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Wiederhoeft Outfits Hardy Holiday Village at Nemacolin – WWD

“We’re making magic here in the middle of nowhere,” says PJ Magerko-Liquorice, several days before the debut of Hardy’s Holiday Village at Nemacolin. That “middle of nowhere” is a luxury resort in Farmington County, Pa., and the magic is an over-the-top family-friendly holiday spectacle.

“We’ve seen a lot of theater and productions, and this is something so heartwarming to experience,” adds Magerko-Liquorice, vice president of brand strategy and son of Nemacolin chief executive officer Maggie Hardy, describing their holiday experience as “a wild Willy Wonka-esque woodland wonderland.” The village was initially proposed as a design for the family’s annual Christmas party — but they decided to instead open the festivities to their guests throughout the holiday season. “It’s all about letting everyone be in on the party,” says Magerko-Liquorice.

Tasked with bringing the whimsical holiday village to life, Magerko-Liquorice tapped choreographer friend Austin Goodwin, who brought in a troupe of elf performers to dance around the property and engage with guests. Jackson Wiederhoeft, a longtime friend and collaborator (he designed Nemacolin’s staff uniforms, as well as outfits for Hardy’s wedding on the property in 2022), was tasked with creating “the most amazing couture elf costumes that there could be.” 

Wiederhoeft describes his sartorial approach for the project as “candy coated,” leaning into whimsical and exaggerated proportions rendered in a “highly edible” palette. The elf lineup includes dancer elves, diva elves and cabaret elves — and of course, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus also got a Wiederhoeft sartorial update for their Nemacolin tenure.

“The Nemacolin vibe touches on tradition, but doesn’t feel like it has to follow every rule,” says Wiederhoeft, who looked to classic Christmas films and stories, and filtered the nostalgia through Wiederhoeft’s colorful, campy, high-fashion approach. “This is a really fun new assimilation of Christmas traditions in a way that feels exciting, and not something I’ve seen before,” he adds. “It was cool to bring something fresh to the table for a holiday that is steeped in the most traditions of all.” 

He likens the process of creating holiday costumes to his approach to bridal, “a medium where you have these really steeped traditions to draw from,” he says. “I want to create a work that feels like something you saw before, but you can’t quite place it.”

The Wiederhoeft-outfitted elves welcome guests into the village’s Enchanted Glitter Factory, where they will perform choreographed routines throughout the day. The holiday village also includes an outdoor skating rink, light displays, specialty boutiques including Magical Maggie’s Mittens & Scarves, PJ’s Peppermint Emporium, and a Nutcracker Factory, and culinary offerings such as a Hot Cocoa Hideaway, Mr. Sandman’s Gum Drop Dreams, and Mrs. Claus’s Gingerbread Bakery.

“Seeing the kids [interact with the Holiday Village], you get this sense that they’re creating a mythology in the moment,” says Wiederhoeft of early reaction to the village, which opens Friday and runs through Dec. 23. “It’s such a formative experience that they might not actively remember when they grow up, but it’s going to be a part of their association with Christmas. I think that’s such a privilege.”

Although conceptualized for this year, Magerko-Liquorice notes that Hardy’s Holiday Village will likely return for future seasons. “It feels like we’re on the precipice of creating this really amazing tradition that is going to leave an imprint on all ages, that becomes a part of the Nemacolin and holiday tradition,” he says.

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