginning of the 20th century,” she said.

Edwardian was a short Victorian spinoff period named after the queen’s eldest son, Edward VII, who was leader of the monarchy from 1901 until 1910. It can be argued that the period ended when he collapsed and died.

Edward VII was known for his socialite endeavors as a wealthy elitist who traveled the world tailored in smart fashion.

Faulkner and Railton enjoy assisting others with design and consultations and, in the meanwhile, spreading the joy of stylish living.

“We can refurbish or even duplicate any design,” said Faulkner. “Just bring in a photo.”

Faulkner claims to lack sewing skills, so she has hired a seamstress to overcome any difficulties that might surface while creating her customers’ fashion dreams.

After many years of immersing themselves in the subject matter, dressing in the attire, wearing hairstyles of the times, hosting tea parties and upholding an optimistic idealism with a strong moral base and faith, the ladies’ drive comes from a true love and passion for preserving past elegances.

“We don’t have a lot of money,” said Railton. “We see a resurgence in women wanting to dress like ladies and go to a tea. You can tell [that] when they laugh and are having fun.”

With Faulkner dedicating much of their new retail space to bridal fashion, she said, “I’ve come full circle.”

She continues to travel with her husband, giving lectures that feature an emphasis on Victorian wedding attire.

For those who enjoy history and wish to admire the fashions of the time, La Boutique might be the perfect adventure.

Visit Faulkner’s site at http://www.victorianbridalmuseum.com. She can be reached at (951) 487-6088. Railton can be contacted at (951) 506-9430.

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