BY Lisa Lindblad
January 6, 2013
Alium, Pueblo Garzon’s clothing and home design shop, turned five this weekend. All of Garzon, plus admirers from as far away as Punta del Este, La Barra and Jose Ignacio, gathered on the square in the glowing light of late afternoon to celebrate. The guests drifted in and out of the shop, itself washed in pinks, greens and blues, to the lovely garden out back which is dominated by the village’s oldest, most magnificent Ceiba tree. While some sipped Colinas de Garzon Sauvignon and chatted, others tried on sweaters, jackets and scarves.
I have known Alium and its proprietors, Carolina and Mariano, since its earliest days when it was located just across the square. It was tough going in the beginning. The season is short and Pueblo Garzon, tucked away up country roads, has, on the surface, just a few attractions to lure vacationers from the beach. Francis Mallmann’s wonderful restaurant has been the main draw but, increasingly, the surrounding vineyards and olive groves of Colinas de Garzon and the beautiful, serene landscapes make for an unusual day’s outing.
And then we have Alium which, as the only shop in town, could easily have sat on its laurels and welcomed a captive audience. But that is not the way of Carolina and Mariano. She, a textile and, he, an industrial designer, have raised the bar each year, drawing ever more interesting designers to their store while creating their own pieces and sourcing interesting vintage finds. The fashions, particularly well suited to this environment, are principally made from soft, bulky knits, boiled wools and felt. The floral bombachas and felt slippers with latex soles have flown out of the shop. The clothes are interspersed with their vintage finds – a wire egg basket, a marvelous, red Pluna airlines handbag, a green silk tassled umbrella.
Garzon has been attracting as many as 400 visitors a day this year (village population is 198) and Alium has had a wonderfully steady flow of shoppers. It’s time has come, coinciding with its five year anniversary, and we are all the richer for it.