Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Locals strut their stuff at FWNO satellite events. By Heather Miller

                                                                  Photos by Robin May

The latest effort to bring metro fashion runways to the Deep South via Fashion Week New Orleans has Lafayette fashionistas flocking to the Crescent City to be a part of the showcasing of Louisiana’s style tribes.

Fashion Week New Orleans has the Big Easy’s boutiques, night clubs and other trendy hot spots booked with design-related events this week, some including locals who have a flair for all things fashion.

One such designer is former Independent Weekly food writer Mary Tutwiler, who along with her daughter Katie Tutwiler and designers George Hardy and Blythe King, created Cocodri, a small design company that has been expanding its line of Louisiana alligator products since its inception in 2009 and sells locally at kiki and on  

The “showstoppers” Cocodri is lining up for Fashion Week include 4-inch wide, black back strap cinches and matching headbands, as well as alligator leather, semiprecious stones and metal pendants that pair perfectly with the Elise Sonnier Dirty Rice accessory line that cultivates earrings, bracelets and necklaces with names like Grand Isle and Pontchartrain, Tutwiler says.

“Fashion Week created an opportunity to really go wild,” Tutwiler says. “The design idea behind Cocodri is to work with the natural look of  alligator hornback — the highly patterned and ridged back of the animal rather than the smooth belly leather most alligator products are made of. But at the same time, I really believe in Frank Lloyd Wright’s mantra that form follows function. So the other guiding principle has always been simplicity. Our wallets are very basic in function, two card slots and a slot for bills. The design forces you to pare down what you keep in your wallet, lightening what you put in your pocket, perhaps streamlining your life. At the same time, the outside of the wallet, which is made of hornback, is a gorgeous play in low relief pattern. It’s beautiful to look at and surprisingly buttery to the touch. It’s this fusion of simplicity and wild beauty that drives us to continue to design. It’s really an addiction.”

While Tutwiler and friends will be going for the gator, Aveda Institutes from across South Louisiana, including Lafayette, teamed up for the Walk for Water fashion show on March 19, a green-focused runway extravaganza at the Metropolitan Club in New Orleans featuring Lafayette models, outfits made of old clothing and accessories by Alida Taylor of Sky Blue Clothing Studio in Lafayette.

The Aveda students were on hand to prime the hair and faces of the models for the runway.


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