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Wear + where: Alys Arden, author

The Words & Music Literary Festival is Nov. 9-13


Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in New Orleans, moved to New York as soon as I graduated from the University of New Orleans, and now I split time between the two cities. I'm an author. I write young adult fiction. My first novel, The Casquette Girls, was published last year. The sequel, The Romeo Catchers, comes out in spring. It's a Southern Gothic series about a young girl growing up in the French Quarter, post-hurricane, who finds herself in a web of myths, magic and monsters after she accidently opens the attic at the Old Ursuline Convent.

How do you describe your personal style?
I polled the internet for this question, and I got a lot of unicorn-goth answers. Most of my wardrobe is black, but my hair ranges from eggplant to cotton candy and has seen a full rainbow spectrum this year. I'd call this look cemetery-chic.

What are you wearing to Words & Music and where did you get the pieces?
The dress is Sisters of the Black Moon, which I got from their online shop. The silk cemetery print scarf is by local designer Amanda deLeon. Shoes are Stella Luna for Anthony Vaccarello, which I got on mega-clearance from UAL on Chartres Street. Braids are by Jamie Gandy at Fifi Mahony's.

In The Casquette Girls, your protagonist has a unique style. Does her style inform your own or vice versa?
Good question; I have no idea! Both? Adele dreams of being a fashion designer, so she's a bit understated and simple. She typically has more of a backstage look, with a couple of showstoppers. We both love costuming. In book one, she does have a pretty elaborate couture green fairy costume that she made. In book two, she's making a dress out of chain mail, thanks to the influence of her father, who's a metalsmith.

What's inspiring you now?
Style-wise, my current wardrobe has influences of Frida Kahlo, David Bowie and Anne Rice. A lot of braids, metallics and black lace.

What are your favorite places to shop in New Orleans?
My wardrobe is an odd mix of thrifting and designer pieces. Revival Outpost is my go-to. I've been scoping some things at od AOMO, a newish shop on Chartres Street. I love everything Amanda deLeon creates. She really captures the dark, ethereal soul of New Orleans in each one of her collections. I have to do a lot of public speaking and live out of a suitcase for weeks at a time, so I always have a mismatch of Jess Leigh Jewels and eclectic pieces from Tooth & Nail. I have an amazing cobalt blue Rorin bag that dresses up any black outfit. I get endless compliments on my Krewe du Optic eyewear. I especially love supporting shops and artists in the Quarter. We're all one big family down here.

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