Living Ind

Remember the Alamo

by Mary Tutwiler

New artist alliance reinvents, reimagines, reuses

Houndstooth jacket and lace jabot constructed from five articles of discarded clothing; designed by Suzanne Chaillot, clutch by Deborah Elberson, modeled by Robin Coleman.

Photo by Isabel LaSala

When it comes to going green, you can fly your flag right on your sleeve. Or your skirt. Or your bellbottoms. Derelique2Chic, a recycled and reinvented clothing line, created by a design group called Common Thread 3, will be walking the catwalk at the opening of Lafayette’s newest art gallery and artist’s studio space, The Alamo. Three artists, Suzanne Chaillot of Hidden Women of the Sea jewelry, Deborah Elberson, owner of reuse boutique Flip Flop, and Tausha Lell, owner of Euphoria, are the muses behind A Common Thread 3. The group is on a mission to reuse, recycle and reclaim what would otherwise fill up a landfill and remake it into something fashionable. “Green is the scene,” says Lell, who has been specializing in vintage items at her shop for years.

Lell sells everything from chic modern furniture to nippy-fox furs. Currently, she’s recycling antique wooden doors into jewelry displays. Chaillot, who was deeply into sea glass with her jewelry line, is now collecting fabric and its ilk and turning it into a whole new take on fashion. She’s working on a skirt made entirely out of old zippers, upping the ante on her previous one, made out of tired brassieres. “This kind of reinventing is going on in places like New York,” she says, predicting that Lafayette is ripe for the intersection of fashion and environmental awareness.

The style showcase Derelique2Chic, as well as an opening photography exhibit by Shannon Hughes and a show of hand-painted tiles by Heidi Foreman, takes place in another revitalization project, a restored warehouse on Simcoe Street dubbed The Alamo. “Last stand for the arts,” quips owner Ty Hanes. Hanes, whose business is Beyond Flowers, and his partner, architect Kenneth Delavergne, bought two mid-century brick warehouses on Simcoe, in the heart of one of Lafayette’s oldest neighborhoods, Mills Subdivision. One warehouse is home to Beyond Flowers as well as a loft apartment for Hanes and Delavergne. The other has been carved into about six studio spaces, a gallery, kitchen and common room to provide a working environment for artists. Hanes’ signature colors, bright yellows, oranges and greens, provide a sunny counterpoint to the concrete floors in the industrial space. There’s a real urban groove to the building, reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s 1960s-era Factory in New York. The Saturday night style show and art opening is the debut of The Alamo. Hanes is looking for a few friendly artists in search of studio space and companionship when they’re taking a break from creating. “I loved it when I had my flower studio on Jefferson,” Hanes says, “and lots of people would come in and talk or paint or just hang out. I’m hoping to re-create that kind of buzz here. There’s so much creative energy when a bunch of artists get together and work under one roof.”

The grand opening for The Alamo is Saturday, October 3, 7 p.m., at 318 West Simco. Call Ty Hanes at Beyond Flowers, 593-8084, for more information.