NOLA Fashion Week preview: Lisa Iacono's Dreamcar



NOLA Fashion Week kicks off its sixth season this Saturday, Sept. 28. There's a lot to be excited about on its roster of runway shows, workshops and shopping events, and I'm especially pumped about Lisa Iacono's new collection, Dreamcar! That exclamation point isn't just to show my excitement, it's part of the logo. See?

  • Lisa Iacono

If this isn't enough to sell you on Dreamcar, here are a few more compelling points: 1. You will look like Malibu Barbie on a spring break road trip when you wear it. 2. That halter top is made of MONEY PRINT FABRIC. 3. Speaking of money, nothing in the collection costs more than $100. 4. It's locally made right here on the West Bank.

I grilled Lisa about her new collection. Here's what she has to say about it.

What's the concept and story behind the name?
The inspiration comes from childhood trips to the toy store for my birthday. I used to run straight to the "pink" aisle. You know that aisle that was filled with Barbie merchandise? It was larger than life, all that pink, and I can remember literally crying with joy.

I'd been taking design really seriously for a few seasons. The name "Dreamcar" comes from a fascination with that over-the-top, cartoon Barbie life. It makes me laugh when I tell people the name, and that's the idea. It's a moment to have fun. Dreamcar is a teenage-bubblegum-pop-princess-fantasy-explosion, but the mentality is a bit more mature. There are nods to a lifestyle of excess, a little debauchery.

  • Lisa Iacono

This is a departure from the Iacono line, which is more subdued, with minimalist shapes and fine fabrics. Why the change in direction?
A couple reasons. One, I think there's a natural pendulum swing that happens as you springboard off yourself. I'd been designing in black and neutrals for so long that I suddenly felt this ridiculous urge to sample everything in pink and purple. Iacono is definitely still there, and I will return to it when the time is right. But for this season, I needed an alter-ego, a vacation from myself.

Also, it's been hard to reach the Iacono customer. I enjoy designing in luxury fabrics and creating technically sophisticated pieces. But ultimately, if I can't sell because I'm too expensive, then I feel like my designer-existence is akin to a tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear it. Everything in the Dreamcar assortment retails for less than $100. I want to get these clothes onto warm bodies and really complete the design process. I want people laughing and dancing and smiling in these outfits!

You're also an artist and you recently showed at Artwalk on Julia Street. How does your painting inform your fashion, if at all?
I suppose they do have a slightly direct relationship, because the paintings are human figure studies, and clothing design revolves around the relationship between the human body and fabric. In one instance the body is on the canvas, and in the other, the body is my canvas. I love bodies! But really, I just think of my paintings as a form of exercise, a hobby that keeps my eyes sharp. When I sweat it out on the canvas, I feel like it opens my designing pores. So although the paintings are aesthetically different from Dreamcar, they have a cathartic effect on my fashion brain.

Speaking of loving bodies, some of the garments are very form-fitting.

Our Nola Sewn tech designer (pattern-maker), Amanda Stone, developed these leggings. We'll be marketing them as a special edition Amanda Stone for Dreamcar item, as she has her own design label as well. She has been engineering them to perfection for maximum Spanx-effect and comfort. Basically, they wear like pants. How to put this delicately? ... Booties look fly.

  • Lisa Iacono

Which designers are you most excited about for the upcoming shows at Fashion Week?

All of them! To name one, I'm really intrigued by HiLo, a line that will be shown as an emerging designer collection. The promo pictures look so very special, and it's great to hear that the pieces are designed with wearability and outfitting in mind. It makes me want to shop.

What else can people expect to see from this collection on the runway?
I'm making my foray into non-clothing items, and we're going to show some super Rainbow-Bright inspired accessories. I've never been gung-ho about advertising and branding, because I'm pretty shy. It's my fatal flaw. With my Dreamcar alter-ego, I feel ready! So a lot of the accessories will celebrate the brand itself. That is newness for me.

Anything else you want to add? first Instagram! Also, the clothes will go up for sale immediately during the show on, so people can shop what they are seeing, as it comes down the runway! Refresh (223 N. Peters St.) will also carry an exclusive capsule assortment.

The Dreamcar show is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3 at the New Orleans Museum of Art (1 Collins Diboll Circle). Tickets are available here.


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