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Hats Off to Mimi Holaday of HALO MIMI

The Emerging Designer Taking the New Orleans Fashion Scene

The last year has seen a meteoric rise for local fashion designer Mimi Holaday. Her collection HALO MIMI, which launched in 2016, recently won Holaday the Top Design Competition at the seventh season of New Orleans Fashion Week in March. But the designer's recent successes belie her impressive background. Having spent the last decade studying and working in different areas of fashion and business, Mimi Holaday is no simple overnight success. 


“The last year has been very exciting and rewarding,” Holaday shared, reflecting on the path from the beginning of HALO MIMI to now. The blonde NOLA native returned to her hometown to work on her namesake collection following a stint in Los Angeles working in styling, modeling, and design. “I wanted to see what my best looked like. So I took the time away from work and the world to build the collection.” Her efforts were met with great success and accolades from the New Orleans fashion set. 



HALO MIMI is a women’s clothing and accessories line that mixes classic bohemia with a modern flare. Her current collection available for custom order boasts handmade premium felt and straw hats, with intricate hand-sewn, embroidered, and beaded details. Why launch her collection with millinery? “Hats are a signature of a true southern lady,” explained Holaday. The designer was raised in the fashion scene of New Orleans. Her former runway model mother was good friends with Yvonne Le Fleur, a French designer and hat maker who lived many years in New Orleans. "I am unsure when I first fell in love with hats, but there are many photos of me as a child wearing hats." 


The animal-loving designer ensures that all fur pelts used in her works are sheared, and never come from animals killed. Other materials featured heavily in her designs are bohemian details like ostrich feathers, dried spray roses, and vintage scarves. Holaday plays with the texture of each of her personally-curated materials, often combining them in unexpected yet elegant ways. 



Pattern play that most excites the designer? “Sequins paired with fur, or fleeced wool on top of chiffon,” she said. “[Or] modern elements like clear vinyl, but used as a corset or embellished with Venetian lace to give it that timeless feeling.” 


“There is an underlying ethereal vibe at play here,” the designer explained of her collection. Mixing her childhood interests in angels and celestial beings with design details from centuries past, Holaday creates a beautifully bohemian collection that conveys timeless fashion unrestricted by cultural trends. The designer counts her global travels as main influences in her designs and practices — adopting the silk flower and embroidery techniques of Parisian haute couture atelier houses, as well as the manufacturing and production practices of Antiqua, Hong Kong and Italy. 


Currently, each of Holaday’s designs is custom-made — in the future, the designer plans to expand the production of her accessories. “There are ways to recreate my designs in a more affordable way, and I am very open to that,” she explained. 



Her victory at the NOFW Top Design Competition will go a long way toward that. The NOFW Top Design winner traditionally receives a financial prize package to go toward funding the winner’s collection, and HALO MIMI is invited to show at next season’s Fashion Week.


With growing production opportunities for her accessories collection and her ready-to-wear clothing launch scheduled for Fall/Winter 2017, Mimi Holaday is well-poised to conquer the design scene in New Orleans and beyond. Rest assured she will be doing it in style. 



All photos courtesy of Mimi Holaday

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