New Orleans is a place, both peculiar and particular. Firmly ensconced in the South, it’s nonetheless unmoored from that region’s petty and hackneyed morality, with a joie de vivre air of revelry in life’s many pleasures.
The city is firmly ingrained in the American cultural consciousness, but in a perverse way it stands apart, almost like an open city. It’s Louis Armstrong and Fats Domino. It’s Stanley Kowalski, Binx Bolling and Ignatius J. Riley. It’s the French Quarter, the Sazerac and the streetcar.
Frannie and I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days the Crescent City. One of the highlights of our vacation was a visit to the wholesale offices of Jolie and Elizabeth, a company specializing in American made seersucker dresses.
For some time now, Jolie and Elizabeth has been on our proverbial radar screen. We’ve taken note of both their commitment to local manufacturing and the timeless look of their products–a look firmly rooted in the aesthetics of the city they call home.
The collective handiwork of Jolie Benson Hamilton and Sarah Elizabeth Dewey, Jolie and Elizabeth got its start in 2010. Last September, they celebrated the occasion of their 10,000th dress, a remarkable accomplishment.
Despite their Southern roots, the two actually met in New York. At the time, Jolie was working for BCBG. Sarah was her intern. That experience was an eye opener. They noted that, working with overseas factories, it was difficult to correct mistakes or prompt changes in design. The time difference also made communications difficult.
While we were at their wholesale offices, Frannie tried on several dresses. She finally settled on the Magnolia in a classic blue seersucker, a sleeveless dress with a fitted bodice and a full skirt that hits an inch or two above the knee.
Like so many of Jolie and Elizabeth’s dresses, it’s perfect for many occasions. With a pair of heels and pearls, it will take a young lady to all but the dressiest of summer occasions. With a pair of flats or tennis slippers, it’s the ideal companion for a casual jaunt around the city.