NOLA Fashion Week- Day 3

New Orleans Fashion Week day three brought out another league of designers, this time there were four that evening: Iacono, Kallen Forster, Jolie & Elizabeth and The Dope. Game.

Iacono was the first line to grace the runway that evening. Designer Lisa Iacono’s Holiday ’12/Spring ’13 collection was inspired by fabrics, particularly from the 70s and 80s, when the ‘Disco Era’ and Studio 54 dominated the music scenes that were mainly prominent in New York City and Philadelphia. “Something about those slinky fabrics [and sexy silhouettes] on the dance floor gives me goosebumps!” Iacono states. To me, the line told the story of a ‘day in the life’ of a woman in the late 70s that went backwards- going from party attire to work/casual-play attire. I loved the floral halter dress, the white mini skirt with a rosette draped at the waist, the off-shoulder embroidered flutter dress and the breezy high-neck blouse. The Iacono brand is made locally, in collaboration with Nola Sewn…after all, Lisa helped to found this New Orleans staple, along with Tam Huynh. She explains her story, “When I moved to New Orleans, I could not source local manufacturing. Through serendipitous googling, I was able to connect with Tam Huynh, who managed a large scale menswear factory in New Orleans for 25 years until it shut down post-Katrina. She had moved on to manage a defense contract factory (producing tanks, ammo, etc), but she was willing to help me get the sewing contracted, as she still had connections with many of her sewing employees from the menswear factory…Together with two sewers, Tam and I produced the Iacono Holiday 2011 collection from a rented space in her brother’s auto repair shop. As my friends in the fashion industry noticed the quality of the work, they wanted to have their lines produced as well. At the same time, more sewers were catching wind of the work, and were beginning to seek Tam out for sewing contracts. Tam and I knew there was a reason to start a factory together, and so Nola Sewn was born. We currently have contracts with thirty different designers, including myself.” As you can obviously see, after only two years (the line was launched in October 2011) it’s no wonder that Iacono is blossoming. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Iacono and Nola Sewn! She also included divine beaded clutches from Madâm Sara and jewelry from Saint Claude. More on them in my “day four” coverage!

The next collection to hit the runway consisted of five pieces. The collection was indeed small, but I was very happy that the models stood for a few moments in front of the media pit…just enough time to get the perfect shot and details of the gorgeous looks. This collection belonged to Kallen Forster and was her Masters Thesis Collection for LSU. Forster teamed up with three womens cooperatives in Kenya, Peru and Bolivia to create simple, yet impeccably detailed garments for her S/S13 collection. These garments were hand-beaded, loom-woven and knitted with socially responsible materials such as: 100% organic hemp, silk and cotton twills. This contemporary-casual collection merges classic, fun yet wearable silhouettes with iconic ‘tribal’ prints that were pre-specified by Kallen. Not only does this collection help to empower the women in those three cooperatives, but it is also inspired by The Design Lab- a local New Orleans socially responsible design cooperative that Kallen herself had founded; to train, empower and employ the local women in various design techniques. She also featured jewelry and handbags from Rural Revolution-a New Orleans based company that is dedicated to also empowering and employing women artisans in impoverished countries. Please check out kallenforster.com for more details and to place a bid on the collection that was shown during Fashion Week. 100% of the proceeds from the auction go to benefit Toto Knits, Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco and The Design Lab.

Jolie & Elizabeth was the next company that presented their collection of fun and girly dresses for their S/S13 collection. The brand was launched in April 2010 by Sarah Dewey and Jolie Benson and was and is still inspired by their southern roots. For this collection, they kept with their traditional seersucker, but also incorporated pretty pastels and some darker hues in high-quality fabrics. Their designs are the classic silhouettes that are traded up to be feminine, fun yet functional for work or play. Jolie & Elizabeth is proudly made in New Orleans and also strives to give back to the community. Ladies, why not get yourselves ready for Spring and stock up on pretty dresses by Jolie & Elizabeth- go to jolieandelizabeth.com to shop, book a showroom appointment or get further details on the brand.

The last designer of the evening was The Dope. Game, based in Baton Rouge, LA and was launched in 2008 by Courtney Howells and Tyrus Thomas (who later joined the team in 2010). The brand showcased ‘dope’ tees and hats that are inspired by the 90s hip-hop and sneaker cultures. The Dope. Game’s one mission is “to be an example of doing things your own way.” Check out thedopegame.com for additional information and to shop the collection.

Stay tuned for day four!

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