Monthly Archives: February 2012

Simply Stunning Designs- The Name Says It All

There are people who attend Mardi Gras, and others whose lives revolve around it. For Edward Cox, his career is one “glittery, sparkly lump” and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Cox has been designing costumes since he was 5 years old. That’s right, f-i-v-e. He claims even at such a young age, helping his mother sew he knew what he wanted to do, and he’s been doing it ever since.

Archived design- image c/o Simply Stunning Designs

Just one of Edward Cox’s fantastical creations- image c/o Simply Stunning Designs

Designing costumes for the Jefferson Performing Arts Society, Cox often outfits 100 children at a time for productions such as Cinderella.  Of course fairy tales lend themselves to Mardi Gras creations, although there are no glass slippers here. Comfort is important, especially with custom made masks. Cox takes into account the persons facial structure, where the eye holes need to go, and will even accommodate eyeglasses. Having worked with carnival krewes and being an equity actor himself, Cox knows that mobility is important.

He also keeps his prices affordable so people can love their purchases, be proud of their one of a kind creations and simply “have a blast”. He can even spruce up an inexpensive store bought costume. “No one just eats boxed mac & cheese” he states. “you have to play with it”.

Senore Muerte photo © Bill Pino

Want to pick up your own stunning design? Cox is selling his creations this weekend at Kajun’s Pub. Talk to the man himself, get yourself a drink at the bar, and to steal one of Cox’s signature phrases “have a blast”. Visit the Simply Stunning Designs Facebook page for more costume pictures.


Saturday February 18th & 19th

Roughly noon to 6-ish. 


Kajun’s Pub

2256 St. Claude Avenue 

New Orleans, LA 70117 


Leopard mask and golden zebra derby combo- image c/o Simply Stunning Designs

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Making Mardi Gras: A Quasi DIY Part Four

Making Mardi Gras: A Quasi DIY is a four part series. Catch up and read parts one, two and three here, here, and here.

The devil is in the details, so make sure you don’t miss an opportunity to accessorize accordingly. Since the husband and I are flamingos this year, we can’t let any opportunities for glitz slip by. Some feathered eyelashes here, some sequined trim there, I always try to max out what we are wearing. The problem lies with time constraints. Without fail, every year I’m up to my eyeballs in bead work or sewing sequins, only to come up with more and more ideas for the perfect costume. Just when I think I’m getting close to finishing my creation, one more detail pops into my head. 

Be sure to check in next Friday when all will be revealed!
black & pink feather eyelashes

handmade tiny top hat
70’s collar gets a sequin trim upgrade
john waters and/or portlandia would be proud
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Carnival Season Charms: Bygone Beads

There’s no better way to get in the Mardi Gras spirit than by checking out some truly unique and original jewelry from a local New Orleanian! Bygone Beads has the perfect accessories to make your entire carnival krewe jealous.
Designer Eileen Bevis-Bennett crafts one of a kind, southern New Orleans nostalgic charms and Czechoslovakian glass bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings and ornaments – a perfect gift to pickup for the Mardi Gras hostess or ya momma and dem’.

Liven up your purple, green and gold this season with some new, old pieces to add to your parade-day-duds. You won’t be the first to hold on to these nostalgic charms and beads. Each piece comes attached with its own dance card explaining the story and history of its original purpose and design.

Locals may know the story of the original glass Mardi Gras beads, but here is a way you can share this tradition with your friends and family year round. You’re not gonna catch any of these one-of-a-kind charms on the neutral ground this year so check out the website and stock up!!

Bygone Beads will include something extra special at purchase for all the Slow Southern Style readers when you mention the words “SOUTHERN LOVE” in the contact form. One pair of earrings from the A Piece of History Collection with each order. So definitely make it a priority to order something in time for Carnival Season!
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Book to Buy: Designing in Ivory and White

Photo Credit LSU Press

Are you a Bride looking for the perfect dress? How about a custom made gown that fits like a glove? After years working alongside Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera, Anna Sui, and Ralph Rucci in New York, Louisiana native Suzanne Perron returned home to New Orleans in 2005 to open her own custom design business. Specializing in once-in-a-lifetime gowns for brides, debutantes, and Mardi Gras royalty, Perron is a graduate of Louisiana State University and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She worked in the New York fashion industry for fifteen years before returning home to design under her own label.

Photo Credit: Brian Baiamonte

Designing in Ivory and White, available through LSU Press, chronicles Perron’s rise to become the exquisite designer she is today. The book goes into details of Perron’s methods for creating her one of a kind dresses. Including methods for creating crinolines and foundations, her techniques for draping and pattern making are on display. It is interesting to watch a sketch transform into a three-dimensional form.

 The book gives beautiful full-length and detailed shots of Perron’s stunning creations. Designing in Ivory and White is ready for purchase in March and who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to make your appointment with Suzanne Perron for your big day.

Photo Credit: LSU Press

Brandy Gaspard

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Valentine’s Day at Feet First

Valentine’s Day is coming up and Feet First has something for all you single gals out there. Instead of spending the evening alone, treat yourself to  complimentary champagne, chocolate dipped strawberries courtesy of Lolli’s Chocolates, and king cake while being surrounded by fabulous footwear.  Guests will enjoy a Kay-la Handbags trunk show, and 1/2 off the 610 Stompers will be there to sell their calendars at 50% off the normal price. There will also be door prizes, a scavenger hunt, and possibly some smokin’ hot special guests.
Tuesday, February 14
5pm – 9pm
4119 Magazine St.

Meghan Wright
Twitter: slowsouthstyle Facebook: Slow Southern Style

Making Mardi Gras: A Quasi DIY Part Three

Making Mardi Gras: A Quasi DIY is a four part series. Catch up and read parts one and two here and here.

What separates the men from the boys on Fat Tuesday are the details. Anyone can throw on a bagged costume and say they are dressed. But you wouldn’t do that, right? I’m a sucker for those important final touches, or rather a glutton for punishment. Anytime I think a costume is complete, I find one more minute embellishment that transforms it from plain to over the top. Last year, I was hand sewing tiny shells into the hairline of my husband’s wig the night before. Did anyone notice? Probably not, but when you are Poseidon, King of the Sea,  you can’t sport a pedestrian hairdo. 
This year it is all about going over the top gaudy. We’ve got more sequins and feathers than Liberace had piano keys. I like for our costumes to complement each other, but not mimic each other so I gave our flamingo hats their own personal touches.
The gal is on the left, the gentleman on the right. And kitty makes friends.

Ruffles add a feminine touch for her
A dapper bow tie for him
Minuscule millinery work is for the birds
Crumpled up homemade top hat pattern serves as stuffing

So how’s your Mardi Gras costume progressing this year? Are you almost done or haven’t even started?

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Gator Heads and Oyster Shells courtesy of Half Shell Productions

If you’re still looking for something to complete your Mardi Gras costume (or perhaps you haven’t even started on it yet), Halfshell Productions may have your solution.  Tracy Hamlin in NOLA offers a selection of appropriately quirky Mardi Gras headdresses and bustiers.  Like all good Mardi Gras costumes, Tracy’s designs feature plenty of feathers and beads as well as some more unconventional materials.
Photo courtesy of Half Shell Productions

Here’s a bit from Tracy herself about her unique offerings.
You mentioned in your Etsy shop profile that you started making headdresses for the 2011 Mardi Gras season.  What prompted this?
Costuming is a New Orleans tradition. Sometimes it only takes one item:  a bustier, headdress or top hat, to begin the whole look and feel of a costume. That’s how it was for me. I made a Cajun Carmen Headdress, and then a feathered bustier, to march with Mondo Kayo on Fat Tuesday of 2011. I had so much fun wearing the outfit that I wanted to offer that one piece of “the look” that fires one’s creative process. 
Where does your inspiration for your designs come from?
My designs use local items like preserved alligator heads, feathers, king cake babies and nutria pelts because people in Louisiana have a connection to them.  I designed and wore the nutria skirt and Gator Bustier to the Righteous Fur Fashion Show in Lafayette in October. Nutria pelts are so lovely to work with. The fur is extremely soft, and I try to incorporate it into my designs as much as possible
Photo courtesy of Half Shell Productions

You use so many different elements in your creations.  How do you choose the materials for each design?
 I sold a Gator Headdress to someone in Bulgaria.  Through, I have sold nationally and internationally, so obviously other cultures have connections to the designs, as well. I also like the look of layers: feathers in background and alligator heads and other items in the foreground. I do have some standard designs, but sometimes, I start with a number of items and put them together in a totally different pattern which creates a new design. At times, I have no idea how a piece is going to end up. Adding and subtracting items until it feels just right. I have to keep materials on hand so they can be incorporated into designs. That means that I have to keep collecting and upgrading the materials that I work with.

What are your plans for Halfshell Productions after the 2012 Mardis Gras season ends?  
I love what I am doing right now.  My 2012 plans include creating new designs, working with new materials, and going to more markets to expand my client base.
If you need still some unique Mardi Gras attire or if you’re just interested in taking a look at some of her designs, be sure to check out Tracy Hamlin at Halfshell Productions on etsy.
Photo courtesy of Half Shell Productions

Elizabeth McNair

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Celebrate Black History Month at Macy’s

This post was written by Miranda Humphrey one of Slow Southern Style’s interns. You’ll get a chance to meet her in the upcoming weeks, be on the look out for her bio soon.

February is Black History Month, and Macy’s is celebrating the 100th birthday of noted artist Romare Bearden with a very special art exhibition. New Orleans was the lucky city to preview the collection before anyone else. Read on to get your own sneak peek and check out the Slow Southern Style Facebook page for more pictures. Click here to see the exhibit at a Macy’s near you.

Going into the Macy’s Black History Month Event, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was not  familiar with Romare Bearden, his foundation, or how it all tied into a major retail company. What I found on the second floor of the women’s department at Lakeside Mall in Metairie, LA was quite metaphoric for me and a unique example of art without limitation.

The event is actually a tour throughout select Macy’s in the USA who, for years have honored prominent African Americans during the month of February. The Romare Bearden Foundation, is the oldest nonprofit created by an African American visual artist and is dedicated to preserving and promoting Bearden, especially to new generations of artists. Both the foundation and the retailer have come together this year to celebrate the hundredth birthday of Romare Bearden (1911-1988) and to honor his talent and gift to the world.
Bearden was an artist, a writer, and a musician. He’s been hailed as a visionary, a scholar, an American master. He is best known for his collages which have given him comparison to Pablo Picasso. I immediately connected with Romare Bearden because of his appreciation and expression of art in many forms, but I truly found inspiration and depth in the medium of collage. I too, appreciate all aesthetics, however I consider collages to be my talent. Most people might think of collage art as scrapbooking or something you make with dry macaroni in summer camp. When in fact, almost all fashion, cinema, and so many other projects start as a collage. What draws me towards taking raw materials and rethinking them to evoke an idea, is that it seems to be a style that creates movement, dimension, and symbolism as abstractly as possible.
One of the featured artists and who is now one of my favorites is Alabama-born, Atlanta-based, Charly Palmer; who credits Basquiat and Bearden as muses for his work. I was most drawn to his painting, “Innocence; 2010” An arrangement of true talent acrylic paintstrokes and precise object applique.
The lace detail on the sundress was like looking at a tangible textile and the lattice/damask work carried the beauty and patience of henna and chantilly throughout. All together it was such a lifelike canvas and the feminity of it was well thought and conveyed.
Until attending this highly enjoyable event that included live jazz playing Bearden’s music, great wine, delicious hors d’oeuvors, I thought of collaging as a cathartic hobby. But it truly is one of the most accessible artforms for all people, of all levels of skill and this free celebration is successfully spreading that message.
pictures by Miranda Humphrey
“Innocence-Charly Palmer” courtesy of The Stella Jones Gallery, New Orleans , LA

Slow Southern Style was compensated for this post.
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Trend Alert: Art Deco Jewelry

Many aspects of 1920’s style have been making a comeback, including Art Deco jewelry. Art Deco was a much more modern style that differentiated itself from the intricate and flowy Art Nouveau of previous decades. Inspired by the paintings of Tamara de Limpicka and the architecture of William Van Allen (who designed the Chrysler Building), the jewelry gives off a vibe of modern elegance. With new collections from Pieces, House of Harlow and Kenneth Jay Lane, Art Deco has been given a very chic twist. 

Clockwise from top left:
Ring – House of Harlow
Necklace – Pieces
Earrings – Tarina Tarantino
Ring – Kenneth Jay Lane
Necklace – TopShop
Earrings – Forever 21
Cuff – Ranjana Khan

So which is your favorite piece? 
Are you excited about this trend?

Meghan Wright
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