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The New Orleans Style Makers of 2015 

True style leaves an impression. This month, CUE recognizes seven locals for their personal style and the ways they are promoting New Orleans. These savvy creatives, designers and businesspeople have crafted brands that affect our lives. Active online, in the press and in brick-and-mortar stores, they are putting New Orleans on the national radar. Take a look and be inspired.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY SARA ESSEX BRADLEY
  • Photo by Sara Essex Bradley

Juley Le

What is inspiring you now?
I am always perusing design sites such as Domaine Home and Rue Magazine for home inspiration. Though I'm confident in my personal style, my home style is a work-in-progress. For the next couple of months, my focus will be on creating a space that is perfectly rustic and modern.

Favorite local brands?
Defend New Orleans and District Donuts (I'm obsessed with food branding).

Words of wisdom?
Be open to all experiences. I've learned invaluable skills from what I thought were random jobs.

As a lifestyle guru, what's your dream project?
Hard to believe, but Montrose is the dreamiest project I never knew I wanted. Not only do I have complete creative freedom, but I get to utilize my business background to grow the brand in a way that I envision. I wake up every day excited to be a part of something both my team and I wholeheartedly believe in.

Favorite place to hang out?
I love people watching at coffee shops, especially at The Orange Couch. The people who work, meet and study there are so stylish. I always come home inspired to be a little more edgy with my own style.


click to enlarge PHOTO BY SARA ESSEX BRADLEY
  • Photo by Sara Essex Bradley

Teri Wyble

Originally from Arnaudville, Louisiana, Teri Wyble moved to New Orleans in 2008 to pursue an acting career. With recent appearances on the hit TV show The Walking Dead as Officer Shepherd and a supporting role in this summer's Terminator: Genisys, Wyble's bringing attention to her Crescent City home. "To be able to do what I love in this inspiring city, and be so close to my family has given me the best of both worlds," she says. Wyble describes her style as "an ever-evolving assortment of comfortable, repurposed and vintage finds," and says it's a reflection of the city's "eclectic, nostalgic feel."

What is inspiring you now?
Besides the soul and character that is everywhere in NOLA, I'm constantly inspired by nature ... in so many different facets of my life, even down to my style.

Favorite local brands?
Support local. I'll always love handmade jewelry by Native Owl and Beatrix Bell, and recycled fabric dresses by Esther Rose.

Words of wisdom?
Style is as unique as you, and it doesn't have to cost a fortune. Go treasure hunt in the ton of thrift stores around NOLA. My favorite thing to wear is an open heart and a smile, and that's free.

How does being an actress influence your style?
If anything, it's helped me pay more attention to staying true to myself, and not succumbing to what others expect you to look and dress like in this industry.

Favorite style secret?
I first made the switch to cruelty-free cosmetics because I'm against animal testing, but I didn't realize how much better the products are made, and that they'd all be so much better for my skin. I'll never look back.


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Candice Gwinn

Atlanta native Candice Gwinn opened her first Trashy Diva store in the French Quarter in 1996 as a vintage clothing boutique. As an outgrowth of that, she launched her own retro label in 1999. Today, she has five local stores. Her brand of dresses and loungewear can be found in more than 75 stores worldwide. Celebrity clients including Katy Perry, Zooey Deschanel and Taylor Swift have broadened the line's following. "We are racing lately to keep up with the demand," Gwinn says.

What is inspiring you now?
All the energy of spring in New Orleans. From Carnival through festival season, I think NOLA is at its best. I am always inspired by the bright colors of Mardi Gras, the ladylike florals of Easter and the cool summer vibe of Jazz Fest.

Favorite local brands?
Juan's Flying Burrito, Fifi Mahony's and Mobile Tracker (WWL-TV's Mardi Gras parade tracker), just to name a few. There are way too many people doing great things in New Orleans to list!

Words of wisdom?
Do what you are passionate about, work harder than you think you can, hire other talented people and the rest will follow.

What era affects your personal fashion choices most?
It's pretty clear I love vintage and am most influenced by the 1930s-50s in my designs for Trashy Diva. I think most women can look great with the correct undergarments, a softly draped dress and a cinched-in waist.

Favorite style secret?
Walking the streets of New Orleans is my biggest stay-in-shape secret. Rather than driving, I'll walk from the shops on Magazine to Royal Street for a bit of fresh air and exercise.

Favorite place to hang out?
My favorite date night or "girls' night out" is seeing Fleur de Tease's burlesque show with Trixie Minx at One Eyed Jacks, or Big Deal Burlesque with Roxie Le Rouge at Siberia.


click to enlarge PHOTO BY SARA ESSEX BRADLEY
  • Photo by Sara Essex Bradley

Stirling Barrett

As an artist, native New Orleanian Stirling Barrett created collages around line and perspective. When he decided to start a business, he segued to something related. "Eyewear design is line and perspective and how it interacts with your face," says Barrett, whose KREWE du Optic customers include NCIS actors, supermodels and Beyonce. "It should represent who you are and your personal style."

What is inspiring you now?
The city and culture of New Orleans and how it speaks to the culture of the world.

Favorite local brands?
The creative community coming out of New Orleans is really powerful right now; everyone from Tchoup Industries to Smoke Perfume and DVRA are all  very inspiring.

Words of wisdom?
Someone a long time ago told me to invest in yourself. And I don't think I ever would have started KREWE if I hadn't heard that.

Why eyewear?
Why not eyewear? It's a part of the industry I've always wanted to know more about, and eyewear design connected really closely to the principles I was using in my art at the time.

Favorite place to hang out?
My favorite coffee shop is Merchant, and my favorite watering hole is Barrel Proof. Both spots are filled with a creative class of people I want to be around.


click to enlarge PHOTO BY SARA ESSEX BRADLEY
  • Photo by Sara Essex Bradley

Kisha Williams

"I wanted a business in an industry I loved, and I wanted it to be an expression of how we New Orleanians find beauty in everything we do," says Kisha Wiliams, owner of The Makeup Lab Artistry. Williams' clients include magazines (Essence, Oxygen), celebrities (Missy Elliott), television (MSNBC), makeup brands (Neutrogena, Maybelline) and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week NYC. Last year, the business partnered with LaPierre Cosmetics to create a nail polish line — Color Chemistry by the Makeup Lab Artistry. For every bottle sold, a dollar is donated to cancer research.

What is inspiring you now?

People. Being in such a culturally rich city and traveling across the country, I'm always fascinated by others' stories, choice of lipstick, interpretation of style and their visions and dreams. These interactions ... help me learn more about myself.

Favorite local brands?

As a beauty junkie, it's always ideal for me to grab a pretty lipstick and blush and keep moving. So one of my favorite go-to places is Magnolia Makeup, a makeup line and studio full of vibrant and fun colors.

Words of wisdom?

We were all designed for something specific. That is purpose. Until you embrace your purpose, you are not living in your truth.

Favorite tips for current makeup trends?

I love a flaming lip. It's timeless and effortless beauty that allows your skin to glow. Lipstick is one of those things that can display your personality and mood. So don't be afraid to add a little pop of color on those lips this spring and summer.

Favorite place to hang out?

I have an obsession with coffee shops ... the daily "office" of creatives and dreamers. Because of that, style is an automatic default. I love The Bean Gallery on Carrollton Avenue.


click to enlarge PHOTO BY SARA ESSEX BRADLEY
  • Photo by Sara Essex Bradley

Matt Schwartz

New York native Matt Schwartz found two key life components while attending Tulane's Freeman School of Business: his wife, Christa, and his love of New Orleans. As principal with the New York/New Orleans based Domain Companies, Matt helped spur the revitalization of the Tulane Avenue corridor by developing housing and retail along the thoroughfare and investing in surrounding infrastructure. His most recent project, the South Market District in downtown New Orleans, is billed as "downtown living with all the amenities you would want at your fingertips." It includes five buildings with 700 apartments, 200,000 square feet of retail and a boutique hotel.

What is inspiring you now?
New Orleans. Our city is undergoing an unprecedented transformation, and it's exciting to be a part of it. ... There is nowhere else I'd rather be raising a family or building a business right now.

Favorite local brands?
It's been fun to watch the emergence of craft brewing in New Orleans, something I think is long overdue. My favorite right now is NOLA Brewing's Rebirth Pale Ale (probably the coolest beer tap of all time as well).

Words of wisdom?
You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take. Need to credit Wayne Gretzky for that quote, but they are words to live by in life and business.

What's New Orleans current real estate zeitgeist?
The growth and diversification of our economy is creating demand across all sectors. ... We're already seeing our positive economic momentum spark change ... and I expect to see that accelerate in the near future.

Favorite place to hang out?
Liberty's Kitchen. First, of course, because my wife designed the space and it's beautiful. Besides being a great space, Liberty's Kitchen is doing incredible work, creating opportunity for disadvantaged youth in New Orleans and providing healthy meals for New Orleans school children. ... Plus, the cafe attracts people who are doing their own good work all over town.

Christa Schwartz

Pennsylvania-born Christa Schwartz was introduced to New Orleans (and her husband Matt) while a student at Tulane's Freeman School of Business. In 2007, she cofounded Studio Interior Design in New York. In 2011, she relocated to New Orleans with Matt and their two children to open a second design office. Christa describes her aesthetic as warm, functional and modern. Her projects include new and historic homes, The Domain Companies' Manhattan and New Orleans offices and Liberty's Kitchen in Mid-City. The houses, architecture and fiber of the city are what she loves most about New Orleans. "I feel like I'm part of something bigger than me," she says.

What is inspiring you now?
Bronze hardware and the 1980s.

Favorite local brands?
CoolBrew Iced Coffee — can't start my day without one.

Words of wisdom?
More is just more. Restraint can be rewarding.

Two essential ingredients for a New Orleans interior?
Something bold: The scale of architectural details like heavy moldings and unreserved ceiling heights are the perfect backdrop for substantial pieces of art and light fixtures.

Something new: The recent wave of thoughtful renovations in my neighborhood has been tremendously exciting to watch. Many homes have been transported, with a fundamental respect for the past, from the 1800s to the present style of living.

Favorite style secret?
Working with super-savvy Pilates instructor Queta Beasley-Harris.

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