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Culture Watch: An astral dance party!

Fashions by Alicia Zenobia will  debut at a popup Friday at Studio 3. (Photo by Jason Kruppa)

Click here to listen to an interview with Alicia Zenobia on WWNO’s Notes From New Orleans, by NolaVie.

I’ve tried to think of a city more appropriate than New Orleans for a fashion creator like Alicia Zenobia, and I haven’t come up with one yet.

I mean, if you’re pretty much an unknown 28-year-old from Up East who’s spent a few years plugging away in the cutthroat culture of the Big Apple’s Seventh Avenue, could there be a better place than the Big Easy to flash some sparkle and add a little glitter to designs, especially ones that lean more to the theatrical than to trad runway styles?

Here for just two years, Alicia, like so many others, thought she would just pass through. She changed her mind pretty early on.

“I wasn’t intending on staying,” she says. But in the typically generous New Orleans way of sharing information, she soon met up with a small but intensely active network of designers, models, hair stylists and makeup artists. Now, she says, “I love it.”

At first she had to have a second job to make ends meet.

“But I don’t really need it any more,” she says. “I go to enough events where I sell what I make and, since I’m not very financially motivated or have too many material needs, I’m OK.”

But what is there, if anything, about our small, emerging fashion scene that makes it New Orleans-specific? And is our legacy of costuming reflected in that?

Alicia thinks that’s part of it; who else but she would finish a set of 12 Pan Am stewardess costumes just in time for Halloween?

“It’s one reason I love the scene here,” she says. “But it’s also the colors I see here, so very different from New York fashion. For me, that’s awesome. And I love that we also have this incredible group of over-the-top models who are so different.”

If you want to see what I’m talking about, (including that group of “over-the-top” models) plan on joining the NolaVie family on 11.11.11 — yes, November 11, 2011 — at Studio 3, 3610 Toulouse Street, for a one-night only dance party featuring Alicia Zenobia’s designs worn by 20, that’s right, 20 models.

Some of those will sport her line of ’60s-style children’s wear for adults; others will be wearing some of her winning collection from Fashion Week 2011. And then there’ll be that new line of holographic bodysuits. Those are the ones that Alicia says will make her models look like female disco balls. They will be on stage creating what she describes as a kind of astral dance party vibe.

“For me, the whole point of design is for people to participate and to have fun,” she says.

Believe me, I’ve seen some of her designs. I can guarantee you will have fun. So come celebrate TGIF on this auspicious date (wanna know how auspicious? Take the last numbers of your birth year, add that to your current age and it will come to 111! Read more about the magical number here.).

Bring some friends to Studio 3 on 11.11.11. Drop $11 at the door from 8 to 11 at Studio 3 (Behind American Can). You can join Alicia Zenobia and her astral dance party female disco balls, along wih DJ Frank Jones of Jean-Eric; edgy jazz singer Robin Barnes and the Soul Heirs; on-the-spot poet Emily Yonker; and fab food from the Geaux Plates guys.

Oh, and the first drink’s on us!

Sharon Litwin, president of NolaVie, writes Culture Watch weekly.



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