LSU Graduate Creates Dream Dresses in New Orleans
LSU in NOLA: Suzanne Perron St. Paul
BATON ROUGE - LSU graduate Suzanne Perron St. Paul designs and creates wedding dresses, Mardi Gras ballgowns and other evening wear from her New Orleans shop. It was a dream that started when she was a little girl.
“When I was five, I learned to sew, and from that point on, I wanted to be a fashion designer,” St. Paul said. “I wore skirts I made to kindergarten.”
St. Paul studied fashion design at LSU, where she graduated in 1991.
“I initially had my sights set on the Pratt Institute in New York City. I was awarded a scholarship but it was still cost prohibitive. I received a letter in the mail from LSU stating I won a full academic honors scholarship. Little did I know the letter would change the trajectory of my life in the most amazing way,” said St. Paul. “I was able to stay in Louisiana and combine my two passions: one of fashion, the second of dance. I was a four year member of the LSU Golden Girls.”
In addition to the Golden Girls, St. Paul was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
“With LSU I held several leadership positions. It was so fun to be a part of the community,” she said.
Inside the classroom, St. Paul focused on her design skills.
“The fashion design program really allowed me to grow in my craft and build on the knowledge base I already had. The faculty were dedicated and really encouraged us all to succeed,” St. Paul said. “So much of what I learned in my classes at LSU I use every day in my design work.”
After graduating from LSU, St. Paul moved to New York City for a one year accelerated program at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
“A huge advantage of the scholarship money from LSU is I was debt free. And that allowed me to choose the creatively challenging position without having to focus on the finances,” said St. Paul.
Her first job in New York City was design assistant for Carolina Herrera, where she found her niche in draping and pattern-making. Followed by a stint with Anna Sui, then Vera Wang.
“I was with her for four years and had the opportunity to work on bridal, evening and celebrity dressing,” St. Paul said. “Working with Vera Wang was a culmination of so many of my dreams.”
Today, her business is growing, and she works closely to ensure clients look and feel their best.
“My favorite part of the process is when a client puts on the gown and radiates with a beaming smile,” St. Paul said.
Most of her time is focused on ball gowns for the Mardi Gras season.
“With the culture of New Orleans and Mardi Gras, I'm living a dream I never knew I had because the gowns for Mardi Gras are so beautiful, elaborate and unique, and custom to each client,” St. Paul said.
Recently, she tried something new and designed a leotard for the first time.
“When the LSU Golden Girls were looking to have the uniforms recreated, many of the Golden Girls knew I had a fashion design background, so they approached me to design the new uniforms,” St. Paul said. “It is overwhelming to see my creativity in one of the most visible ways that I have ever displayed my work.”
Her gowns have been displayed in the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans. But she has dreams some of her gowns would live in New York, “I wouldn’t mind one day having my gowns displayed at the Met Institute or FIT’s costume collection.”
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Contact Rachel Holland
LSU Media Relations