In the world of photo shoots, as in many other areas of life, the total is greater than the sum of its parts. It was certainly the case when we invaded artist Carl Groh’s gorgeous downtown home and studio with eight of the most fearless and fantastic dressers around. If we thought this group was spot on as individuals on paper, they were an even better package when gathered in one space at one time.

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Photos by Kari Walker

When it came time for a location, we looked high and low, deciding that the one string tying each of our unique honorees is the art of dressing. Fashion is, after all, a kind of art that you wear. The masters aren’t hanging in galleries (too often), but are the sort of pieces we get to wear every day. And while fashion can certainly be art (hello, McQueen), it’s the art of putting otherwise every day pieces together that’s really the great feat. Especially when it’s pieces found right here in Lafayette.

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When the smoothest of the bunch arrived at the shoot — JD Mosley — he had a Brother’s bag slung over his shoulder and a warm smile. Quirky Burton Durand laid out some great pieces from Maven for his options. The effervescent Roxanne Graham braved the rain in a sundress we thought perfect for the shoot. “Oh, no. I have a dress from Vanessa’s,” she exclaimed with an armful of shoe boxes from Shoe La La and a garment bag from Hemline for her second look. Jillian Johnson rocked high waisted jeans as she waited for her accordion pleated skirt to dry from the erratic deluges of rain that day — decked out in great jewelry she must’ve raided from her store, Red Arrow Workshop.

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As each honoree arrived, they were taken by the space Groh has worked for years to restore with accuracy — a place I think of always as going down the rabbit hole. A place where creativity seems to have its own sort of pulse. Just the sort of place to gather people who choose each day to use creativity to express with their clothing what words can’t.

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Groh will tell you the place is enchanted — his nice way of saying it’s haunted. But the truth is that whether you believe in ghosts or spirits, the place is certainly enchanting. And the group who gathered there to answer questions about style and pose for our photo shoot had this IND Styler enchanted with their spirits — independent, innovative and always artful.

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