Madison Kerth prizes her red high heels.
“I’d say my style is … from the 1950s Marilyn Monroe pin-up era,” says Kerth, a senior at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.
“I’m a musical theater student, so I think it’s an unspoken rule that you always wear red lipstick. I just kind of took it from there.”
As high school fashionistas go, Kerth is lucky. NOCCA doesn’t require students to wear school uniforms, so she can express her personality in her clothes.
The New Orleans Advocate met with Kerth and three other NOCCA students to see what’s in style for teens this fall.
Vintage wear is big, the teens advise, along with bright colors and relaxed, casual style.
Kerth notes that New Orleans is no stranger to vintage style, so she feels like she’s in good company.
“Definitely in the Marigny area, especially, you see a lot of vintage and hipsters,” she says.
Darius Christiansen, an 11th-grader in the creative writing program at NOCCA, says that living in the French Quarter and attending the Faubourg Marigny school means he is constantly surrounded by the area’s “anything goes” attitude and vibrant colors — both of which he says influence his personal style.
“I’d describe myself as kind of an Afro street hippie,” he says. “I love being comfortable and I’m a very eccentric kind of guy.
“I love loose fabrics and pairing them with something like bleached skinny jeans.”
Christiansen says he hopes to be an author or screenwriter someday. “I’d love to make my own show — to be able to work one-on-one with a costume designer,” he says.
Comfort is also king with NOCCA senior and musical theater student Kiersten Moore, who stresses that relaxation doesn’t have to come at the expense of femininity thanks to maxi dresses and rompers.
Originally designed for children in the early 1900s, the romper was adopted by women in the 1950s. Almost six decades later, it made its return on fashion catwalks in 2006. It’s available in everything from a track suit velour casual look to floral prints and lace.
“When it’s early in the morning and I’m tired, it’s just such an easy thing to throw on and have a complete look,” Moore says. “I find that when I dress more feminine it’s a real confidence booster.”
Of course, when it comes to fashion, no New Orleans teen can touch the credentials of NOCCA 10th grader Tieler Garsaud.
Last fall, under his working name of Tieler James, the student was declared the winner of the fifth episode of “Project Runway: Threads,” a spinoff of the popular television series designed for teenage competitors. His designs have since been showcased as the opener for the closing night of this past spring’s NOLA Fashion Week.
Designing since the age of 7, Garsaud says he turned to fashion as a creative outlet in an attempt to deal with bullying. The theater design student says that in terms of his own daily wardrobe, he prefers a “relaxed style with a vintage twist.”
“I’m very eclectic, but I’d say a lot of what I wear is ’80s and ’90s inspired,” he says.
Garsaud’s idea of “vintage” might give some of us pause, though. His favorite fashion item is his grandfather’s old Coca-Cola shirt from the ‘80s.
“Whatever you wear,” he says, “the important thing is that it’s a true expression of who you are.”