Monday, September 20, 2010

nD Festival

This week is going to be fabulous in the world of Nashville fashion happenings. The Belcourt theater is hosting a colossal series of fashion events with some heavy hitters of southern fashion showcasing their wares.

I caught up with my good friend and favorite Nashville fashionista, Libby Callaway, who happens to be the Fashion Chair of the event. Not only does she give us the DL on nD she gives us a piece of her brain for the picking.

1. Tell us a little bit about The ND Festival , how did it come about?

The Belcourt always has a big turnout for their Oscar night fundraiser - every year it's a huge success. This year, they decided to add another one to the mix. The nD Festival is a celebration of film, fashion and music that will raise funds for the 1966 Theater's new seats. Money from ticket sales, admission donations and the purchase of clothing at the events that the nD committee has scheduled this Wednesday through Sunday will go toward that end.

2. I love the selection of designers you have chosen. What aided you in your decision to choose them?

Project Artisan's Robin Keyser who is one of the committee chairmen for the event should really get credit for coming up with the mix. As far as the big Sunday night fashion show I'm working on, we have Imogene + Willie, Billy Reid and Alabama Chanin. Imogene + Willie are local and they sell on the Project Artisan site, so obviously they were in. Billy Reid and Alabama Chanin are both hugely successful independent fashion companies that are based less than 200 miles away from Nashville in Florence, Alabama (makes you wonder what's in the water down there, doesn't it?). In addition to geography, each of our three design houses share a similar aesthetic. If I had to put a name on it, I'd say it's an "authentic" look. Nothing in any of their collections looks forced or precious; all the clothes that we're showing are chic and cool, but also extremely wearable. That's part of the reason that we're having real people model the clothes! Each designer has cast ten of their regular customers to walk the runway on Sunday night. It's going to be so much fun!

3. What is your take on “Fashion in the South?” Nashville in particular.

I think the diversity here is pretty striking. From the grande dames of Belle Meade in their cashmere and fur who still dress for lunch to the cool kids on the east side who wear Western shirts with their skinny jeans, I guess there are many different expressions of "Southern style" in Nashville. That said, I'm not really sure we dress that much differently from other folks in the country. Perhaps we're a little more formal; "rules" tend to stick here that have been abandoned in New York, LA or Chicago. In a lot of ways, I think the major globalization of fashion that has occurred over the last two decades has made regional style obsolete. Nashvillians find out about the latest street trends almost as quickly as Brooklyn hipsters do. For example, I was in Paris this spring and was astounded that the going look in the Marais is total Americana. They were selling pearl-snap shirts, Levi's and cowboy boots - a combo that originally ID'ED as Southern - in every store. Wild.

4. If you could be the costume designer for any film, which would it be and why?

This isn't a movie (yet!), but I think costuming a Vivienne Westwood bio pic would be dreamy. I am obsessed with her early work at Seditionaries in the '70s and then the Buffalo Girls and Pirate collections of the early '80s. I love how subversive it is that she and Malcolm McLaren actually created the look of punk, that this movement that was supposed to be a reaction against everything prefab was actually quite thought out. Basically, anything underground and dirty I like.

5. Lastly, If you could own any covetable article of clothing, what would it be?

If I'm choosing from our three designers, I think I'd have to say one of Natalie Chanin's incredible quilted cotton maxi dresses. I'd go for one of the really, really ornate and heavy ones with bugle beats and lots of applique, possibly in a grape color scheme. Gorgeous. If we're talking outside the realm of nD, I think I might choose some amazing Rick Owens leather coat or maybe a dress. I love how dark and fitted his things are; that whole gloomy aesthetic is really up my alley right now - kinda strange considering that I'm a pretty cheerful gal!

For more information regarding the event please visit
For a link to the fabulous life of Libby Callaway check out

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