What to Wear & What to Bring for the Holidays
Local retailers offer the inside scoop on holiday attire and hostess gifts.
Photographed by Cheryl Gerber
The rush of the fall and winter holiday season is already upon us – let the party planning begin! From Halloween through Mardi Gras, there’s at least one holiday a month between October and March. Prepare now for an onslaught of invites with the help of local retailers on what to wear and what to bring to upcoming holiday events.
What to Wear
Mimi Robinson, owner of MIMI, is particularly excited for the season as well as the new look and feel of the store.
“For holidays, there are many ways to look, depending of course, on the event and your own personal style,” says Robinson. “If you want a wonderful cocktail dress, we love Lela Rose’s collection.” The designer and Dallas native, whom Robinson swears “gets” the Southern woman ethic, will make an in-store appearance at MIMI’s Spring 2014 Trunk Show on November 21.
The MIMI Lifestyle, a new store concept, has brought with it new designers in clothes, shoes and accessories, one of which is 3.1 Phillip Llm., a line of versatile, well-priced clothes appropriate for all ages.
“Any partygoer wants to look smashing for a holiday event. My advice? Glam it up!” says Robinson. “If not for the holidays, when?” Robinson suggests glamming up jeans with a sparkling top or a wowing piece of jewelry, and says don’t forget the party shoes.
Ron Jones, Store Manager of FeBe, echoes that sentiment. “I think a jean with a wax finish gives a lot of options. They are versatile because you get the look of leather but the wearability of denim.” He suggests pairing the jeans with a cool jacket and ankle booties for a casual get together or a silk top and colorful stilettos for dressier events.
New to FeBe this season is Marchesa Voyage, the first ready-to-wear collection from the Marchesa designers, better known for dressing stars for the red carpet. New shoe collections include Delman, a French line, and Frye, the classic boot brand.
Leather is big at the Metairie Road store this fall with new silhouettes in tops, such as peplum details and laser-cut panels. Colors are fresh in skirts and dresses, from warm cognacs to rich merlots. FeBe staff favorites include fall collections from Vince, Diane vonFurstenberg, Theory, Joie and Stuart Weitzman.
Leather is big downtown as well, where Sanja Alickovic, owner of Haute (->), is stocking her boutique with leather designs and other fall must-haves. “We are very excited about the leather pieces perfect for New Orleans’ mild fall weather,” says Alickovic. “Laser-cut tops, moto jackets and flirty skirts will all be highlighted.” Complementing accessories include oversized earrings and other fall bling. “Our goal at Haute is to make our customers stand out in a crowd, wearing pieces no one else has,” she says.
Haute will be featuring newcomers on the fashion scene this season, ranging from hand-distressed T-shirts to impeccably tailored blazers. They will be hosting a number of events to showcase these new designers while celebrating the store’s two-year anniversary.
As to holiday events, “Stay true to your personal style,” says Alickovic. “We love simple, classic shapes with all the right details and embellishments. A sequined pencil skirt paired with a flowy top is perfect for so many occasions, day or night – it’s polished and festive simultaneously.”
Ballin’s is currently receiving long and short dresses, as well as attire for any occasion, from designers such as Tadashi, David Meister, Teri Jon, Catherine Regehr, Notte by Marchesa and Lida Baday. As to trends in more casual wear, Cocktail/Evening Buyer Yasemin Iscen says to look for lace and leather detail on pants, tops, skirts and dresses this fall. She also emphasizes embroidery and floral jacquard in dresses and jackets.
“The single most important factor to a successful outfit is a good fit,” says Iscen. “At Ballin’s we love to play with pops of color and balance it with neutral accessories in shoes and purses. From Saints parties to holiday gatherings, great accessories can take your party look to the next level.”
What to Bring
Hostess gifts offer a creative and personal way to say thanks to those who put all the work into providing the fun. From holiday themed decorations to more utilitarian objects, the possibilities are endless.
“One of our favorite new offerings are the Charles Viaencin nature-inspired lids,” says (<-) Judy at the Rink owner, Kay Fausset. “In fact, I just took them as a gift the other day.” The microwave-safe silicone covers create an airtight seal on any smooth-rimmed bowl or pot. They allow for quick cooking and steaming as well as for keeping food fresh longer in place of foil or plastic wrap.
Small vases and drink glasses are also popular at Judy at the Rink. A new line of acrylic cups in the shape of wine, highball and double old-fashioned glasses resemble Waterford crystal, while a locally designed glass line features New Orleans themes and designs.
“It’s always fun to get into the theme,” says Fausset, who also suggests holiday decorations such as door decorations, napkins, glassware, candles and more. A year-round carrier of off-white and natural colored hand-rolled beeswax candles, Judy at the Rink brings in red and green for Christmas as well as purple, green and gold for Mardi Gras.
Candles are a common theme as hostess gifts, and Rivers Spencer Interiors offers unique collections as well, including VivVeŕe Living Candles. VivVeŕe recently introduced the quintessential Southern scent, “Magnolia and Moss,” to their Chandler Series line of candles. While burning, the golden wax turns to a rich brown. While cooling, a chartreuse hue gradually returns to its original golden state.
Additionally, Rivers Spencer recommends gifts such as linen tea towels, soaps, and Lady Primrose lotions and bath salts, simple pleasures that offer both beauty and function. The Rancé line of soaps dates back to 1795 and was historically favored by Napoleon and Josephine. The Rancé family continues the tradition and uses high quality flowers cultivated in the Grasse region of France to produce their extracts, soaps, and aromatherapy products.
Hostesses looking for impressive serving pieces or beautiful tablescapes will also find plenty at Rivers Spencer Interiors, such as Michael Wainwright serving platters that incorporate 24 karat gold and porcelain in various artful collections.
Hostesses and guests alike will appreciate the designs and services offered at Betty Hunley Designs (->). Custom party invitations and accessories and fine stationery are just a few of the things they do, and a plethora of new designs are available for the holiday season.
“Anna Griffin, one of our favorite designers, has a gorgeous collection of intricately cut invitations and we just can’t get enough,” says Tanya Henriques Kinnet, designer at Betty Hunley. “Additionally, we are carrying a selection of Drew Brees Saints Jersey door decorations, which were designed exclusively for our store – a fun item for one of the most festive times in our city.”
For hosts and hostesses, Kinnet says to consider the invitation the kick-off. Whimsical printed cups and napkins are fun touches that contribute to the hospitality extended by the host. For guests, Kinnet recommends a simple hostess gift. “Simplicity is valuable. A hostess gift should reflect warm gratitude, which is conveyed best in simple, personal thought,” she says.
Arrive in Style
Between your wardrobe and impeccable timing, you certainly put the “fashionable” in arriving fashionably late, but the arrival itself should be just as stylish your new holiday garb.
“We cater to the personal experience,” says Robert Daspit, owner of Lagniappe Concierge, a luxury transportation and limo service. “Personal parties, holiday events, and romantic dinners – we offer the finest luxury vehicles and offer them at affordable rates, better than most in the city.”
Transportation services such as Lagniappe Concierge have their advantages during the holiday season, including safe travel for those partaking of the eggnog, wine, or old fashions. Limos are also an effective and fun way to impress a date. Those in the corporate world may find it a creative way to show thanks to valued clients and employees.
No matter the occasion, traveling in a stylish and worry-free luxury vehicle is a great way to extend the fun beyond the event itself.
Ballin’s : 721 Dante St., 866-4367, BallinsLtd.com
Betty Hunley Designs : 6057 Magazine St., 895-2870, BettyHunley.com
FeBe : 474 Metairie Road, Suite 102, Metairie, 835-5250
Haute : 725 Magazine St., 522-8687, HauteNola.com
Judy at the Rink : 2727 Prytania St., 891-7018, JudyAtTheRink.com
Lagniappe Concierge : 256-227 6, LagniappeConcierge.com
MIMI : 5500 Magazine St., 269-6464, MimiNola.com
Rivers Spencer Inter iors: 4610 Magazine St., 609-2436, RiversSpencer.com