The shopping landscape of Magazine Street from the CBD to Audubon Park
Photographed by Cheryl Gerber
Magazine Street hasn’t only changed significantly over the years, the atmosphere and look of the street changes significantly from one end to the other. From bustling downtown to the towering oaks of Audubon Park, the six-mile stretch offers a lot to see and do for both visitors and locals.
“Magazine Street is the best example of what an American Main Street should be,” says Gisele Cosma, owner of Rye Clothing and member of the Magazine Street Merchants Association (MSMA). “We’ve seen an explosion of healthy lifestyle and dining opportunities, upscale and funky boutiques and mom and pop businesses that are thriving.”
The MSMA website offers a directory of Magazine Street business offerings – everything from shopping and restaurants to health and beauty, attractions and services of all kinds.
“On Magazine Street there’s always a crowd, and yet it never seems ‘crowded.’ Locals and visitors mingle through the endless variety of boutiques, galleries and restaurants, often making Magazine Street an all-day outing,” says Kevin Gillentine, President of MSMA. “Where else could you go antiquing, get a massage, have a fine meal, see the latest fashions and find that perfect piece of art for your home? The shops on Magazine Street reflect the individual tastes and personality of their owners and spending a day on our street is like getting to know us,” he says.
After just two years at its current location, Haute continues to be a premier shopping destination on the Warehouse District end of Magazine Street.
“The neighborhood continues to grow with more restaurants and bars open than in years past,” says owner Sanja Alickovic. “While we’ve had a great response from residents and workers in the CBD, we’re also seeing an influx of shoppers from other areas of town.”
One of the first retailers to open in the Warehouse District, Haute is known for its accessories, jewelry and well-known designer lines of clothing. Haute also continues to scout out new designers, of both local and global fame. Their latest additions are local jewelry designer Jupiter Lala as well as the contemporary clothing line of Prabal Gurung, known for its modern luxury, indelible style and sense of glamour.
Travelling up Magazine Street a little ways into the Lower Garden District brings you to a slew of stores located on the 2000 block all belonging to local clothing company, Trashy Diva. A distinctly New Orleans company, Trashy Diva has provided local shoppers with vintage flair and classic style for over 17 years. Despite its local esteem, Trashy Diva has made its splash globally, being featured everywhere from blogs and magazines to feature films and celebrity appearances.
Trashy Diva has seven total locations, with three spanning one Magazine Street block: Trashy Diva Clothing Boutique, Lingerie Boutique and Shoe Boutique. They are open seven days a week and also offer shopping online. Designer Candice Gwinn creates vintage-inspired, original designs with a timeless and ageless look in sizes ranging from 2 through 18.
“Spring has sprung,” says Gwinn, “and our Alabaster and Pastel Turquoise limited edition ribbed rayon collection is helping to welcome the warmer weather. From floral fascinators and lingerie to spring sandals, our Magazine Street clothing, lingerie and shoe boutiques are stocked with trendy pastels and polka dots.”
Baby Bump Maternity & Children’s
Expecting and new mothers have enjoyed the fashion forward approach Julie and Robbie Allen have brought to Magazine Street through Baby Bump Maternity & Children’s. Now in its seventh year, Baby Bump is expanding locally with the addition of new Sunday hours and regionally with a new store in Baton Rouge, located at 3535 Perkins Road near Trader Joes.
Maternity offerings at Baby Bump include designer dresses and denim, as well as accessories for both pregnant and nursing women.
“We’re bringing in a lot more children’s clothing and accessories for spring,” says co-owner Robbie Allen. “We feel like spring fashion this year is better than before with more colors and styles.”
Additionally, Baby Bump welcomes festival season by bringing in new strapless maxi dresses in a variety of colors and prints for music- and spring-loving mothers-to-be. For children’s spring styles, Baby Bump offers seersucker and more for newborns and toddlers from Beaufort Bonnet Company.
“We’re excited to have Another Broken Egg as our new neighbors,” says Allen, who recommends enjoying brunch in the connecting courtyard before doing some weekend shopping at the store.
Martha Duval, manager of Ballin’s LTD, has been selling designer clothing along this six-mile stretch long before there were any other clothing merchants in her area. Along with its online counterpart, NewOrleansKnitwear.com, Ballin’s offers designer-wear in classic styles, both dressy and casual.
“Whether you’re shopping for that one special piece or a total outfit from head to toe, we want to help you walk out of our store looking and feeling your best,” says Duval.
Visitors to the store return for the relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff and great selection of styles. This spring, expect to see cotton knits, poplin, linen, silk and seersucker, with pops of color including lime and periwinkle.
Feet First Shoes, Handbags & Accessories
Another veteran of the New Orleans fashion scene is Feet First Shoes , Handbags & Accessories. With a vast selection of designer footwear and accessories, Feet F irst is expanding both regionally and in service offerings. This past October, they opened a third location in Metairie on Old Metairie Road, and recently Feet First launched their personal styling service, an in-home consultation service.
“We’re excited to introduce our new accessory styling and wardrobe consultation services,” says co-owner Evie Poitevent. “There are three package levels – a small, medium and large – anything from a single special event consult to a full closet overhaul.”
Packages include the Kitten Heel two-hour special event package, the Demi-Wedge four-hour wardrobe refresher package and the Stiletto wardrobe overhaul, which includes the consultation of two professional stylists for up to eight hours.
This spring, shoppers at Feet First can check out a few new lines such as Kork-Ease Footwear, a fashion comfort line and Laidback London, handmade beaded leather sandals. In accessories, they offer local designers such as Krewe du Optic as well as a new avant-garde artistic jewelry line.
Another Magazine Street hotspot for shoes and accessories, Angelique Shoe is feeling the love from new and loyal customers and in turn expanding hours by opening on Sundays. In addition to shoes and accessories, Angelique also offers the services of Tisa’s Beauty Bar, located inside the store, which offers professional make-up application, cosmetics, hair products, nail polishes, spray tan and eyebrow services.
This spring, shoppers can expect an array of pastel colors: lilacs, peaches and radiant colors reminiscent of the orchid family.
“We’re looking for this to be a true return of spring – floral and beautiful,” says co-owner Heather Catalanotto. “As to new lines, one we recently picked up is 10 Crosby by Derek Lam, which is chic and affordable.”
Headed to Market soon, Catalanotto suggests shoppers keep an eye on their Facebook and Instagram posts (Facebook.com/AngeliqueShoe & @angeliqueshoe) for upcoming events and new lines. Happy hour on Fridays continues for weekend shoppers with complimentary snacks in a fun, “TGIF” shopping atmosphere.
Just across the street, MIMI has undergone a complete store makeover and is proud to introduce Trish McEvoy Cosmetics and Skin Care to the store. Make-up artist Teresa Waters is on-hand full time to teach shoppers how to look their best with Trish’s products, which are geared toward a busy woman’s lifestyle.
“Additionally, we’ve brought in a fantastic new fragrance line: Maison Francis Kurkdjian,” says owner Mimi Bowen. “It’s exclusive to us and sold only in a few boutiques as well as Bergdorf Goodman in the U.S.” According to Bowen, smelling is believing with these all-natural fragrances – warm, lively, sweet, spicy. Additionally Ilia all-natural lipsticks and RGB nail polishes round out MIMI’s beauty bar products with more on the way soon.
“As for spring fashion, we have brought in several new lines, including JBrand Collection, Valentino Red, Sophia Webster shoes, and on and on,” says Bowen. “Be ready for happy floral prints and citrus brights – accessories are particularly important to pair with our basic black, whites and grays, bringing pops of color and interest to any outfit and making the old look new,” she says. Wardrobe specialist Kathryn Bullock is available to assist and help translate your wardrobe needs into a fresh, relevant new look.
A fashion-filled block, the 5500 block of Magazine also contains Perfect Fit Shoes. Both a lover of shoes and a physical therapist, owner Virginia “Gini” Davis opened the Uptown shoe store to provide fashionable shoes that also provide comfort, debunking the myth that “comfort” be synonymous with “orthopedic.”
“We have learned from our customers of all ages that they want to be active and on their feet in comfort without having to worry about a blister on their heel or pain in the arch or ball of their foot. And they don’t want to wear ‘old lady’ shoes,” says Davis. “We have great looking, transitional shoes at Perfect Fit Shoes that span from season to season, between a variety of events and occasions, and travel well for work and vacation.”
This spring and going into summer, Perfect Fit shoppers will see a lot of choices in sandals and lighter-weight shoes across all of their prominent brands. Whether you’re looking for closed toe, open toe, straps, color, athletic or not, Davis promises plethora styles. Highlighted brands include Aravon and Cobb Hill by New Balance, Vionics by Orthaheel, Taos sandals, Finn Comfort, Think, Munro and LaPlume.
As has been the case with several Magazine Street retailers, Swap Boutique has seen enough growth to continue expanding with new locations, including those on Maple Street and in Old Metairie on Metairie Road. The successful designer consignment boutique is now opening its fourth location in Baton Rouge at 3033 Perkins Road, giving consignment shoppers more places to buy and consigners more opportunities to sell.
Swap on Magazine just celebrated its one-year anniversary on the famed fashion thoroughfare. They are currently consigning formal gowns in preparation of spring events. From Mardi Gras ball gowns to formalwear for galas and proms, Swap offers designer fashion at significantly reduced prices. With the conclusion of Mardi Gras, ball-goers may consider selling this year’s gown to make money for a new gown next year.
Old Location With a New Name
Shopping is certainly work that will leave you hungry, and whether you’re breaking for lunch or shopping until dinner, it’s easy to find fantastic food on Magazine Street.
A local lunch and dinner favorite just revamped its name and look, but don’t be fooled, the beloved flavorful approach of chef Dave Gotter remains. Formerly Gott Gourmet, GG’s Dine-o-rama offers a unique approach to refined comfort food under the new, upscale retro-diner concept. Using the “O-Rama” theme, GG’s covers “a little of everything” with their new comprehensive menu and atmosphere of 1950s Magazine Street memorabilia.
“It’s the same, but different,” says Christy Parker, co-owner of GG’s. The concept by definition is different, but really and truly it’s the same thing we’ve always done: refined comfort food.”
Their sister company, Gott Gourmet Catering, will retain the Gott Gourmet name, while GG’s moves forward with its expanded menu of dinner entrées, such as the Apple-Bourbon Brined Pork Chop, appetizers, sandwiches, desserts and more. The menu will change often based on seasonal ingredients, so check the website for up-to-date offerings. Brunch is offered on Saturdays and Sundays and features dishes such as the Jumbo Shrimp & Smoked Gouda Organic Grits and the Fresh Crab & Brie Omelet, otherwise known as a little food fuel for your Magazine Street shopping.
Angelique Shoe & Tisa’s Beauty Bar: 5421 Magazine St., 891-8992, AngeliqueShoe.com
Baby Bump Maternity & Children’s: 2917 Magazine St., Suite 102, 304-2737, NolaBabyBump.com
Ballin’s LTD: 2917 Magazine St., 891-4502, BallinsLtd.com, NewOrleansKnitwear.com
Feet First Shoes, Handbags & Accessories: 4122 Magazine St., 899-6800, FeetFirstStores.com
GG’s Dine-o-rama: 3100 Magazine St., 373-6579, GGsNewOrleans.com
Haute: 725 Magazine St., 522-8687, HauteNola.com
Magazine Street Merchants Association: MagazineStreet.com
MIMI: 5500 Magazine St., 269-6464, MimiNola.com
Perfect Fit Shoes: 5525 Magazine St., 456-5993, PerfectFitShoes.net
Swap Boutique: 5530A Magazine St., 324-8143, SwapBoutique.com
Trashy Diva: Clothing Boutique: 2048 Magazine St., 299-8777, Lingerie Boutique: 2044 Magazine St., 522-5686, Shoe Boutique: 2050 Magazine St., 265-0973, TrashyDiva.com