“I’d best describe me in the words of Tanya Tucker: ‘A little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll,'” says New Orleans-based designer Tippi Clark.
Originally from Opelika, Alabama, Clark has worked as a designer for various well-known brands, including Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s jewelry and accessory line, Banana Republic, Coach, and Rebecca Minkoff. She eventually felt drawn back down South and chose New Orleans for the launch of her denim brand, Holt McCall. As a complement to her line, Clark helped found a vintage flea market, Little Flea NOLA, which she describes as a “treasure hunt destination.”
“When I first moved to New Orleans I was looking for a place to sell my vintage, up-cycled, and hand-embroidered denim,” Clark says.”I figured out quickly that a true flea market with great food, libations, and music set up on a regular schedule was something missing in the retail world here. So, I decided to start one with the help of my good friends, Hayley Gaberlavage and Ben Massey.”
I asked Clark how New Orleans inspires her work. “The elaborate beading and bead patches created by the Mardi Gras Indians fascinate me — I am in awe! Talk about goals,” she says. “Also, the color palettes of all the architecture here is so great and unexpected. Both examples make me think in different ways.”
This October, Clark is partnering with Southern Design Week, for a special Little Flea NOLA on Oct. 24. Check the website for other upcoming dates and times.
20 Questions with Tippi Clark
1. Who is your favorite New Orleanian, dead or alive, real or imagined?
Anne Rice. I started reading her books in junior high, and she created such a magical, mysterious mysticism of New Orleans that still intrigues me.
2. What first brought you to New Orleans?
Upon several visits over the last decade, I felt more inspired here than anywhere else in the country. I saw the possibly of how I could make Holt McCall a reality.
3. In your opinion – what’s the best neighborhood in New Orleans?
Lower Garden District.
4. If it’s a beautiful day, where are you going to spend it?
Biking all around the city with friends and exploring all the different neighborhoods. And on a gloomy day, vintage treasure hunting all around Louisiana.
5. Describe the best meal you’ve eaten in New Orleans?
Peche: Dauphin Island oysters, whole grilled redfish with salsa verde for the table, grilled okra with peanut romesco, and for dessert, the salted peanut pie.
6. Where’s your favorite brunch spot?
Cane and Table, early afternoon in the back courtyard with bottomless mimosas.
7. What’s your favorite po-boy? Where do you go to get it?
Parasol’s roast beef po-boy. The roast beef is so tender and juicy!
8. You’ve got friends visiting, and it’s their first time in New Orleans – where are you taking them?
Bacchanal for wine and live music under the trees, preferably on a Monday night.
9. What’s your favorite neighborhood bar?
Verret’s, especially on a Friday night when they have complimentary red beans and rice, and the live music is going and everyone is dancing!
10. What is your favorite New Orleans cocktail and where do you go to get it?
Cane and Table’s Gin Fizz.
11. What’s your favorite dessert or sweet treat in the city?
I’m not a huge sweets fan, but I do love a good Hansen’s Sno-Bliz in classic cherry.
12. Best spot to see live music?
One Eyed Jacks. The sound is great and, being a short person, it’s great that you can see the stage in every area of the room. Also, the round bar in the middle makes it great, too!
13. Favorite New Orleans musician or band?
14. Favorite New Orleans Festival?
Jazz Fest. Can’t go wrong with live music and arts and crafts.
15. What’s your ideal New Orleans date night?
Bike ride into the [French] Quarter, cocktails, and impromptu dinner.
16. What are your favorite local shops?
GoGo for jewelry and awesome paint-by-numbers vintage paintings. Loomed has amazing Turkish textiles with cool color palettes. Being a magazine and art book nerd, The Stax for all your literary needs at the CAC.
17. What is your favorite New Orleans museum?
18. Where do you go to watch The Saints play?
19. Describe New Orleans in one word.
20. When was the last time you fell in love with New Orleans and why?
Biking through the Garden District on my way home from a friend’s dinner party a couple of nights ago. It was one of those magical nights right when the weather had turned crisp. The streets were so quiet, and all the houses and trees were so beautiful. It felt like a dream.