WHEN LEIGH MET CRICKETT

by Kathryn LeMieux


Leigh was doing textile restoration for Gentle Arts in New Orleans, restoring antique garments, uniforms, tapestries, etc. for auction houses and museums. Crickett walked in one sunny day wishing to have a dress made from antique lace that was originally curtains. It was for her friend Amanda to wear to her engagement party. Leigh cleaned the lace and made it into a cocktail/ flapper dress. It was a huge success!

                  A few weeks later, discussions began for restoring Crickett’s family’s lace veil for Amanda’s wedding. Then making all of the bridesmaid’s dresses, then the flower girl dresses. It was so much fun.  The two of them would brain storm and sketch and tell stories of their mutual l love for Dior and Lanvin and Chanel.  They played with idea of starting a clothing line, meeting  for lunch every Wednesday at Il Posto,  a small café one block away from the restoration studio. Once seated under the trees on the back patio, they would pour over heavy fashion books and dream out loud. Originally they wanted to start a line of vintage inspired swimwear that was glamourous and flattering to women’s figures (and they still do).

                   

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Crickett discovered NOLAFW, sponsored by New Orleans Fashion Council , but their deadline for designer applications had passed. They begged and pleaded and promised to show a breath taking collection. It was one of those, “If you build it, they will come” moments. Realizing that if Crickett and Leigh were going to do this, the time was nigh. The two of them dove in full force with loads of coffee and San Pellegrino (which they are now both addicted to), having exactly four weeks to put together a runway collection.  With the help of Seema Sudan of the Lia Molly knit line, they quickly edited a collection of women’s clothing . For four very short weeks, with very little sleep, they sewed, sketched, ate and drank like mad women.  Crickett and Leigh were still sewing their collection three hours before stage time.  It is seriously questionable whether or not they showered.

                  The collection was well received and the two of them went out to Emeril’s to celebrate with some Veuve Cliquot.  Leigh fell asleep at the table.  Crickett propped her up on her shoulder.  The experience was wonderful and worth it so, it was decided, to  do it again and again and again…  Instead of living happily everafter, they went home and took showers and fell asleep dreaming of the next collection.  The rest, as they say is history….

 

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