New Orleans is like no other city in the world. Steamy, sultry, decadent and delicious, you can feel the history of the city everywhere. It’s in the architecture, the streetcars, the famous food items everyone’s clamoring for. It’s a magical city. Right after Essence Festival weekend, we found some time to escape, explore, and do a photo shoot featuring these glorious dresses from Igigi.

Afrobella collage 3


Whenever I do photo shoots I think of teenage me. When I was 16 or 17, I wanted so much to model for a popular Trinidadian designer and I was always told that I could, “when you lose 20 pounds.”  I wound up mistreating my body to try to achieve a goal that didn’t seem possible. Statements like that led me to not appreciate my own beauty. It took me years to come into my own and appreciate all of me, as I am.

Beauty comes in all shapes, all sizes, all textures and all shades. And there are designers out there making truly beautiful clothes for bigger bodies – I felt like a princess in these Igigi dresses, they’re made with curves in mind and the garments all have a beautiful flow to them. 

Their fall fashion just debuted on the site and you can see it all here! AND you can enter the code "afrobella" for 15%OFF  good from now through Monday, August 06, 2012. So while you check out these dresses, you can shop their new Fall line!

To capture the magic of these dresses in this truly beautiful city, we did a renegade photo shoot, ridin’ around and gettin’ it around New Orleans, with photographer Chuck Olu-Alabi (@Chuckstr) and amazing makeup artist Maria Baredda (@MariaB_MUA). LOVED this experience! I hope you like these photos as much as I did shooting them.


Dress #1 – The Ali Dress by Igigi


We took these photos in Louis Armstrong Park, which is in the world famous Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans. The mosaic  wall is gorgeous and went so perfectly with the colors of this dress!


Can I tell you how much I LOVE this dress? It makes me feel like a beautiful butterfly! So comfortable, so easy. Love. And PS – it also comes in red.

In Louis Armstrong Park there’s an area called Congo Square. A bit of the history, via Wikipedia:

In Louisiana’s French and Spanish colonial era of the 18th century, slaves were commonly allowed Sundays off from their work. They were allowed to gather in the "Place de Negres", "Place Publique", later "Circus Square" or informally "Place Congo" at the "back of town" (across Rampart Street from the French Quarter), where the slaves would set up a market, sing, dance, and play music.

I love places where you can truly FEEL history. And it’s definitely in Congo Square. I was so honored just to BE there, check out the amazing statues, and stand under those ancient trees.


It’s an incredibly beautiful, historic part of New Orleans. So glad we went there.

Dress – The Ali Dress by Igigi

Shoes – by Kelsi Dagger, bought on Amazon

Necklace– by Peace Images

Earrings – from Forever 21.


Dress #2 – the Thelma Draped Dress in Coral/Charcoal

Afrobella collage 1

We shot these photos in a random park complete with pastel colored columns across the street from the Ambassador Hotel. Makeup artist Maria B took one look at my dress and KNEW where I needed to take these photos. Loved the colors right away!

This is the kind of dress I could wear to a tea party or a business meeting. Love the colors and the versatility.

Dress #2 – the Thelma Draped Dress in Coral/Charcoal

Shoes – by Kelsi Dagger, bought on Amazon

Necklace – the Privileged purple agate slice from Max and Chloe

Bracelets – from Avon

Ring – agate slice ring by Candid Art, on Twitter she’s @CanDid_Art

Earrings – bought them the day before from Astella 19.  They cost $6!


Dress #3 – the Rainforest Paradise Maxi by Igigi.

Afrobella collage 2

Every woman needs a showstopper in her arsenal, right? This dress makes me feel like an absolute queen.  A bohemian butterfly. The fabric is light and silky and makes me wish I could ballroom dance or something – the dress has a truly elegant swing to it.




These photos were taken at Le Pavillon Hotel, one of the five most haunted hotels in New Orleans, reportedly. Like I said, you can feel the history of New Orleans everywhere. And haunted or not, the place is BEYOND gorgeous.

Dress – the Rainforest Paradise Maxi by Igigi.

Shoes – by Kelsi Dagger, bought on Amazon

Necklace – the Kanupriya circle and teardrop necklace from Max and Chloe

Earrings – Frisk tassel earrings from


Thanks to Chuck Olu-Alabi for being such an amazing photographer to work with. Thanks to Maria Baredda for being such a brilliant makeup artist and for having such insight on where to shoot in her beautiful city – look out for a post on her! Thanks to Igigi for their generosity with these beautiful dresses – don’t forget, you can enter the code "afrobella" for 15%OFF good from now through Monday, August 06, 2012.

And thanks to the city of New Orleans for such beautiful inspiration. Can’t wait till my next visit!

Do you see anything you love, bellas? Tell me! Which is your favorite dress?


SanTara says:
July 24, 2012, 12:42 pm
You look beautiful!! The lip color is super sexy and that MAXI!! Yes! It's a win all around. It sets the "girls" up nice. LOL
Darlene says:
July 24, 2012, 12:47 pm
You are so beautiful! Love the dresses and the way you've styled them.
nolagirl says:
July 24, 2012, 1:06 pm
I love a coupon code! i have been eying some Igigi dresses for few days this is right on time! Glad you had fun in new orleans, but then again how can you not.
bella says:
July 24, 2012, 1:09 pm
yes and you know you gotta make sure the girls are sitting pretty! LOL <3 you SanTara!!! Thanks for bringing Maria into my world - love her!
bella says:
July 24, 2012, 1:09 pm
thank you Darlene!! I loved doing this shoot!
Nikia says:
July 24, 2012, 1:22 pm
I'm loving the Ali and Thelma dresses. It's good to see you showing some leg. ;)
bella says:
July 24, 2012, 1:43 pm
LOL! I don't do it often enough! I'll do better in the leg department :) thanks mamacita!!
Dad and Mom says:
July 24, 2012, 3:35 pm
Very beautiful.You look happy and relaxed. Love all the pics.
Madeleine says:
July 24, 2012, 4:17 pm
You looking absolutely beautiful in this photo shoot. I've been reading your blog for over a year and have only lurked but I wanted to share my opinion this time because as a fellow curvy girl, its awesome to see such beautiful representation!
pets says:
July 24, 2012, 6:33 pm
You are the BOMBE! Lovely!!
bella says:
July 25, 2012, 9:02 am
thank you Dad and Mom! I love you
bella says:
July 25, 2012, 10:29 am
thank you Madeline!!!! I am so happy to hear you say that. Trying my best to represent!
K to the... says:
July 25, 2012, 12:27 pm
I LOVE the pics in the first dress. Bella had the legs out and about like "HELLO!" OOOWWWWW!!!!
ria says:
July 25, 2012, 1:23 pm
Torn between #1 & #3 but I just love the easy, breezy covergirl way you rocked #1. So #1 it is!
bella says:
July 25, 2012, 2:10 pm
love you!!
Rethea says:
July 25, 2012, 3:10 pm
I rarely take the time to comment on any blogs; although I have favorites that I view weekly. I have put you on my favorites list. I enjoy your blog. You have introduced me to a lot of products etc... I take away something every time I read it. If I were to ever become a blogger you would have been my inspiration.
MsXpat says:
July 25, 2012, 3:47 pm
WOW stunning! Very SATC :0)
Maven says:
July 25, 2012, 5:05 pm
Great photos! And great scenery. Really liked dresses 1 and 3. GORGE!
I Am Your People says:
July 26, 2012, 12:04 am
So super-glam! I love it!
Maria Barreda says:
July 26, 2012, 12:42 am
LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! The images!! They came out great!! And your are so beautiful inside and out!! Can't wait till the next time we link up!! Ridin around and Gettin it!! LOL
The Curly Oenophile says:
July 26, 2012, 8:56 am
I love the Ali dress! You look like a beautiful butterfly in it! And as far as your weight, I would say don't try to get "skinny". Get HEALTHY! I have this goal and I find my weight is dropping slowly but my body is getting healthier.
warrior11209 says:
July 26, 2012, 12:39 pm
Love all the looks on you with the Ali dress being my fav. I totally agree with Nikia - you should show those great legs more often! Great pic and thanks for the history lesson.
bella says:
July 26, 2012, 3:28 pm
you see me!! OK i'll try to rock more short dresses :)
bella says:
July 26, 2012, 3:29 pm
thank you! I love #1 - I've worn it a LOT! Worth the buy IMO
bella says:
July 26, 2012, 3:30 pm
thank you so much!!! That really means a lot - happy to be one of your favorites!
bella says:
July 26, 2012, 3:30 pm
SO MUCH FUN!!! Loved working with you, you're the best!!!
bella says:
July 26, 2012, 3:31 pm
I need to blog more about this but you are so right and that's what i'm working on. I want to be fitter. Been working out :) will share in a new post! Thanks for your comment!
Sunny says:
July 30, 2012, 2:30 pm
These dresses are absolutely gorgeous, I love the bold colors and prints, perfect for this time of year. You are so pretty and your makeup is simply stunning. I would have to say that my favorite is the Rainforest Paradise Maxi by Igigi because I like the way the top part is stretchy and the rest is flowing, I would buy one for sure.