The Beauty of Combining Completely Different Things

03 Feb 2020

The collection of Eclectic stores delivers an electric charge of divine shopping

By LESLEY BERKSHIRE BRADLEY  »  Photos by Diana Matthews

Dreams do come true….and they did in spades for Linda Horton. After tacking dramatically from 44 years in the medical industry, she now has not one but three retail clothing and home goods stores in Pinehurst...all aptly named ‘Eclectic’.

Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, Horton had always dreamed of going to design school but her father, a no-nonsense Moore county farmer, thought college was all free love and rock and roll. So, being a good daughter, she took the sensible route and worked as a radiology technician and then as a dental assistant.

But when she finally had the opportunity to use her creative talents, she went full bore and opened all three stores in under two years.

“I love shopping and have collected many special things over years of travel. I wanted to share these treasures with others,’ explains Horton, “Literally...I started with selling items from my own collection. Then I added other people’s treasures and then new items from unusual designers. I want to offer items that you won’t find in other stores.”

And thus, the Eclectic stores carry both consignment and new items from across the decades and around the globe.

The store in the historic district of Pinehurst…. named ‘Eclectic in the Village’…has high ceilings with light flooding through the original turn-of-the-century skylight. It feels like a clever Paris shop.

The displays are as exciting as the items for sale— galvanized troughs full of patterned sweaters, metal rods holding rows of unusual necklaces, baskets brimming with colorful vintage silk scarves, antique display cases and armoires overflowing with jewelry, vintage luggage displaying throws and blankets. Even an old leather briefcase full of belts.

“I have always enjoyed putting things together and creating layers.”

And the store is truly layered. Everything is so interesting that you walk slowly and see something special in each vignette that Horton has so carefully constructed. Then you are drawn to walk back through again and see something you missed the first time through.

Even the hangers catch your eye. They are not wire or plastic but beautiful bamboo hangers.

“I wanted them to fit the vibe of the store and be different and natural —and the man who sold them to me brought them all the way up from Florida in a U-Haul!,” laughs Horton.

And you notice that Horton has a special talent for combining unpredictable colors and textures that one would not ordinarily think would go together but when she styles them, they look like they should be on the couture runway.

A Hunter Green corduroy jacket is draped over a soft white sweater with black geometric bone buttons and paired with a wool red-and-black tartan skirt.  A long grey lace skirt is topped with a short brown tweed jacket and finished with a soft red and cream paisley wool challis scarf.

The mixing of textures, components and colors continues with the selection of one-of-a-kind jewelry. Many of the pieces are made by Horton.

“It is my bailiwick... pulling together all of the varied items. The beauty is in combining things that are completely different,” she explains.

Horton specializes in statement jewelry. There is no subtly in her jewelry. The unexpected is her signature. A graceful 5-inch sterling silver crane with wings outstretched is a sculptural necklace. Small, round sea urchins strung with red coral beads make an unforgettable necklace. There is even a large black dragon pendent with gold points that would steal the heart of a Game of Thrones lover.

And the selection of necklaces, bracelets, bangles, cuffs and earrings span an unexpected breadth of materials including wood, acrylic, leather, turquoise, coral, shell, clay, silk, sterling, brass, copper, amber and pearls. There is something for everyone.

The bamboo hangers hold clothing by Diane Von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, Cole Haan, St. John, Worth and other high-end designers, as well as vintage gowns and cocktail dresses reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn’s style, but at consignment store prices. And the pieces are just as distinctive as the jewelry.

“You will never walk into a party or an event wearing the same thing someone else is wearing,” declares Horton.

And the shoes do not disappoint. There are teal and wine-colored cowboy boots, kitten-heeled ankle boots in Burberry’s signature plaid, pewter leather peep toe Tory Burch pumps, and black over-the-knee full lace-up leather boots with silver embellishments, and more.

The purses range from a soft butterscotch leather handbag with a curved tortoiseshell handle to a red leather quilted Chanel-style bag and a tooled leather Patricia Nash satchel.

And for hat lovers, there are choices across the seasons from straw boaters, to felt bowlers to a tan Stetson with a braided leather band, and even a russet suede wide-brimmed hat wrapped in creamy vintage netting.

“There is nothing uniform at Eclectic. Everything is possible”, says Horton.

 The new pieces Horton buys from designers have that same Eclectic styling. She carries Scandal, made in Italy and known for its “laid-back luxe and effortless style”. She also sells the Style After Style brand jeans made by a Miami designer who mixes soft stretchy denim with colorful vintage fabrics. And she offers Robert Graham shirts, known for combining vibrant patterns and adding special details like French cuffs and unusual buttons.

And then there are the sharp home accessories and furniture. The wood-carved Indonesian bowls could hold fruit or yarn or even your own collection of scarves. Or, perhaps the antique etched crystal water pitchers would make a special vase for cuttings from the garden. For mid-century modern lovers, the Bakelite and rattan coasters would work perfectly. And there is a broad selection of artwork including original abstract paintings in provocative and striking colors by the local artist Debby Kline.

This ever-changing and very special collection of clothing, jewelry and home accessories is displayed at all three Eclectic locations….in downtown Pinehurst, on Route 5 and in the Design Market in Aberdeen.

Horton’s dream was for people to walk into the Eclectic stores and feel like they have made an incredible discovery. She has definitely succeeded and has proven that “everything is possible”.

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