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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Jess Leigh Jewelry

Slow Southern Style is going to be featuring a few guest bloggers each Monday to liven the place up and get some fresh voices on a variety of subjects. This week you’ll meet Jess Leigh of Jess Leigh Jewels. In addition to designing her own line of jewelry Jess also works at Lola Boutique here in New Orleans. Stop in, pick up a piece and tell her you saw her here on Slow Southern Style!

Jess Leigh Jewels are uniquely inspired, one of a kind jewelry created by Jessica Leigh. Independently designed and locally handmade, each piece is crafted with love and a passion for a beautiful life. Finding antique pieces that have been neglected or just out of style, Jess Leigh takes these babbles and jewelry apart to breathe new life and style into them. Most of her line is made up of one of a kind pieces by using this method of deconstruction and reusing of materials. With a wide range of items starting with fun, costume pieces and extending to beautiful, semi-precious stone pieces, there is something for every girl. Wear a pretty little thing and know you are very special and loved, just like your Jess Leigh piece. 

          When I am asked what inspires me, I immediately go completely blank. Communicating my inspiration has long been plagued by stage-fright! It never fails and it is these moments I wish that talking in pictures and colors were appropriate for someone my age. Since it is not, I have to really dig deep to find what appeals to my creative side in order to express it in actual words.

           Beauty. I grew up in rural Ohio and have rich, vivid memories from that part of my life. Dandelion bouquets, barefoot summers, the smell of fresh cut grass, lightning bugs in jars with tin foil lids, the local ice cream stand, spending time on the lake with my family, all still course through my veins like it was yesterday. I can see the echoes of my childhood enthusiasm in the pieces that I make. Now that I’m a grown-up, I am still quite captivated by the beauty of everyday life. Adoring the flowers while walking, driving down the lakefront or riding my bike along the bayou, admiring my neighbor’s butterfly gardens, and embracing the true love of friends are all examples of day to day inspiration my jewelry reflects.

          Adventure.  A fresh shipment of stones just begging to be transformed into something unique for someone to cherish inspires me. My close friends know this very well. I start toting my little kits everywhere and I’m pretty sure a few of them have found a bead or two after I have left their homes. Other times, I will work non-stop at my little cottage until the entirety of the stock is new jewelry to behold. The search for a dusty old gem buried in an antique store that I can rescue and make sparkle again is one of my favorite pastimes. I get a rush when I see something I know will be amazing if used another way and my mind starts spitting out ideas! My appetite for a new outcome and the desire to see what a few hours can create keeps me coming back for more.

Photo by Mark Gholston 

          Strength. I am a transplant to this beautiful city. I have called New Orleans my home since December 2009. My journey here has had many twists and turns, but I somehow know this is where I was always supposed to end up. I have felt more alive and more at home here than anywhere I have ever been. I love everything about New Orleans. This city has also had to suffer hardships and through some miracle has only grown stronger and more beautiful. Hope and love have prevailed. The human spirit cannot be defeated; and I too, have grown and healed here. Thank you New Orleans, you have given me more than inspiration!

Photo by Mark Gholston

          Life. I believe in feeling immersed in the things that make us happy.  There are so many wonderful encounters, new friends to meet, and beautiful things that I have already experienced, it is hard to imagine there is more. The best part is that there is! I look forward to more inspiration. I am thankful for everything and all my precious loved ones that have been inspirational to me. More than anything I am happy and that inspires me the most. 
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Giveaway! Emma Graham Designs- Schooled in the South

When talk of fashion school comes up most people instantly think of scoping out schools in New York City or Los Angeles in order to gain experience and earn their degrees. However there are a surprising number options in the south, including the program at the University of South Carolina.

Emma Graham is a new clothing line from the design team Jackie Graham and Emma Mahon. Although they are based in Boston Emma received her fashion merchandising degree from the University of South Carolina and studied abroad in London and Paris while in college. Their inaugural spring 2011 collection will  effortlessly blend into the young southern woman’s wardrobe. The designs are very much inspired by a Southern lifestyle and are the perfect companion whether you are wearing a derby hat to the Carolina Cup or a baseball cap to a tailgating party. The line is not only sold online but you can pick up a piece at many boutiques located throughout the South.

I’m also pleased to announce that Emma Graham Designs was gracious enough to sponsor a giveaway to Slow Southern Style readers! One very lucky lady will win the Dayna nautical skirt pictured here. All you have to do to enter is:
1. Like Slow Southern Style on Bloglovin’ or subscribe to the newsletter.
2.  Go to the Emma Graham Designs website and comment on this post which design is your favorite.
Look how cute the back is! To sweeten the deal this baby is reversible. Hurry up and enter soon, the giveaway laste through April 8th. 
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Alicia Zenobia- Right at home in New Orleans

The fact that New Orleans has three fashion weeks in 2011 is testament to the untapped talent this city has to offer. When you think of southern based designers proper pearls often come to mind but Alicia Zenobia has a different aesthetic that remains out of the ordinary yet fits right in. Having won this year’s Alegria Fashion Show she has already proven herself here in the Big Easy. I asked Alicia to describe her background and how she keeps one step ahead of the pack.
Designer: Alicia Zenobia
I came to New Orleans on a whim, to work on a collection for my line, Autonomous Clothing, for four months. When I realized I was in an artist’s paradise, I never went back to New York, where I had been living and working in the fashion industry for 5 years. I come from a sculptural background, having studied sculpture at RISD (I got my fashion chops at FIT afterwards). I wanted to make art three dimensionally, because I felt that it was more tangible to viewers. I got into fashion to be even more accessible to viewers both as participants and spectators. Just about everyone wears clothes…or as I like to say, everyone wears a costume every day.
Designer: Alicia Zenobia
There’s a certain satisfaction out of making the wearer feel exquisitely stunning, while entertaining onlookers with a visual spectacular. That being said, most of my work is loud, geared for the outgoing, and brings the underground to the forground. Ironically, I think I try to make the people who wear my clothes look as naked as they possibly can, without feeling self conscious…in fact actively making them feel empowered by their sassiness. I’ve had so many models who were initially nervous to wear anything too risque, come back after a show or a shoot feeling like the finest thing that ever walked the earth. And everyone around them is in agreeance.
Grecian Goddess Maxi Gown, one size fits all
I come a little from the left with my look and stylings, but it’s just because I’m constantly seeking to create something that isn’t just rehashed shit. I want to stun people, at least a little. I want to entertain! I want people to want to look at the infinite possibility of creativity. I want people to realize that they’ve got something to offer, that everyone’s got sexy in them, that they can be whatever character they want in the play that is their lives.

Also, in a more practical way, I don’t see the point in making a garment similar to one you could pick up at Forever21 for 20 bucks. Let them buy the thing for 20 bux, not the $150+ that I’d have to charge to make a one of a kind piece that, for all practical purposes, could be from Forever21. I want to make something that makes the wearer stand out, not blend in.

Exquisite Feather Hat/Headpiece, one size fits most
Catch Alicia competing for the top designer award at Fashion Week New Orleans tonight at the Sugar Mill. Her clothes are available for purchase via  Autonomous Clothing.
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Spring Time Sweaters from Lia Molly

Even though the South received some unexpectedly chilly weather this past week that doesn’t mean retailers are giving pause to it. Sit tight my friends, because spring will be here before you know it and you wouldn’t want to be caught off guard and unprepared. After all didn’t the Groundhog see his shadow? Or wait is it if he doesn’t see his shadow? Oh nevermind.

New Orleans’ knitwear designer Lia Molly is getting ready for warmer weather with her spring 2011 line, available at her online shop starting this Sunday, February 6th but you my dear readers get an exclusive sneak preview before the images are even on her site!

I asked designer Seema Sudan to describe the collection for y’all and was immediately giddy over her reference to golden capuchin monkeys. Seema started working on the collection over nine months ago, before Prada’s monkey prints came out so it seems like Miuccia wasn’t the only one with primates on her mind.

In Seema’s words:
“I’m just in my only little world here in New Orleans inspired by the artists and the magical world we live in in here. I love bright fun colors these days, a bit pop art I guess. The smart magical women who love my sweaters inspire me more and more each season. Our model/muse this season is Rebecca Rebouche a New Orleans painter. The collection was shot on location…whimsical adventure thru Miranda Lake’s garden.”

So what else is there to expect from the spring 2011 collection? There are jackets in a variety of shapes, dainty knitted lace blouses and twisted nautical pieces. Special details are Lia Molly’s signature with Japanese and atomic patterns in shades of cornflower blue and pops of red and navy. Lia Molly is ready to enjoy a  “warm happy optimistic spring” and what better way to celebrate than with a charming new spring sweater?
Which one of these is your favorite? What would you wear it with?
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Billy Reid- Southern Traditions Turned Cool

Perhaps you’ve heard of Billy Reid, the 2010 Vogue CFDA award winner and  GQ menswear designer of the year.

 In my opinion Billy Reid and Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin are THE Southern designers. As my quest to unearth more Southern designers continues I always think of their brands as the epitome of Southern style. And what is Southern style? It’s a question I ask all of my interviews and the answer is always varied yet similar. I’ll let y’all duke that one out in the comments.

Billy grew up in Louisiana but now lives in Florence, Alabama with his wife and kids. He has stores all across the country but from the pictures I’ve seen each really evokes a strong southern aesthetic that I love. Dark, well worn wood, plenty of antiques, chandeliers, pretty much how I’d want my home to look if I could get past opening a can of paint.

Even though his brand is known for it’s menswear the women’s clothing is equally as attractive. I own a pair of Billy Reid jeans and a Henley and I can certainly attest to the quality of the clothing.  The allure behind Billy’s clothing is the ease of the collection. This isn’t trendy, flash in a pan styles but rather great classic southern style that can be worn again and again, year after year that gets better with age.

There has been a lot of talk about heritage brands, particularly in the realm of men’s clothing. A collaboration with Stetson and Levi’s was seemingly inevitable and a natural partnership at that. For the Levi’s collection Billy combed the companies’ rich archives to gain inspiration and insight on the brand’s history. The result was a harmonious blend of Levi’s trademark and Billy’s personal touch.

2010 was a firm indicator that the fashion world has taken notice of Southern sensibilities and has embraced it. Billy Reid is a great spokesman for the stylings of those of us below the Mason Dixon line and Yankees that get the lifestyle.

Big thanks to Mr. Reid’s mom for sending me the pictures to publish here. I was pleasantly surprised and more than flattered when his mother, T.J. Reid contacted me to thank me for helping promote her son. I mean lil’ old Slow Southern Style can’t really compete with  high falutin’ fashion magazines such as Vogue and GQ so I was extremely grateful for her kind words.

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No Trouble Here- Troubadour

Over the past year Slow Southern Style has evolved into my personal hunt for southern fashion designers. With a little bit of luck I find some great individuals to feature here, from small time Etsy artists to people that have worked in the fashion industry with successful lines. I was most recently thrilled to find Troubadour, a label based in Charleston, South Carolina.

With her southern upbringing designer Lindsey Carter has used her background to influence her label Troubadour. Her line is described as “wreckless preppy with a twist of edge” which sounds like sheer perfection to me.

Carter is no stranger to the world of fashion, having interned with Rebecca Minkoff and L.A.M.B. as well as working for J. Crew and Madewell 1937. In 2006 Carter got married, moved back to the South and started designing Carter Humphrey, a high end line of women’s golf wear. This inaugural entrepreneurial experience paved the way for her Troubadour label.

My take on the line is  utterly feminine with an eye for great details and draping. The line maintains a sense of chic without being boring basics or trendy items that can only be worn for a few seasons.

An added bonus for readers; get a free t-shirt with your online purchase if you mention Slow Southern Style!

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Cocodri- Honoring Louisiana’s Yard Dog

One thing that I have a deep appreciation for is reptiles. I literally grew up with a swamp for a backyard. There was my house, a levee, and the swamp, in that order. Needless to say we spent many of summers playing out on the boat, either water skiing, fishing, or just swimming. We always knew which canals were off limits to skiing and the sign for “alligator behind you, don’t drop the rope” was usually my maw maw frantically waving her arms up and down.

Alligators were brought to the brink of extinction but due to conservation efforts have proliferated and have established healthy populations. Due to an over abundance of this ancient animal alligator farms* can be found all over southern Louisiana, harvesting the reptiles for their meat and skin.

Cocodri is a small Lafayette based company that elevates this beautiful animal’s hide into art. Working with local trappers and craftsman each item is individually designed to showcase the beauty of Louisiana’s natural resources.
Cocodri carries wallets, belts, flasks, and women’s clutches. These items would make a great gift that can be passed down from generation to generation.
Purchases can me made at Cocodri’s website or at the following locations:
New Orleans
Style Lab for Men
Ralph Goodyear
*Okay now I’m going to geek out on everyone. I do NOT condone buying any other reptile product. Many wild populations have been critically depleted due to taking animals out of the wild for their skin. In fact California banned python products. Every purchase you make is a VOTE saying “Yes I support this”. If you choose to enjoy these goods consider buying them secondhand or vintage, that way you are not directly supporting illegal activities.
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Sweater Weather with LiaMolly

If and when the weather gets consistently cold southern girls everywhere rejoice and feverishly start pulling  sweaters out of storage. I’m keeping my tank tops handy but for now I’m enjoying this unexpected cold snap and am excited to wear some new knits that I recently purchased. If like me  you are in need of some pretty new sweaters to warm you up than look no further than New Orleans’ own LiaMolly.

Designer Seema Sudan doesn’t believe in “disposable clothing” so she strives to create sweaters that are of heirloom quality. Her clothing has been featured in places like Lucky Magazine, sold at Bloomingdale’s and boutiques country wide and even did a kids’ line for Anthropologie.

Named after her two children and inspired by a recovering post Katrina New Orleans LiaMolly is all about “quality craftsmanship” and items that can be passed down from generation to generation. Her customer is also less concerned with passing trends and appreciates beautiful, well made pieces that can be worn for years to come.

The company strives to sustain local economies by having a large presence in local boutiques. Even if you can’t pick up one of Seema’s creations locally you can enjoy 15% off your by using the code “slowsouthernstyle” at her online shop.

So do you have a new sweater that you can’t wait to wear? Or are you relying on old favorites to get you through this winter?

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Lula Kate is great

At this time of year everyone starts thinking about holiday parties. While I am all about purchasing a new frock for each party season I also want a good standby that I can rely on year after year. I recently discovered Lula Kate and while they tout themselves as bridesmaid designers these frocks are chic and most importantly transcend the bridal party look, meaning you’ll have a cocktail dress at the ready for a number of events.

Lula Kate is based in Charleston, South Carolina and designer Katherine McDonald wanted to create fun, simple clothing inspired by the elegance of her atypical southern home. Her vision was a success and her designs can be custom made to your liking. Pick your bodice, colors, fabrics, and accessories. Need a formal gown? No problem. Want something short yet elegant? That’s possible as well.

“”LulaKate dresses have become synonymous with chic, southern elegance. Because LulaKate started as a classic ready-to-wear women’s clothing collection, our dresses are truly worthy of being worn time and time again. The versatility of each individual dress will have your bridesmaid’s thanking you long after the wedding.”

For ordering information visit Lula Kate today!
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