Couture in Store
Fashion designer Claudia Croazzo’s boutique and studio on Magazine Street is tailor-made to serve New Orleans’ most fashionable women.
Anyone who has walked past Claudia Croazzo on Magazine Street has likely noticed its eye-catching window displays. Minimalist, yet bold and often cheeky, the displays feature wigged mannequins bedecked in Croazzo’s daring creations. The 1,570-square-foot boutique and fashion studio opened in September of 2018 and was designed with the help of architect Lindsey Woolf at Woolf Architecture and Interiors. Croazzo, 26, offers New Orleans women her take on sleek, sophisticated and stylish couture designs, which are made on site.
“I want someone to feel sexy, but still sophisticated,” says Croazzo. “Never uncomfortable.”
Croazzo opened the first incarnation of her eponymous fashion house in her hometown in Lancashire, England in 2016. The young designer obtained a degree in Fashion Design and Styling at the University of Salford in Manchester, England and wasted no time launching her own line. She created original designs while working at another fashion house and, according to Lancaster Life magazine, quickly caused a stir at London Fashion Week’s closing showcase events and red carpets during her first year in business, catching the eye of editors at British Vogue and Elle.
“I had more of a working studio where people would come by appointment,” says Croazzo of her former space. “We’ve always had an online presence, [but] always said we need to have a storefront.”
That opportunity presented itself after Croazzo moved to the United States with her husband, who is from Louisiana. After viewing spaces in Baton Rouge, Croazzo turned her attention toward New Orleans and ultimately decided it was a better fit, saying, “I think some of my pieces were a bit out there for Baton Rouge!”
The space at 4214 Magazine St., is the former home of Bonjour Lingerie. Despite having already served as a retail spot, it required a variety of design changes and updates to match Croazzo’s vision and brand.
The renovation lasted from March to September, 2018. Woolf redesigned the storefront, painting the exterior white with black trim and larger windows. The interior was also painted white and light wood flooring replaced the former mix of dark wood and speckled, dark beige, Terrazzo-style tile. The minimalist aesthetic of the window displays is carried over into the interior with clothing is hung on a limited number of Lucite rods suspended by gold chains that are bolted to the ceiling.
“I don’t like to walk into a store and feel claustrophobic,” says Croazzo. “That’s why it is minimalistic. I want it to be open, so you can see everything.”
The hanging racks contain a mix of swimwear, branded T-shirts and other casual, ready-to-wear, as well as cocktail attire and samples of Croazzo’s formal gowns, which tailored to client’s measurements and preferences. Handbags and other accessories are housed on a shelf near the gowns.
A bar cart topped with an ice bucket and champagne beckons shoppers to sip and relax on plush, white sofas in the lounge and dressing room area just beyond the retail showroom. Each dressing room features two mirrors facing one another so that clients can view back details on the gowns. A fabric wall in the corner of the dressing room area is chock full of fabrics Croazzo has sourced from buying trips to the United Kingdom, Milan and Paris, some of them bespoke creations by the designer for her brand.
Croazzo’s staff includes two sales assistants and three seamstresses and her hiring strategy is to find “people she can see herself gelling with.”
“It’s a fun atmosphere,” she says. “I look forward to coming to into work.”
To date her biggest challenge has been brand awareness in the U.S. — having come from the U.K. — and trying to get collections out for each season. For now, she’s focusing on sales, branding and keeping a steady flow of traffic, with the goal down the line of opening another location.
The workroom where Croazzo designs and her seamstresses construct the gowns is flooded with natural light from an expanse of windows that open to a backyard and via the viewing window, where clients can watch designs come to full realization.
“Everything in my store is designed by me on site,” says Croazzo. “I want it to be an experience, for [clients] to see how everything is made. I offer design consultation and help women dress for their figures and empower them.”
At A Glance
Date of Opening
1,570 square feet
Number of Employees
Two sales assistants and three seamstresses
Person in Charge