Before New Orleans was Hollywood South, home to the Saints or even the birthplace of jazz, it was America’s port for all things fashionable. Ships would bring finery from all over the world and chandeliers, fabrics and the latest hats from France. Louisiana was all the King of Cotton, providing cotton to our own country and the world. With all of the amazing food, music and art coming from New Orleans, it was only a matter of time before fashion designers found their voice here as well.
NOLA Fashion Week was born 2 years ago and showcases designers, models, hairdressers and makeup artists from the region. They have since produced over 80 shows and events as well as providing education and skills training for aspiring designers and those looking to expand their abilities in nearly 30 workshops. I was sorry to have missed the one where someone from Goorin Bros. taught people how to make hats. I also missed Baton Rouge-born Project Runway All-Stars winner Anthony Ryan’s show.
Before I was a blogger, an actor or a New Orleanian, I was a runway model. I have no idea how many shows I did in my 10 years of stomping catwalks from D.C. to New York, but it must be in the hundreds. So, I guess I’ve been to a lot of shows in my lifetime, but I’ve only been to a few without having to change clothes backstage. I’ve been meaning to attend a show here and was thrilled to go to Lisa Iacono‘s show.
I first met Iacono when I was looking for a dress to wear for the Django Unchained premiere in L.A. She’d designed a cocktail-length dress that I fell in love with and we toyed with the idea of a long gown as well. Using the same fabulous, flowy liquid-metal type fabric she’d used for the cocktail dress, she created a golden goddess gown that would have stood out on any red carpet. Unfortunately, the premiere was cancelled. I wore the shorter dress and felt beautiful and sexy and only wish we’d had a red carpet to show the world her work.
Iacono’s show featured 16 looks including separates, dresses, and to my delight – the metallic gown. Iacono moved to NOLA not long ago after working with American Eagle and Betsey Johnson in New York. She partnered with Tam Huynh, a 22 year veteran of Kenneth Gordon, a menswear factory in Elmwood that made garments for Brooks Brothers, Burberry and more. Together, they created Nola Sewn and, in addition to making Lis’a line, they produce garments for other designers as well as Mardi Gras and bridal gowns. Nola Sewn provides infrastructure to this growing industry as well as turning out Iacono’s line and their sewing is top notch.
Fashion is such a growing industry here, there is actually another upcoming fashion week. March 20-24, 2013 at The Sugar Mill, Fashion Week New Orleans features over 50 shows including a bridal showcase, a competition and another showing of Lisa Iacono’s designs.
As I didn’t bring a camera, these images are mostly from the web and my shoot with I Heart NOLA: