The ELYSIAN Guide to Dallas, Texas

It’s a big city that’s a little bit country, uncompromisingly graceful and surprisingly fun.

If a certain hit television show from the 1980s has you thinking that Dallas style is all about big hair and glitzy evening gowns, then you aren’t entirely wrong. But fashion in the ninth-largest metropolis in the country has developed far beyond the denim-and-diamonds style of the fictional Ewing family. Nowadays, Dallas is a big city that’s a little bit country, uncompromisingly graceful and surprisingly fun.

Fashion addicts from coast-to-coast are now taking their cues from contemporary style gurus like Brighton Keller, Courtney Kerr and Kendi Skeen, three Dallas-based trendsetters that always dress to kill when traipsing the sunny streets of this distinctively Southern city. These classy fashion influencers prove that in Texas, bigger is always better.

(Photo sources, left to right: Instagram, @kendievery ; @brightonkeller ; @kerrently)

ELYSIAN is in love with the Southern spirit of Dallas. Dallas street styles go bold – animal prints, diamond-crusted cowboy boots, hair with delicious volume, and of course, denim. Leaving behind much of the 1980s gaudy appeal, the style remains fresh, fashion-forward and distinctively Texan.

Whether you’re in Dallas on vay-cay or if you only have time for a brief excursion between business meetings, ELYSIAN has some tips on how to spend your time in one of the largest cities in the country.

 

IN THE AM(PERSAND)

No day can truly begin without a caffeine boost. Toast your morning at ELYSIAN’s favorite spot for life-giving coffee, Ampersand in Fort Worth’s West 7th neighborhood.

Serving up some of the freshest South American and African blends (that they air-roast daily in house), their goal is to help you slow down and relax, a welcome retreat from the bustling streets of this Texas city. And you can even stop by before turning to your hotel to see its transformation into a charming bar and nightclub.

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(Image source: Instagram / @ampersandtx)

 

AFTERNOON SHOPPING:
CABANA & CANARY

One of my favorite activities on a getaway in a new city is to go prospecting around the fashion districts. While you’re in the area, be sure to pop over to one of our favorite spots, CABANA, a true speakeasy of boutiques. It’s as whimsical as the street that sits on: Lovers Lane (and remains something of an insider secret). With a name like CABANA, it will come as no surprise that this beach house-inspired store evokes a carefree attitude and chill vibes.

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Owner Merry Vose brought this Bohemian bungalow-turned boutique to life in 2006 and later, CANARY, as well. CABANA is a beachy, laid-back, casual lifestyle emporium. CANARY offers a chance to discover more European brands with a sophisticated, but playful twist. Both stores offer curated selections that Merry considers to be a product of her wanderlust life and fantasy closet. Fresh and fun, these unassuming shop fronts house collections with a decidedly Dallas sense of daring and flare.

Here are some of ELYSIAN’s favorite brands to browse while sipping iced tea at CABANA. (Hint: Merry is committed to breakout labels and the range of delightfully diverse names on the docket prove it.)

 

STELLA JEAN

A protegé of Giorgio Armani, former-model-turned-designer Stella Jean wows fans with her loud, bursting prints and patterns. Her work is one of global influence, melding classical Italian tailoring with bold themes from Haiti and the Caribbean, each a tribute to the heritage of her parents.

1. Giraffe pants, $494; 2.Patterned top, $579; 3. Cropped blouse, $468;
4. Vertical stripe midi skirt, $459; 5. Giraffe maxi dress, $891shopbop.com

 

LA CALIFORNIENNE

Nestled in an LA workshop, La Californienne reflects the magic hours of the California skyline in form of vintage watch restoration. Taking aging timepieces and revitalizing them with American-sourced leather and hand-painted artistry on the face and straps, each watch is 100% authentic – and 100% one-of-a-kind.

1. Rolex 1971, $9,500; 2. Cartier 1970s, $3,7503. Rolex 1968, $10,5004. Rolex 1971, $8,5005. Rolex 1977, $9,5006. Rolex 1970, $8,0007. Rolex 1974, $9,5008. Rolex 1976, $8,500; barneys.com

 

MEHER KAKALIA

Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Meher Kakalia began her foray into the world of fashion by designing an original collection of footwear to honor her home country’s tradition of embroidery. After crafting her first collection by hand, she set up her workshop and set out in search of master craftsmen. (Bonus: her shoes and accessories use sustainable and recycled materials while limiting the use of toxic glues.)

1. Fringed bizi flats, $2182. Rose bizi flats, $2183. Dark blue bizi flats, $2034. Grey bizi flats, $218

 

WARM

The love child of established designer Tracy Feith and creative director Winnie Beattie, WARM is a cult-favorite with its romantic, vintage-inspired pieces. Eclectic patterns, free-form silhouettes and effortless chic are the emblems of this easy-breezy label.

Leela floral dress, $299; Stevie floral dress, $795; Lou Lou button-up, $245; Path floral skirt, $345; Cowerie oversized dress, $219, modaoperandi.com

 

EDELTRUD HOFMANN

Inspired by the simpler decades of the 40s, 50s and 70s, designer Masayo Kishi launched her brand of silk blouses with the intention of jazzing up the workday style uniform. These day-to-evening wardrobe additions feature luxurious silk, playful pussy bows and subtle balloon sleeves – the perfect pick-me-up for a plain skirt or pair of slacks.

1. Dark blue polka-dot blouse, $8772. Green floral-print silk blouse, $1,0023. Pink and black polka-dot blouse, $8774. Cherry and floral-print silk blouse, $1,0025. Yellow and black polka-dot blouse, $8776. Horsebit-print blouse, $1,002; matchesfashion.com

 

MARISSA WEBB

Fashion exec Marissa Webb worked in the industry for decades – with stints at Banana Republic, Gap and J. Crew – before she decided to introduce her own namesake brand. Combining softness and crisp silhouettes, the brand’s items are a perfect marriage of masculine detail and feminine fierceness.

1. Ana blazer, $358.802. Ashten-print strapless top, $241.50; 3. Adelaide washed pants, $225; 4. Jane leather shorts, $2355. Ariella skirt, $241.506. Kinley silk print blouse, $348.607. Kendra midi dress, $269; shopbop.com

 

LA PRESTIC OUISTON

Launched by French designer Laurence Maheo, these designs bring a playful whimsy to the classic lines of the feminine silhouette. Incorporating vintage fabrics, these richly patterned pieces are sure to bring some fun to your workday wardrobe.

1. Raglan sweatshirt, $3932. Silk Indian dress, $5363. Twiggy shirt, $3214. Miami pants, $300; 24sevres.com

 

APIECE APART

Sparked by the beautiful spareness of Texan countryside, Apiece Apart co-founders Star Houtt and Laura Cramer set out to build the perfect wardrobe. Putting out long-lasting, streamlined – yet elevated – basics on which to found any outfit, these unfussy clothing pieces can be mixed and matched in any combination, all equally fabulous and elegant.

1. Ossetia tiers dress, $2952. Hyacinth pom-pom sweater, $4503. Cosmos convertible skirt/dress, $4544. Seri crotchet swing tank, $3755. Camelia one-shoulder dress, $5766. Everlasting striped cotton blouse, $2887. Nightingale wrap dress, $595

 

MUST-VISIT INTERIOR SHOWROOM:
CEYLON ET CIE

In a state where hospitality – think sunny brunches and elaborate Sunday dinners – is on the forefront of a lavish lifestyle, Dallas is the perfect place to get a taste of the Texan elite. Enter Michelle Nussbaumer, the self-proclaimed world traveler, lover of beauty and Dallas-based interior designer – and her legendary showroom, Ceylon et Cie.

Having collected a multitude of different pieces and influences, the showroom itself is a shmorgishborg of patterns, colors and fabrics. The sheer amount – and diversity – of the inventory is definitely a sight to behold. Pick up a few pieces while you’re there, or commission a custom piece for your next room remodel.

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WHERE TO STAY:
It’s a toss-up…

There’s no shortage of four- and five-star hotels in Dallas, but it’s always preferred to have the inside scoop on the cremé de la cremé. After long and careful consideration, we’ve narrowed down the choices to our two favorites.

 

HOTEL ZAZA DALLAS

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Tucked away along the border of chic Dallas uptown and fashionable Dallas downtown, Hotel Zaza is a different kind of hotel – and has been a defining factor of Dallas luxury for more than fifteen years. Subscribing to that Dallas spirit of going over-the-top, Hotel Zaza Dallas combines a mediterranean elegance with a slew of worldwide influences from the Far East to Morocco to old world Hollywood.

Whether you go for the luxe standard rooms, one of the “Magnificent Seven,” (like the Rock Star suite to live like Jagger to the Last Czar for a taste of Russian royalty) or a themed concept suite, you’re sure to enjoy your stay. You can dine at the hotel’s award-winning fine-dining restaurant, Dragonfly, or its location allows you easy access to the cafes and nightlife spots surrounding.

 

THE JOULE

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Our other – equally luxurious – choice for ritzy lodging is The Joule. A neo-Gothic landmark from the 1920s, this luxurious hotel was revitalized to its former – perhaps better than its former – glory amongst the epicenter of Dallas’ central business district.

With art as its focal point, the carefully curated artworks at The Joule are sure to inspire and mesmerize. With more than 70 mosaics and a plethora of rotating artworks, you can immerse yourself in the amazingly beautiful and thought-evoking setting. Equipped with in-building shops, a variety of dining and drinking options and a wellness spa, there’s a chance that you may never want to leave.

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