Pamela Love Mardi Gras Beads

CFDA Award-Winning designer Pamela Love and Billy Reid collaboration of a limited edition Mardi Gras-inspired beads. Photos by Rush Jagoe

Pamela Love Mardi Gras Beads

Friday Feb 17, 2017

New Orleans is famous for many things, not least of which is the annual carnival season that’s marked by several days of parades, music, galas and dancing in the streets. From afar, the Mardi Gras holiday has a reputation for being a festival of uninhibited debauchery, but the wilds of Bourbon Street are not the heart of the holy day. Traditionally, it’s a time for family and friends to celebrate before Lent begins and vices are checked until Easter. Parades of large, decorated floats roll through the city while their riders toss tchotchkes like engraved wood medallions, bejeweled stilettos, gold-painted coconuts and, of course, beads. Multi-colored strings of plastic Mardi Gras beads might be the single most recognized trinkets of New Orleans, on which Billy envisioned a luxury rendition that would prove timeless well beyond the holiday.

"Having the opportunity to celebrate Mardi Gras with our own beads is certainly fun to share with our friends and customers,” says Billy. “We wanted the beads to have more substance than your typical ‘stock’ set of beads. We wanted them to have some lasting value and wear beyond Mardi Gras.” For years Billy has wanted to create a chic, elevated take on the classic beads, influenced in part by his childhood spent in Amite, Louisiana, and his love for the Crescent City. That desire has come to fruition by teaming up with CFDA Award-winning designer Pamela Love.

Billy and Pamela have long been friends, and when she attended Shindig No. 8 in Florence, Alabama, last summer, a conversation between the two began to unfold. “Pamela Love makes beautiful things, and we've known each other since our time together during the Vogue Fashion Fund several years ago. So, we thought it would be fun to collaborate on a set of beads blending our two aesthetics,” explains Billy.

With a piece of the iconic Billy Reid heirloom ribbon as inspiration, Pamela created a limited edition of elegant beaded necklaces made from brass and onyx. On Tuesday, February 21, Billy and Pamela will be in our New Orleans store to officially introduce the bead collaboration. If you’re local, please join us anytime from 10 AM and 5 PM.

The limited edition Pamela Love-Billy Reid Mardi Gras Beads will be sold in our New Orleans store and online.

Partial proceeds from the sale of these beads will be donated to the non-profit organization The Roots of Music, which teaches music history and theory, and provides instrumental instruction and ensemble performance preparation for kids from low-income households in New Orleans. The Roots of Music band performs at various festivals and events throughout the year and in several Mardi Gras parades, which are as famous for the area’s school marching bands as for the floats and beads.