Giving in Vogue
Five fashionable New Orleanians celebrate beloved charities
Jeff Strout Photographs
Style is about much more than what’s in vogue. It isn’t defined by race, age or price. Instead, as these five fashionable New Orleanians exhibit, style is as much about who you are as it is about what you wear.
These locals show us how they interpret myriad dress codes by showing you a favorite outfit they would wear to one of their most beloved charity galas. Take their outfits as guidelines and remember that, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.”
Occupation: Husband and father
Favorite philanthropic events: (My wife) Katrina and I support many different organizations. Our hearts are pulled toward the organizations that focus on youth and their struggle with hopelessness. That hopelessness comes in many forms: fatherlessness, unequal educational opportunities and misrepresentation. There are so many different organizations doing incredible work in our city.
What is appropriate attire for this event: Most events I attend require Business Casual. For that I wear a shirt with a coat or vest; tie is optional, but swagger is mandatory.
Favorite dress code: Classically Comfortable: This is achieved by taking timeless pieces – the solid white button-up, tailored chinos, loafers – and tweaking them in such a way to show your individual creativity.
Is your significant other well dressed: Imagine Grace Kelly’s style with the presence of Clair Huxtable. Katrina is very well dressed, but it’s her gentle, gracious and loving spirit that shines brighter than any clothes that she might put on.
Favorite designers: Banana Republic
Where do you shop locally: Lakeside Mall
Whose style do you admire: L. Kasimu Harris has a talent for fashion. Marques Colston’s fashion is timeless. Courtney Roby’s clothes always look like they’re fresh out of the wrapper. Malcom Jenkins and I have an ongoing fashion feud; although he dresses well … I’ll never tell him that!
Favorite outfit: A button-up oxford with sleeves rolled perfectly, colored chinos and white Vans.
Richard Lee Mathis
Occupation: Owner and President, Symmetry Jewelers and Designers
Chosen event to represent: Southern Rep’s annual gala
Why did you choose this philanthropic event: I’ve had an association with Southern Rep since its founding in 1986. As New Orleans’ only professional “equity” theater, I feel it’s an important part of our artistic and cultural heritage and heart. I am currently the president of the board of directors, and our current mission is to find a permanent home.
What is appropriate attire for this event: Cocktail: I usually wear this white linen with a dress shirt and tie, but since we’ll be at the Windsor Court for this year’s gala, I’m wearing a green seersucker suit with a pale green collarless cotton shirt.
Favorite dress code: Black Tie, as long as it’s not summer: I’ve always thought it ironic that most men have basically the same look at these events with a few variations, but the ladies get to wear completely different outfits. Since I have a jewelry business that creates original work, I’ll occasionally substitute a jewelry piece that can be worn on the collar button instead of a bowtie
Is your significant other well dressed: I’m married to the famous “cookie lady” Joan Farrell-Mathis, and she’s so busy with her business that too often coincides with special events that I have to attend many by myself. She is always elegant and entertaining when she’s in attendance.
Favorite designers: The only reason I look on the inside is to see how well the piece is made; I don’t look at labels. I don’t purchase trends, I just wear what I think looks good on me. Everyone would look better if they’d carry themselves with confidence.
Where do you shop locally: Perlis, Brooks Brothers, Rubensteins, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and many more
Favorite outfit: Workout clothes; I have hundreds of combinations.
Dr. Deirdre Hooper
Occupation: Dermatologist & Co-founder, Audubon Dermatology
Chosen event to represent: Preservation Resource Center’s “Holiday Home Tour Patron Party”
Why did you choose this philanthropic event: This event is always a wonderful start to the holiday season and a great chance to appreciate the unique homes and character of our city.
What is appropriate attire for this event: Dressy Cocktail: I interpret that as a fun, festive dress, sparkling accessories and fabulous shoes.
Favorite dress code: Cocktail, because I like to see everyone dressed up, but on their own agenda and able to express their personal style.
Is your significant other well dressed: Of course! Erica with J Hilburn has worked magic to keep him comfortable but stylish by using great fabrics, and most importantly, great fit.
Favorite designers: Michael Kors, J Crew, J Brand, Vince, COS, Joie, Narcisco Rodriguez, Alexander McQueen, Roland Mouret and Monique L’Hullier; Saint Laurent for shoes and Bottega Veneta for bags
Where do you shop locally: MIMI, Angelique Shoe, Jean Therapy, CeCe Shoe, Em’s, Basics Underneath and Saks Fifth Avenue; I love all the small boutiques and try to shop locally as much as possible.
Whose style do you admire: Nia Terezakis really introduced me to classic, chic style and the idea what you can be stylish all day long without spending a fortune by finding quality basics that flatter your figure.
Favorite outfit: Great fitting jeans, a perfect V-neck white T-shirt and flat boots or sandals with my leopard Louis Vuitton scarf, Ray Ban aviators, a light weight leather jacket and the gold bracelet my husband bought for me in Italy. But my No. 1 don’t-leave-home-without-it accessory is SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Katy Marrero Weil
Chosen event to represent: The Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s “O What A Night” gala
Why did you choose this philanthropic event: When I moved back from New York City a few years ago my friend Julia Reed immediately roped me into joining the Ogden’s board. I have always loved and collected Southern art, and now have an even better for appreciation for the culture and the unique nature of the South and its wide variety of artists.
What is appropriate attire for this event: Creative Black Tie: Most important at this event is to wear dancing shoes. It’s a formal event; elegant but relaxed.
Favorite dress code: Come As You Are: Whether that’s a caftan and bare feet or your best vintage flee market find with your grandmother’s pearls. It doesn’t matter what you wear, it’s more about what you have to offer; be yourself, be interesting and have fun.
Is your significant other well dressed: He’s much better dressed than I am; I would say that 60 percent of our walk-in closet is his. But I’m not complaining; I love his style, his scent, his joie de vivre and I’m always delighted to be on his arm.
Favorite designers: Etro, Lela Rose, Roland Mouret, Anthropologie, AG jeans, Splendid tees ad Calypso cashmere
Where do you shop locally: The last places I shopped were Victoria’s and Priorities
Whose style do you admire: My 11-year-old daughter, Merilee. She has an incredible eye and puts together the most effortlessly cool outfits. She rocks.
Favorite outfit: My Alexander McQueen tuxedo suit with diamond studs and some kick-ass Manolos – like my camouflage pony hair ones.
Chosen event to represent: St. Michael’s Special School’s “Blue Rose Ball”
Why did you choose this philanthropic event: I met Sister Lillian when she first arrived in New Orleans and was encouraged to volunteer and support the special children who attend there.
What is appropriate attire for this event: It’s a dressy evening with cocktails, dinner and dancing, so a cocktail dress or ball gown.
Favorite dress code: Casual so that I can wear jeans and be comfortable, or Dressy Casual, which is perfect for a dinner with friends.
Is your significant other well dressed: My beloved late husband was always impeccably well dressed.
Favorite designers: Armani & St. John
Where do you shop locally: Saks Fifth Avenue
Whose style do you admire: Audrey Hepburn because she was so ladylike, serene and sophisticated
Favorite outfit: Black leather cutout jacket and white St. John pants with strappy sandals and silver jewelry