Fashion Meets Philanthropy

4 New Orleanians who give back while looking good.

What we wear often reveals our personalities. Our collective sartorial sense as New Orleanians is eclectic and rarely boring, drawing from a range of influences.

In a city where it’s equally acceptable to show up in a creative costume as it is a linen suit or an elegant ball gown, it’s difficult to choose just a few of the most fashionable.

But we chose to celebrate the following individuals — and their taste in dress — because their styles reflect their vibrant personalities as high-achieving, generous philanthropists who passionately support a range of causes. After all, giving back to the community will always be en vogue.


Dr. Juan Jorge Gershanik

Age: 77 years young

Occupation: Physician

Event you have chosen to represent:  I selected Casa Argentina’s annual tango-themed event because combines part of my cultural heritage with a philanthropic endeavor.

What is the dress code for this event and what would you say is appropriate attire for that dress code? Dress code is cocktail attire: a suit or a dressy jacket and pants.

What is your favorite dress code and why? I do not have any. [Says his wife, Ana Gershanik: “My husband’s style is very casual.”]

Is your significant other well-dressed? I believe so.

Where do you shop in New Orleans? Nowhere – my wife shops for me. [Ana says she shops: “everywhere — including overseas in Argentina, where I get to buy great designer suits.”]

Who are your favorite designers? I do not have any. [For her husband, Ana prefers Christian Dior, Calvin Klein and Yves St. Laurent.]

What fashion trend in New Orleans do you dislike? Black-tie and torn jeans or pants.

Whose style do you admire and why? Nobody in particular.

What is your favorite outfit and why? A light blue summer jacket with a fleur-de-lis tie and a striped shirt. It’s comfortable and I get compliments. In addition, the Drew Brees jersey (No. 9) for the football games. I am the No. 1 Saints fan!

 


 

Yvonne La Fleur

Age: 72

Occupation: Proprietress of Yvonne La Fleur & New Orleans Designer. I’m celebrating my 50th year of business dressing women from all over the world. It’s fabulous to see how style has changed from 1969 to 2019. I’m humbled to still be a part of it.

Cause you have chosen to represent: Cabrini High School, because it’s my alma mater and it seeks to empower young women.

What is the dress code for this? There are many events all year long. For luncheons, a tailored suit and hat. For cocktail events, a classic little black dress with statement jewelry.

What is your favorite dress code and why? Feminine.

Is your significant other well-dressed? Yes; there’s nothing sexier than a man in a coat and tie.

Who are your favorite designers? Chanel has always been my inspiration.

Where do you shop in New Orleans? I shop at my store; it’s my closet – but I love grocery shopping. Robert Fresh Market for groceries. I love the incredible detail in the stocking and merchandising.

What fashion trend in New Orleans do you dislike? Jeans with holes.

What is your favorite outfit (including accessories) and why? A hat with a tailored suit or a picture hat and a garden party dress.

 


 

Mary Matalin

Age: 66

Occupation: Political strategist

Cause you have chosen to represent: I truly have never attended any event in New Orleans, philanthropic, charitable or otherwise organized, that wasn’t a blast and a beauty to behold. If I had to pick a favorite, events like the “Heart of the Park Hat Luncheon,” or those for the Women’s Wellness and Survivorship Center or the Catholic Women in Action, all of which have come together organically when good citizens see a real need for all of New Orleans’ neighbors.

What is your favorite dress code? Doing my own thing without fear … And I especially love events where the dress code includes hats and one’s own style to shine or an age diversity that spans iconic fashion hits and personal constructions. Also, the attention to, and careful coordination of, shoes, bags, accessories, fragrances and makeup by New Orleanians is incomparable.

Is your significant other [political commentator and prominent media personality James Carville] well-dressed?  It might be better articulated that he certainly has his own style.

Who are your favorite designers? Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta and Alice + Olivia.

Where do you shop in New Orleans? On Magazine Street, mostly … I love “shopping” in my friends’ closets. I love tearing apart and remaking pieces from the 1960s through the 1980s from my dusty hoard closet. And I love putting ostensibly disconnected outfits together when the sum of the parts adds up to the greater whole.

What fashion trend in New Orleans do you dislike? Honestly, none. I love the diversity of hair-dos, body art, feathers, frills and flowers. And shoes! I truly love that both men and women feel free to dress however they want yet still have maintained, unique traditions of New Orleans – like white linen or Saints gear or boas.

Whose style do you admire and why? My own. Because I have different preferences for different personalities and events and days and moods. And I cannot choose until I get the right feeling.

What is your favorite outfit (including accessories) and why? The one that causes me to say to myself, “Perfect choice.” Of course, that presumes it’s comfortable. I prefer big chunky, unconventional jewelry and estate pieces.

 


 

Stephanie Green Osborne

Age: 42

Occupation: Meditation guide & CEO, Meditate New Orleans

Event you have chosen to represent: Louisiana Children’s Museum’s “CHAIRish the Children.” I believe in what they;re doing to make a difference in the lives of young people and their parents. I’m also excited that they’re opening a new museum in City Park this year. This is one of my favorite philanthropic events for several reasons: I love that there are these great creatively designed chairs being auctioned off; there’s always a theme surrounding the event; fun things to do, like the photo booth; delicious foods to sample … and the energy is always great!

What is the dress code for this event?  The cool thing about this event is that you can come in any way that feels good to you. Some people come in costumes associated with the theme. Some come in dressy-casual and some come in cocktail [attire]. All are welcomed and blend in to this lively event.

What is your favorite dress code and why?  Cocktail with a little themed accessory is my favorite attire.

Is your significant other well-dressed? I love the way my husband dresses. He’s always sharp and clean regardless of whether he’s at the gallery selling his art, at the gym working out or at a social event. I love his style.

Who is your favorite designer? Alexander McQueen.

Where do you shop in New Orleans? I like Canal Place because it has Saks, Anthropologie and BCBG.

What fashion trend in New Orleans do you dislike?  I personally don’t love the 1950s attire on myself, but I love to see it on others!

Whose style do you admire and why?  I love how Anita Demps dresses. It’s always an effortless elegance with comfort and feeling of couture. What could be better? I also like Margarita Bergen’s style because it’s fun and fancy.

What is your favorite outfit and why?  My favorite outfit is this wrap dress that I purchased from one of the vendors at Jazz Fest. It’s colorful, comfortable and classy.


 

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