White Linen Night celebrated its 17th year on August 6 and once again attracted over 30,000 well-dressed attendees. The event and its name ‘White Linen Night’ stems from the days when southerners planned activites to lessen the summer’s heat such as hosting outdoor parties,sipping Mint Julips and dressing in cool crisp white linen fabrics. Taking place in New Orleans Warehouse District, White Linen Night has grown to be the largest open art and social event of the summer. More than twenty participating art galleries open their doors for art aficionados and fashion conscious patrons alike to stroll along Julia Street enjoying the works of some of New Orleans’ finest artists. Many got into the spirit of the occasion by dressing in their most stylish southern inspired white attire, be it linen or not.
This annual tradition was enhanced this year by the addition of “Art Couture-The Exhibit of Fashion”, as Fashion Week New Orleans and Cathedral Creative Studios teamed together to bring a fashion element to this festive event. Three emerging New Orleans fashion designers were invited to showcase their form of art at this exhibit. The evening featured the works of Jolie & Elizabeth, Elsa Brodmann and Alicia Zenobia, FW NOLA’s 2011 Top Design Winner. Each designer presented a distinctive style which encompassed their latest collection in a live mannequin format adding something unique and original to White Linen Night.
Jolie and Elizabeth is a contemporary women’s clothing company designed and manufactured in New Orleans. The designers of the label are Jolie Bensen and Sarah Elizabeth Dewey. Both born and raised in the South, and became acquainted while studying apparel design at Louisiana State University . The young designers decided to collaborate because of their shared fashion vision. They are deeply rooted and inspired by New Orleans and the south; its traditions, climate, people and timeless style. Bensen and Dewey were among those named 2010 People to Watch by New Orleans Magazine. Their brand can be found in various boutiques throughout the Gulf Coast region.
Elsa Brodmann was raised in a New Orleans household that appreciated the finer points of fashions and fabrics. Her upbringing led her to pursue an academic interest in the industry. In 2008, she returned to New Orleans to create and develop her label Ottilie Brodmann, and was quickly recognized as a rising star in the New Orleans fashion community. Brodmann was named one of New Orleans Magazine’s People to Watch in 2009, and is also Editor in Chief of Amelie G, a fashion-forward style magazine.
Alicia Zenobia, designer of Autonomous Clothing and the new label which bears her name, studied sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design and fashion at the Fashion Institution of Technology. Training in sculpture has enhanced an already deep appreciation for the human body further inspiring her designs and styles. She believes that clothing must have 360 degrees of appreciation and generate at least four dimensions of interest. Her creations both defy and define differences between costumes, fashion, and fine art. Zenobia was named Fashion Week NOLA 2011 Top Designer, honored as one of New Orleans Magazine’s People to Watch in 2011, and her new collection is available at Hemline Boutique.
The rising momentum stemming from Fashion Week NOLA fueled by the undeniable art form of fashion naturally set the stage for an amazing fashion exhibit that complimented the stylish trends and traditions of White Linen Night. Art Couture-The Exhibit of Fashion successfully integrated both elements with stunning designs and exquisite details against a canvas of wonderment emoting a common spirit in which art meets fashion. The event received rave reviews from both art aficionados and fashionistas, confirming that art and fashion are a perfect fit.