From decadent, delicious foods to the sweet sounds of music on every corner, there’s no lack of resources to lure tourists and locals alike out into the city of New Orleans. One aspect of the city, a world-class fashion destination, Magazine Street is no doubt the place to go in New Orleans for designer styles and down-home customer service.
While for many people Magazine Street shopping calls to mind Uptown and the Garden District, the nearly 6-mile street stretches into the CBD and extends a growing downtown shopping scene. One of the first retailers to open in the Warehouse District, Haute (725 Magazine St., 522-8687, HauteNola.com) has found a home in an old, converted parking garage.
“There’s a lot of energy downtown with redevelopment, new restaurants and condos, and more,” says owner Sanja Alickovic. “People who live and work here are excited to now have a place to shop in the CBD.”
Haute carries accessories, jewelry and well-known designer lines of clothing such as Parker and Tibi. Alickovic has also introduced new brands to New Orleans with Mason by Michelle Mason and Laura Hoffman.
Just a short jaunt from Haute, across the Lower Garden District, you’ll find yourself in what Erin Reho Pelias refers to as the “Green Light District.” Owner of Zuka Baby (2124 Magazine St., 596-6540, ZukaBaby.com), a natural parenting boutique, Pelias describes her location as being on the most eco-friendly block of the street. Zuka Baby carries environmentally and socially responsible parenting products that include cloth diapers, baby carriers, natural toys and more.
“The ‘Green Light District’ is the best. I have eco-conscious neighbors, and we get together for events and projects such as bead-and-aluminum recycling during the St. Pat’s parade,” remarks Pelias. “The businesses here help each other grow and really value being locally owned. Customers can shop here and feel good about what they’re buying.”
Eight blocks farther into the Garden District, you’ll find one of the clothing pioneers of Magazine Street. Martha Duval, manager of Ballin’s LTD (2917 Magazine Street, Suite 105, 891-4502, NewOrleansKnitwear.com), has been selling designer clothing there before there were any other clothing stores in her area.
“We built our mail-order business from tourists who came here looking for antiques and discovered our store,” says Duval. Today, visitors to the store can expect designer-wear in classic styles and cotton knits, both dressy and casual. Duval invites guests to experience the relaxed atmosphere of the store, emphasizing the friendliness of staff and approachable nature of the business.
To truly go the distance on Magazine Street, you’ll need a good pair of shoes, and no shopping spree is complete without one … or two, or three. Fortunately for shoppers, Feet First Shoes, Handbags & Accessories (4119 Magazine St., 899-6800 FeetFirstStores.com) is conveniently centered. Feet First is the city’s largest independent retailer of women’s name-brand shoes, handbags, jewelry, accessories and local designers.
“Feet First is so much more than shoes,” says co-owner Evie Poitevent. “At the heart of our business lies a deep commitment to New Orleans and South Louisiana. We enjoy acting as New Orleans ambassadors for all of the visitors who stop by to shop with us while taking in the street. At their request, we’re constantly suggesting other Magazine Street stores and restaurants to visit.”
Previously a hidden gem accessed by appointment only, DesignerSocial (4858 Magazine St., (888) 802-2125, DesignerSocial.com) has recently become a full-scale retail operation offering a curated selection of designer handbags and accessories. DesignerSocial works directly with designers, including Chanel, Gucci and Prada, as well as with individual sellers and local designers to acquire unique pieces from around the globe.
Sharing space with upscale apparel boutique Victoria, DesignerSocial is described by founder and CEO Francine Ballard as “one-stop shopping for the discerning New Orleans fashion crowd.” According to Ballard, “this is the first retail location of its kind – a truly rare outlet where the customer can take advantage of enormous savings on high-end designer merchandise.”
Nothing highlights your new wardrobe better than the perfect accessory or pair of shoes. Retailers like Angelique Shoe (5421 Magazine St., 891-8992, AngeliqueStores.com) relish the opportunity to assist clients in honing a new look.
“There’s a lot of thought that goes into the merchandise we carry,” says partner and manager Heather Catalanotto. “We even hand-select goods with certain clients in mind.”
A complete shoe-and-accessory store, Angelique Shoe shares space with Tisa Beauty Bar, allowing visitors a one-stop shop for all things beauty. This spring, visit Angelique Shoe for a Friday happy hour of mingling and shoe-gazing complete with libations. Look for details on Facebook.
One block over from Angelique Shoe is its children’s clothing counterpart, Angelique Baby + Kids (5519 Magazine St., 891-8992, AngeliqueStores.com). Partner Jennifer Atkins describes the shop as a specialty boutique with handpicked merchandise that bridges the gap between the traditional and modern.
“We make a huge effort to bring in things you don’t find elsewhere so that everyone can have their own style,” remarks Atkins. Angelique Baby + Kids carries lines for children, infant to 16 months for girls and infant to 14 months for boys. They also offer shoes, gifts and a few things for treating moms.
“This is a great location for older boys and girls,” continues Atkins.
“It’s been fun identifying the different age groups and what makes them happy and mom happy, too.”
Across the street, Mimi (5500 Magazine St., MimiNola.com) caters to the needs and desires of women of every age and lifestyle. Featuring designer lines such as Michael Kors, Vince, Theory and Lela Rose among many others, Mimi’s 5,000-square-foot boutique also incorporates a complete Vera Wang bridal salon. Mimi’s offerings don’t stop there. CeCe Shoe has just opened inside the store, carrying numerous lines of designer shoes, and Mimi also features accessory collections of handbags, jewelry and scarves.
“Our block on Magazine Street has become the shopping block for fashion. It has recently grown exponentially with so many unique stores,” says owner Mimi Robinson Bowen. As another bonus, Bowen adds, “After you fill your closet, you can walk down the street and fill your grocery cart at Whole Foods!”
On the same block, Marloe Goodman, owner of Priorities (5523 Magazine St., 899-2212), enjoys adding some pep to her customers’ steps. Priorities offers a vast selection of activewear for women on the go.
Whether you need an outfit for Pilates, yoga, tennis, golf or every day, Priorities has items geared specifically for comfort and style.
“If you’re walking Magazine Street, you can wear your yoga or Pilates clothes and enjoy walking while shopping and having fun,” says Goodman, who loves Magazine Street shopping for its great personal service. “You’re always going to be taken care of here as opposed to some big-box store. Here, it’s all about meeting your needs and making sure that when you leave, you feel good about what you bought and your entire experience.”
Personal service is a common thread for most Magazine Street retailers and has certainly proven effective for Perlis Clothing (6070 Magazine St., 895-8661, perlis.com), now in its 72nd year of business. A third-generation, family-owned store, Perlis offers men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and shoes, formalwear rentals and custom tailoring at
“We’re proud to sell classic, signature New Orleans clothing,” says president and general merchandiser David W. Perlis. “We’re known for seersucker and linen, but what makes us different is our staff and our desire to serve our customers.” Perlis attributes the store’s uniqueness to a combination of its family atmosphere, its selection of designers interpreted in a New Orleans way, and its full-time tailoring department, which offers lifetime alterations on anything they sell.
“We’re part of the fabric of Magazine Street, part of the shopping heritage of the city,” Perlis continues. “One of our manufacturers recently told me there aren’t streets like this left in America. Within a few blocks, you can buy anything – clothing, groceries, art, furniture, high-end or low – it’s an amazing street.”
One block more, and this Magazine Street adventure concludes at a shop whose clients are beginnings journeys of their own. Old.New.Blue (6117 Magazine St., 655-0863, OldNewBlueShop.com) provides wedding consultation services, nuptial necessities, bridal accessories and more.
“Our mission is to provide brides and grooms with the benefit of our 30 years of experience combining Southern wedding traditions with artistic flare and without working those last nerves. Think of us as your helpful aunts, mint julep cocktail in one hand and etiquette book in the other,” laughs CEO Janie Glade.
Manager Rachel Frank describes Old.New.Blue as a one-stop shop for all things wedding and loves their placement at the end of Magazine Street, which she calls a “wedding corridor.”
“There’s custom stationery, Perlis and Mimi up the block. You could plan an entire wedding in this one-mile strip,” says Frank.
Indeed you could. If there’s one thing about Magazine Street on which everyone agrees, it’s that there are almost six miles of endless possibilities.