Dress Me Up, Dress Me Down

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Ladylike leather?  Irreverent velvet?  An emerging local designer takes a shot at holiday style—with a twist. Written by Allison Brooks. Photography by Michelle L. Morris

“I love to make my clothes versatile,”Savannah designer Brooke Atwood tells me, on a break from masterminding this issue’s festive fashion images.  “Price points aren’t cheap, so if you buy a piece, you should be able to wear it several different ways.  It’s all about the styling.”

We asked Brooke, whose eponymous collection is new this season, to show us how to take one of her signature pieces from PBR to Champagne.  She chose a burgundy leather T-shirt and paired it with finds from her favorite local boutiques.

“If you wear leather, you have some kind of spunk,” Brooke admits, adding that she thinks the Hostess City can definitely handle her boho style.  “Savannah’s not the traditional little Southern town that everyone assumes it is.”

To craft her collection, Brooke pulled inspiration from photographs of Southern country icons like Patsy Cline and June Carter.  She also employed the Renaissance-era trapunto technique of quilted embroidery to texturize her rich fabrics.

“I love a risqué leather top paired with a sweet skirt that has velvet, trapunto embroidery and flowers,” the designer says.  “I always try to go for that hard-and-soft look.”


Designer Brooke Atwood shows us how to make leather ladylike.  »

Brooke Atwood perforated lambskin leather top, $375 at www.brookeatwood.com.  Marc by Marc Jacobs dress, $698, and leather studded clutch, $328 at Marc by Marc Jacobs, 322 W. Broughton St., 234-2800.  Rachel Comey silk socks, $32, and Samma brass cut-out rings, $82 each at Extant Fair, 140 Abercorn St., 233-9001.  Stylist’s own shoes.


Paired with shorts and tights, the same lambskin T-shirt reveals its wilder side.  »

Trina Turk houndstooth shorts, $178 at Copper Penny, 22 W. Broughton St., 629-6800. Equipment snakeskin-print silk top, $248, and Kenneth J. Lane gold stud ring, $55 at James Gunn, 115 W. Broughton St., 790-7500.  Bazz de Grant emerald “Stuyvesant Ave” necklace, $250, Elizabeth Thompson horse-head cuff, $440, and disc cuff, $128 at ShopSCAD, 340 Bull St., 525-5180.  Suede boots by LD Tuttle, $585 at Extant Fair.