Making Waves in the New Orleans Fashion Scene
Story by Rachel Perkins
Photos by Shannon Langlinais & Becky Vu | Macaron photos courtesy of Sucré New Orleans
Less than a year ago, Tiffany Langlinais told herself, “Today is the day I start the rest of my life.”
Life since then has been quite a whirlwhind. After buying herself an early Christmas gift in November of 2013—a sewing machine– she’s been taking New Orleans by storm with her line of women’s apparel and quirky, Southern accessories.
After the bland world of corporate living left her wanting more, Langlinais began creating her own clothes for fun.
“I’ve always been a big fan of wearing fun and outrageous things,” said Langlinais. “It didn’t matter if it wasn’t matching or if it was just downright weird. I simply enjoyed the feeling I had when I knew that my outfit was truly different, bold, and made me feel fantastic.”
Soon, other people started taking notice of her unique creations, and she started her line of apparel and accessories, Freret & Napoleon. Named after the cross-section in Uptown New Orleans, the young and vibrant brand is full of the pieces that cause double-takes and start conversations. Langlinais says she designs for herself, and other girls who seek fun and excitement in their wardrobes.
“This particular type of girl shudders at the words “bland” and “blah.” She knows that putting on a Freret & Napoleon piece will instantly brighten her day because she truly believes that if you look good, you feel good.”
Freret & Napoleon looks good indeed. Necklaces, rings, body chains and more, Langlinais designs jewelry and accessories inspired by the world around her. The influence of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast is obvious in her designs, with shells, jewels and even oyster shells integrated into the jewelry. Born and raised in Biloxi, Langlinais feels a strong pull towards the Coast and all its charms.
“It’s in my blood to identify with the gulf and all things Southern,” Langlinais says when explaining the recurring oyster shells in her collection. “I love the oyster shell because it has so many different facets. The varying textures, contradicting insides and outsides, and little “eye” truly creates an unending muse-like prop for me. I love the expression, ‘No grit, no pearl,’ and it rings so true for what I aim to do with my line.”
Freret & Napoleon has already found success and acclaim within New Orleans. Shortly after Langlinais created the line, she was accepted into New Orleans Fashion Week this past March. Surrounded by the lights, sounds and energy of Fashion Week, Langlinais knew she was right where she belonged.
Being in the atmosphere of such driven, creative, and artistic people, I could barely keep myself together because I was so enthused by the aura that they put off,” said Langlinais.
As a creative person and business owner, Langlinais is consistently busy. Whether she’s in meetings with retailers, communicating with coworkers and customers, or maintaining the image of her brand, she still manages to make every order by hand. Her commitment and hard work are apparent through the line’s success, but she has no plans to slow down.
Freret & Napoleon is currently hard at work on a summer capsule collection for Spring/Summer 2015, including apparel with the same coastal themes as her jewelry line. Langlinais says she has many plans for the future, including a very exciting potential swimwear line.
“I’m always looking for something different, new, and fresh, and I want to be able to provide that to those other individuals that feel the same way!” said Langlinais.
Freret & Napoleon goods are available at freretnapoleon.com and the following retailers:
3318 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70115
The Wildlife Reserve
111 Saint Charles Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
228 N Columbia St
Covington, LA 70433
140 East Front Street
Hattiesburg, MS 39401