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Isabel Varela's Bold Return to NOLA Fashion Week

by M.D. Dupuy

As NOLA Fashion Week struts along through Saturday, designers are frantically fitting, making sure every last look is runway ready. On Tuesday night, veteran Dallas-based designer Isabel Varela is putting her sleek, structured, aesthetic on display for her fourth NOLA Fashion Week appearance. NoDef caught up with the artist and Southwest Louisiana gal in mid-preparation to discuss her collection as well as her relationship with New Orleans.   


Varela's talent brought her in front of the judges of Project Runway Season 8, where she placed as a semi-finalist. The Dallas-based designer is a Louisiana native, and she attended LSU for her undergraduate degree before travelling the world to further her studies.  


Varela, who focuses on fashions for women, is showing her Spring ’13 Collection from her line, Izavel, tomorrow night at the Saratoga (212 Loyola Avenue) at 8pm. The designer has 12 looks in tomorrow night’s show, all of which are representative of her wearable, jet-setting collection. 


The designer says that the pieces in her Spring ’13 collection distinguish themself through their bold colors and wide variety of textures. 


“It’s a celebration of color,” Varela says. “I do have a lot of tailored, structured, sexy, and edgy pieces.” 


Varela’s viewers can expect brocade and embroidered organza, among other fabrics.


The seasoned fashion creator says that NOLA Fashion Week offers designers the opportunity to engage with each other as well as buyers, bloggers, members of the press, and others in the industry.


“Oh my god, the exposure that it gives to designers is huge,” says Varela. “It’s a platform for emerging designers, and it’s gotten so much attention,” she says. 


According to Varela, the climate in New Orleans is conducive for young designers to flourish.


“I know for sure that New Orleans is really open to the new trends, they admire individuality, and that’s kind of how New York is also,” says Varela. “New Orleans is an international city, that helps it out, too.” 


In terms of NOLA’s street fashion, Varela says she admires the fact that New Orleanians like to show themselves through the clothes they wear.


“Everyone has their own personal style,” Varela explains. “It goes from Jordache jeans with a white tee, to really stylish, vintage-inspired, to really trendy, pushing the limit,” says Varela. 


Varela’s clothes are sold in four stores nationwide, including Vernon (2049 Magazine St.) in New Orleans and NK Boutique in Baton Rouge. You can also find her stuff online at Eves Apple  , Madison Boutique in The Woodlands, TX, and Dem Arara in Dallas, TX. 

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