Say Oui to Fashion and Festival Frocks
As March, a.k.a. New Orleans Fashion Month, comes to a close and festival season begins, I draw on the overdose of inspiration I acquired over the past month.
I am overwhelmed by the copious amount of talented artists and designers in this city. Creative, entrepreneurial types and those who want to grow a business continue to flock here to cultivate their brands and professional ventures. New Orleans is on the radar and we love being in the spotlight, even more so when the media and press presents us in a flattering light.
Capitalizing on Quirkiness
There are so many intriguing and interesting individuals that inhabit this enticingly sultry city that one could pen an infinite novel on the personalities alone. I am drawn like a moth to a flame to those who apply their unique brand of unexpected to fashion and design.
Hazel & Florange
Less than 24 hours before her first runway presentation, I had the opportunity to go tête-a-tête with Andi Eaton. Andi is one of the creative directors of NOLA Fashion Week, a blogger for Oui We, Girl! and is approaching her tenth year with the Aveda Institute. In what I consider a very naturally and obvious progression, Andi can now add fashion designer to her résumé. This industrious fashionphile finds her fix in all things peerless and chic. Her exposure in production, editorial styling and manufacturing has come full circle with her first clothing line: Hazel and Florange.
The vision of Hazel and Florange is the story of two sisters who lived in the outskirts of New Orleans. These whimsical and eccentric ladies embraced their evenings with champagne in tea cups and games of scrabble in their posh house coats. The tale told is that the two sisters never married and, although many thought they lived a meager lifestyle, upon their death, family members found boxes of cash in the walls of their home.
Enthused by photographs of these frugal yet fabulous Southern girls, Andi began to develop her collection. Hazel and Florange—the capricious sisters—serve as the muse and namesake of her first fashion line. The 14-piece compilation mixes skirts, dresses and what Andi touts as “day gowns.”
“The pieces are a modern twist on the housedresses worn by Hazel and Florange,” stated Andi. “The texture and fabrics of the collection are simultaneously quirky and glamorous.”
Furthermore, Andi’s line blends effortlessly with our city’s culture and climate. The fabrics are cotton or silk blends and the vibrant colors and patterns conjure up our Caribbean and African influences. The full length skirts and gowns, although appropriate for evening attire, can be styled for everyday wear. Andi affirmed: “I imagine Hazel and Florange, if they were still alive, would wear these pieces to walk the streets of New Orleans simply to pick up groceries.” Hazel and Florange is Andi’s interpretation of New Orleans’ idiosyncratic yet stylish women.
Visit www.HazelandFlorange.com for details. Follow Andi Eaton’s blog, ouiwegirl.com, to stay abreast of her fashion adventures.
Dress for the Fest
Whatever festival you attend this spring, be it Strawberry, Tomato, French Quarter or Jazz and Heritage, B. Boutique on Magazine Street will have you camera ready. From dramatic vegan leather shifts to Boho breezy maxi dresses, owner Blain Clayton will have you ready to two-step at Fais Do Do and shake your tail feather in Congo Square.
Do not be intimidated by Ms. Clayton’s cover-girl-worthy beauty; as striking as she is, Blain is no fashion diva. She has a frugal pocketbook and an editor’s eye when it comes to purchasing the wares for her lovely store. Her inventory includes stunning garments at equally stunning price points. Dresses, for example, range from $60 to $150.
Unlike other boutiques, B. Boutique caters to women of all shapes. Blain noticed that there was a lack of fashion-forward attire to address the needs of her curvier customers. “I only enjoy shopping with my sister. Being a plus-sized woman, she often finds herself unable to frequent the same boutiques as me,” said Blain. “There was no way I was going to open a boutique where my sister could not shop!” B. Boutique fills that void with contemporary fashions in sizes two through ten.
Smart consumer and business owner that she is, Blain hopes to soon expand her inventory to include shoes. Now that spring is in the air and you have a spring in your step, dance your way into something beautiful at B. Boutique.
3950 Magazine Street
New Orleans, 70115