If you've perused an issue of Gambit's CUE, you know we're committed to seeking out the cutest canines and profiling them in our monthly "Shop Dogs" feature. As a journalist who covers both fashion and dogs (and occasionally, fashionable dogs), it gives me great pleasure to write up (and be a judge at) an event that combines both beats: Alegria, a fashion show benefiting the Louisiana SPCA (LA/SPCA) takes place at the W New Orleans from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. this Sunday, March 4.
Now in its fourth year, the show features a Project Runway-style competition for emerging fashion designers. The winner receives a prize package worth more than $1,000. Danielle Arthur, Al Beauti, Susan Henry, Emily Riche and Molly Stackhouse will compete. Alegria creator John Delgadillo will showcase his newest collection, as will Alicia Zenobia, last year's winner.
“Alegria showcases the booming talent of this community ... (and) benefits an organization (that) has given so much to New Orleans,” Delgadillo said in a press release.
Individual tickets start at $25 and include hors d'oeuvres, unlimited specialty cocktails and the satisfaction of knowing that proceeds benefit the LA/SPCA's education and community clinic programs. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling LA/SPCA event coordinator Marisa Collins at 504-762-3307.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
It tends to be simple and edgy in a way, but ultimately, everything I do is really clean. I use a lot of geometric shapes. For spring, it was circles, but now there are triangles in there. I could do a million collections with circles. I try to think of unconventional ways to use shapes, things I haven’t seen before. Everything comes out sexy, but in a very sophisticated and understated way.
Do you have a particular type of woman in mind when you design?
I want to make clothes people want to wear; things I would wear. Some of the things I design are young looking, and some things could be worn by a wide range of ages. Some things can only be worn by super-skinny people; some things I could wear, and I am not super skinny. I want to do unconventional pieces that people can actually wear, and I feel like every piece is wearable.
You recently produced your first collection for sale in boutiques. What was that process like?
This is the first collection I have that is being produced. Designing a collection for a runway and designing one that needs to work for production and boutiques is very different. I have gotten a lot of feedback from the buyers, which has been really helpful. It's being carried in three stores right now - Angelique, The MIX in Mandeville and NK Boutique in Baton Rouge, and I hope to expand in the fall. Because it is low-volume right now, I can do special things for each boutique, for example, a specific color for a specific boutique.
Tell us about your background as a designer.
I graduated from (the fashion school at) LSU and I did a short internship with Seema Sudan (of Liamolly), and then I interned in New York with Friends with Benefits. I came back, did a couple shows and sort of tried to get my name out there and start marketing myself, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I delved into the custom business and realized I wanted to do ready-to-wear and sportswear, which doesn’t lend itself to custom. There's a huge market for custom because of debutants and Mardi Gras, but I want to make pants and separates. I knew the next step was production. I didn’t want to go overseas. I feel like it is just going to be better if things are made here. I had heard about Jolie & Elizabeth (being produced locally), and I figured if they can do it, I can do it.
It goes to support the city. (Resources are) not only staying in the country, they're staying in the city. That is important to people. The main reason I use local production is because you have the best control. You're dealing with people who speak the same language. I can sit and show them exactly how I sew my patterns. That is very important to me, and I think that shold be important to customers. You sacrifice quality and design and ingenuity with cheap clothing. The thing the customer can most outwardly see is that the quality will be better for sure. And it is just ethical.
For wholesale inquiries, email Molly Stackhouse at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 975-8890.
My first exposure to Patricia Steere was through her voicemail. On her shop's answering machine, her pleasant voice sounded cool and clipped, melodic yet articulate — almost a little too perfect. This impression carried through when I met her at her new Magazine Street boutique, A Girl is a Gun. With her precise auburn coif, beauty mark and perfectly fitted dress, she would have been intimidating if she wasn't so nice. I have to admit, I'm still a little cowed by her sharply defined aesthetic, but I left the store wanting to dress like her — and if that isn't the hallmark of shopgirl style, I don't know what is.
What style blogs or magazines do you read?
Tell us about A Girl Is A Gun and how it reflects/influences your style. Where does the name come from?
The store name means a woman is dangerous, unpredictable and deadly. I carry styles I personally wear, so
the entire store is a reflection of my sartorial point of view. I don't wear jeans, yoga wear or flip-flops. I always wear stockings and heels, makeup and perfume. I'm confident and ready for anything, never have to
make excuses for my appearance and don't have to even think about it. It's a great feeling.
There's never really a bad time to be young, tall and beautiful — but some times are better for milking it than others. This is one of those times. Grab your comp cards, throw on some skinny jeans and stilettos and hit the pavement, because there's a bounty of modeling opportunities coming up in the next few weeks. Here's a rundown:
Wilhelmina Brown, an affiliate of Wilhelmina Models, is opening a New Orleans location and seeks models and actors for representation. There will be an open call from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22 at La Nuit Theater (5039 Freret St.) Actors should bring headshots and a resume and be prepared to perform a monologue. All are encouraged to submit materials at www.wilhelminabrown.com prior to the casting. More info on their craigslist ad here.
Fashion Week New Orleans holds a casting for female models (minimum height 5'7", sizes 0-6, ages 16-28), plus-size models (minimum height 5'9", sizes 12-18, ages 16-28) and male models (minimum height 5'11", pants sizes 30-34, ages 19-32) Sunday, Jan. 29 at Cathedral Creative Studios (527 Julia St., 333-6713). Show dates are March 22-25.
NOLA Fashion Week holds a series of castings beginning Monday, Jan. 30 at Paris Parker salons throughout New Orleans and Baton Rouge. All castings are from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and the dates and locations are as follows: Monday, Jan. 30 at Paris Parker Prytania (4900 Prytania St.); Wed., Feb. 1 at Paris Parker Jefferson (8349 Jefferson Hwy., Baton Rouge); Monday, Feb. 6 at Paris Parker Prytania; Thursday, Feb. 9 at Paris Parker Jefferson; Monday, Feb. 13 at Paris Parker LSU (4410 Highland Road, Baton Rouge) and Paris Parker Tulane (Lavin-Bernick Center, first floor). Final callbacks are Monday, Feb. 27 at Paris Parker Prytania. Models should be at least 5'6" and wear a solid-color T-shirt, fitted jeans or shorts and heels. Show dates are March 3-10.
Finally, now through Feb. 13, women can enter a model search for maurices.com (1200 S. Clearview Pkwy.,
Harahan, 731-6620). The young women's fashion retailer is seeking "12 real girls in all sizes to model maurices clothing in upcoming fall, holiday and spring campaigns," according to a press release issued by maurices. Visit the website to enter for a chance to appear in the campaign and win a $1,500 gift card and a $7,500 charitable makeover donation for an area nonprofit.
And, last but not least, I'm always looking for models to appear in CUE, Gambit's monthly fashion, home and beauty publication. Send photos and stats (height, weight, bust, waist and hip measurements, dress size, age) to me at email@example.com. Thanks!
Caddo Parish Commissioner Michael Williams is tired of going out and seeing people parade around in their pajamas, so he's considering the next logical move: passing a law against public pajama-wearing. From the Shreveport TImes:
"Pajamas are designed to be worn in the bedroom at night," Williams said. "If you can't (wear pajamas) at the Boardwalk or courthouse, why are you going to do it in a restaurant or in public? Today it's pajamas," Williams said. "Tomorrow it's underwear. Where does it stop?"
This is not going over well with the pajama-loving people of Shreveport:
Khiry Tisdem, of Shreveport, has no problem going out in his "Family Guy" Stewie pajama pants. "I wear my (pajama) pants anywhere," Tisdem said. "I'm an American, and I can wear my clothes anywhere I want. I'm a grown man."
Who's going to be the one to tell Commissioner Williams about Pajama Jeans?
If you identify as female and have access to cable television, it's likely you have spent at least Friday night in your life watching TLC's back-to-back schedule of wedding programing. If you haven't, then I applaud your ability to resist the pervasive bridal industry, with its pretty cakes and dresses.
One of the reality series on the network's wedding block is Say Yes to the Dress, in which brides-to-be deliberate over high-end wedding gowns at New York's Kleinfeld Bridal (there's also a spinoff series that takes place at a bridal boutique in Atlanta). If you're getting married and have always dreamed of being filmed while you and your mother-in-law fight over wedding dresses, now's your chance: Randy Fenoli, the fashion director at Kleinfeld, is coming to New Orleans Feb. 26 to film a new show for TLC.
The show is Randy to the Rescue, where the TLC-ordained "FOB" (friend of the bride) will travel to eight U.S. cities to consult with brides. If you're interested in appearing on the show, email your name, age, location and wedding date to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the promo below:
Fashion Week New Orleans is accepting applications for its Top Design Competition. Ten designers will present their collections before a panel of judges at Fashion Week New Orleans' March 2012 shows. The winning designer's collection will be showcased at Hemline for 90 days, and he or she will receive a photo shoot and website design package.
Last year, designer Alicia Zenobia won the contest, competing against designers like Esther Rose, whose line was subsequently picked up by Lissy Boutique, and Anthony Ryan Auld, who later appeared on Lifetime's Project Runway.
"With the runway shows, it's an opportunity to entertain as well as display something I made," Zenobia said in an April 2011 interview. "I was very flattered that I won. I was so glad the judges admitted they like the sexy stuff and weren’t going to write it off as costume, because that doesn’t happen all the time."
Designers interested in applying should contact Mallory Domingue at email@example.com now through Sunday, Jan. 15.
Spend enough time in the company of gorgeously bewigged and bedizened mannequins, and you're bound to start resembling them*. Such is the case for Jamie Gandy, a designer and stylist at Fifi Mahony's, and I mean that in the best possible way. How can I not admire a lady whose standard work uniform includes fake eyelashes and a rhinestone-studded manicure? Admire her I must.
How would you describe your style?
Gamine Technicolor gypsy.
Who or what are your style icons?
Elvira Hancock, Stevie Nicks, Chloe Sevigny and Iris Steensma.
Where do you like to shop?
I truly shop anywhere and everywhere, but a lot of vintage for sure. If you have a real idea of what you like in a garment, you can find it anywhere (even a mall or the side of the road — true story)!
How does working at Fifi Mahony's influence your style?
At Fifi's, we get the most extraordinarily outrageous people. When you're in this place, nothing looks over the top.
What are some of your fashion tips?
1. Dress like it's your birthday every day.
2. Pants are optional.
3. Nothing is too much.
4. Wear hats and lipstick.
*Note the uncanny resemblance!
Do you have a loved one with a penchant for early '90s kitsch? Who appreciates the luxurious touch fur adds to an ensemble, despite feeling morally conflicted about its ethical implications? Who is a proud Louisianan and wants to rep his or her home state while satisfying all of the previous conditions?
For the '90s-philic, eco-minded fashionista on your holiday shopping list, I present to you this affordable option: nutria-fur trimmed slap wraps.
These nutria fur wrist cuffs by Kate McNee Designs will be on sale, along with nutria top hats, ornaments, headbands, hats and jewelry at the Righteous Fur Holiday Trunk Show & Sale from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16 at the Allways Lounge (2240 St. Claude Ave.). A portion of proceeds benefits the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary Foundation's wetlands restoration efforts.
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