What I Wore: A Yankee Wedding

This past year I’ve been doing quite a bit of writing for New Orleans Bride Magazine*, so it was fitting to attend a wedding while I’m knee deep in interviews with different businesses around town.

I’ve never been to Rome, NY and with a weather forecast of highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s I packed a mish mosh of summer and winter weight fabrics. Not wanting to overdress for an intimate rural ceremony, I revisited a favorite dress I wore for a feature in Times-Picayune’s Wish. I was a bit thinner the last go ’round- a not so firm reminder (see what I did there) I need to hit up the gym.

Rue Belle sent over these beautiful gold earrings and I’ve been wearing them nonstop. I love lightweight over sized danglers- there’s nothing worse than having achy earlobes at the end of the day.
gold fill and turquoise earrings c/o Rue Belle
dress via Armoire
cashmere Minnie Rose sweater
DVF scarf
DKNY pumps via Buffalo Exchange

*If you’d like to dig into some writing fit for a bride here are a few pieces I wrote for the magazine.

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Spring is in the air, not that it ever left this year in New Orleans.. With spring, comes brunches-alfresco, horse races, weddings, music festivals, and “save the dates”.
As one either meanders or rushes frantically along Magazine Street this season searching for the right outfit or accessories. There is a beautiful, vibrant shop that is the perfect way to start or end NOLA’s equivalent of an outdoor galleria.
Old.New.Blue references bridal language, but this mother-daughter run shop goes above and beyond the wedding experience. It is the place to pull it all together and has everything for the girly debutante to a chic rebel.
The special gift for a guy, a present for a groom/groomsmen, or a man who just likes to shop, is available at Old.New.Blue as well and they have even held gentlemen-only style events.

This August will be the one year anniversary, however the traditions the store promotes feel like it’s been around much longer.
One of the vital roles Old.New.Blue brings to the city, is the focus on hosting events that connect with local charities. Their most recent benefit on Saturday, March 10th, was a Hat Day in the store hosted by Les Dames Chapeaux, “The Hat Ladies”. Proceeds of a pre-taxed percentage of sales for the event went toward the Second Harvest Food Bank After School Dinner Program.
Faye Thomas of The Hat Ladies was available to provide insight into hat culture and also advise on topics such as someone considering a type of hat to wear, refurbishments, or consultation on how to work one into an outfit.
A hat is as vintage as it is avant gardè and New Orleans is the perfect city for the expertise of Les Dames Chapeaux.
Ribbons, feathers, lace, and gemstones, all created a progressive yet classic feel that made each hat accessible and just waiting to frame the perfect face.
The collection on display ranging from sun hats, headbands, and bridal pieces, showed their  talent and versatility with the materials, architecture, and beauty; to create a subtle or bold statement when adorning a hat.

Born and raised in New Orleans, co-owners Janie Glade (mother) and now San Francisco resident Marilyn Rigby (daughter) of Old.New.Blue have not only created an environment for which to give back to the community but are establishing themselves as an indispensable tool when it comes to pulling off a polished look and quintessential for anyone anticipating a wedding.
In one place, there is access to fashion consultation and styling,etiquette advice, full service event and wedding planning, just to name a few- in this dazzling and well appointed retail experience. The uniqueness of Old.New.Blue. is right at home on Magazine Street with something for everyone to accessorize with and so much more.
Photos: Chriss Knight, Publicist
Model: Patrice Jones
6117 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70118
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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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Guest Post: Wedding Cake and Custom Made Cavortress

Today I’m very pleased to share some space on Slow Southern Style with Katie Thompson, a furniture designer based in Charleston, South Carolina and newly wed with an eye for beautiful clothing designed below the Mason-Dixon line. Katie was sweet enough to share with y’all the story behind her custom made wedding gown, the designer who created it, and her beautiful wedding pictures. Enjoy!

Being fortunate enough to have lived in Charleston, SC for five years I was able to meet a lot of very talented people, and local designer Julie Wheat being one of my favorites.  Wheat’s eye for timeless style, amazing fabric and quality makes it hard to resist her designs.  Her aptly named brand Cavortress evokes a sense of strong feminine style with a sweet yet sharp vintage edge.  The Cavortress woman is the life of the party, and has a presence all her own.  Cavortress first caught my attention in Spring 2010 with a dynamic vintage collection, and I’ve been addicted ever since.

(Striking a pose in Cavortress vintage)

My husband and I were engaged last December, and in March I traveled with Wheat to the inaugural Style X at SXSW where Julie was showcasing the new Cavortress swimwear collection.  While driving across the country, our conversations naturally led to fashion, and to what I was going to wear for my impending nuptials.

I told her that I was really struggling to find “that” dress.  All of my life I’ve always done things just a little bit differently than most people – and Julie knew that about me.  And given my profession as a custom furniture designer, I felt that I was going to be hard pressed to find a gown off the rack that I truly loved.

I had previously had the thought of having Wheat make a custom dress for me, but never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be so lucky.  Needless to say I was speechless when Julie said “I could make your dress!”  Dream. Come. True!

Our travels brought us to New Orleans for the first night of our trip, and the next morning we walked around the city.  We discussed shapes, styles, and fabrics for the dress as we perused the flavors of the Big Easy.  I knew I wanted something form fitting with sleeves.  I also wanted to steer away from too much “frilly stuff,” as I liked the look of simple lace and clean silks – a vintage and classic feel, with notes of modern elegance.

One thing that really shows Julie’s natural talent as a designer – she knew my body, style, and look better than I knew myself.  She also truly listened to my ideas not only about the dress, but also about the wedding.  The location, season, and even the reception were all considered for the details of the dress.  Eventually a silk gown with capped sleeves, a bias-cut top, with a sweetheart neckline and a removable train was formed.

(A close up of the sleeves and neckline.)

Fast forward a few weeks, Julie is Los Angeles and sends me some photos of fabrics and trims she had found.  Julie is a connoisseur of deadstock fabrics, and found a “almost-white-but-not-quite” heavy silk that was a pure delight to touch.

Now being a designer specializing in the bespoke, I thought I was very familiar with the amount of time and the meticulous process of building something custom, but I really had no clue when it came to dress making.  With the wedding date set at October 22nd, I must admit that in mid-June I was really beginning to stress out about the wedding, and freaked about the dress not being ready in time.  Thankfully Julie was very understanding and explained how the dress was to be built, and that it was actually better if we waited a little longer.  Most brides tend to lose weight before their wedding, whether from stress or just getting in shape, and the closer to the big day the better, as there would be less of a need for last-minute alterations.

Once we began fittings in the beginning of August, the process flew by.  Over the course of the next few weeks, I spent several long days with Julie as she fitted, measured, sewed, ironed, and built my dress piece by piece.  It was amazing to watch it come together, and to watch Wheat’s incredible abilities.  In a world of mass manufacturing, it is refreshing to see a designer who has fine-tuned the fundamentals of hand-crafting fabulous clothing.

Julie was very open and thoughtful in including me in every detail and decision during the construction of the dress.  This was fantastic as I was able to not only see but feel how the details of the dress fit me.  From the hem to the sleeves, to even the placement of the trim, I was able to be very involved and that took a lot of the stress out of the process.

The dress was completed towards the end of September, and a few weeks later, the door swings open in the church and there is Joseph at the altar.  I’m wearing the most beautiful dress I’ve ever owned, and it’s truly MY dress.  My husband tells me he loves the fact that I’m not “common,” and the dress truly fit my personality, as no one had ever seen a dress quite like that before.  

I was incredibly comfortable and confident in the dress – I danced my ass off and hugged and kissed friends and family all night with ease.  I was also thrilled that Julie was able to watch the dress go down the aisle.

I am truly grateful to have had this experience, and especially to Julie for making it possible.  Her professionalism and knowledge pushed me to consider things about the dress I never would of thought of.  It was perfect.  It was truly one-of-a-kind, fit for a Cavortress, and I couldn’t of been happier with it.

Cavortress will be showcasing at Style X at SXSW again in March 2012, and can be found at Cavortress.com.

Photo Credit: Ben Williams
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kc thomassie designs

Ladies let’s face it, nothing makes us feel glitzier than a tuft of frivolousness sitting atop our head. Southerners are known for their fanciful headgear, from the Kentucky Derby, to church hats even the crowns our Mardi Gras queens wear we love resembling peacocks.Recent Samford University graduate Kaci Thomassie satisfies cravings for the fantastical with her handmade, one of a kind creations here in Louisiana.
.Tres Femme KTD Couture Headpiece

Drawing from her degree in theater with a concentration in costume design and inspired by vintage clothing Kaci works with a variety of materials including feathers, leather, unique fabrics, vintage buttons, and beads. It’s no wonder why her fascinators are sought after by brides to be, especially on the North Shore. Check out her work in person at this Saturday’s Objects of Adornment at Du Mois Gallery on Freret Street. Can’t make it to the opening? The show will run from October 8th until the end of the month.

KTD Couture Pink and Black Feather Fascinator
Peacock Statement Necklace

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Windows and Wedding Belles

Split second decisions are made when we are casually strolling down the street shopping or zipping by in our cars. If a storefront doesn’t catch our eye we simply might never wander in so it is vital to have curb appeal, to borrow a real estate term. Wedding Belles and The Stationer are taking a fun and fresh approach to their window dressing by handing over the reigns to one lucky aspiring visual merchandiser in their first ever window design contest.

In order to enter submit 4 sketches and a 100 word description of your vision by 9/9. The winner will be contacted on 9/10 and must be able to install their design by 9/18. In addition to having bragging rights for designing the prettiest window on Magazine Street the winner will also get a gift card of their choice and Wedding Belles will cover their materials up to $300. Submit via email netta@sparklebc.com or by drop off your sketches at the store. 

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Review: Southern Living Weddings Guide

I’m going to admit something to y’all and promise you won’t disown me.

I didn’t have a big, fancy southern style wedding. I eloped and got married next to a waterfall on the Havasupai Indian Reservation inside the Grand Canyon. That’s right- in lieu of a guest list as long as the train on a wedding gown it was just us and a friend, the officiant and her son plus a random rez dog that came for the ceremony then promptly left when it was over. Instead of being met with a shower of rice out the chapel we got a blessing of cool water from Navajo Falls*



That’s not to say that I didn’t buy tons of bridal magazines or pine for wedding dresses before the big day. I poured over magazines looking for suggestions but nothing ever seemed quite right. We did end up having an intimate reception (under 100 people, intimate by southern standards) when we came back that was the perfect size and didn’t cost as much as a brand new car. Even though I’m already married I’ve been thinking about renewing my vows for our 10th anniversary which is a short 3.5 years away aka a great excuse to buy a fancy dress.

So when Southern Living Magazine contacted me to review their new wedding guide I was thrilled to see how things have changed since 2004 when I said those simple words that mean so much-  “I do.”

Ceremony Venue

At first I was a little skeptical that the book could offer up anything of interest to me since after all I’m not exactly your standard southern belle. I’ve got big ol’ tattoos, I didn’t change my last name and up until two years ago we didn’t even have a joint bank account. So much to my delight when the guide arrived on my doorstep I couldn’t be more pleased with the contents. There is everything that a young, modern and (dare I say it) hip couple could need in this guide. If I had a copy of it back when I was planning my reception I would have been much better off. From tips on dessert tables to the proper way to do a toast everything that piques your interest is here.

There are plenty of clever, fresh decorating tips and easy and fun ways to personalize everything from the flower arrangements to the place cards. However my favorite part of the guidebook were the 24 couples that chose to let the magazine share their special day. I was impressed with the range of styles showcased within the guide’s pages. From the traditional church wedding to a Balkan gypsy band leading guests to the reception site there is a little something for every bride no matter what your taste is. Southern style is so much more than pearls and “Yes ma’ams” and I am glad that Southern Living Weddings mirrored that. So no matter if you are planning on honoring your alma mater or having your French Bulldog walk the aisle with you there is a little bit of inspiration for every southern gal here. Pick up your own copy before April 22nd. The wedding guide will be re-released on May 13th if you don’t get a chance to pick one up before then.

Bridal Party

*Note that Navajo Falls is no longer in existence due to a flood that destroyed the waterfall a few years ago.

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