NASHVILLE — Anyone who says that fashion is lost on the South should think again. Dallas, after all, is the home of retail giant Neiman Marcus, while Miami shopping rivals that of any district in New York or Los Angeles. And, of all places, Nashville — with its mixture of sassy country singers, Vanderbilt co-eds and old-money Southerners — happens to be a standout fashion enclave. On a recent visit, WWD discovered there’s something for everyone here, whether you’re looking for a taste of the Old West or the latest must-have from your favorite runway. In our special retail report, we visited five stores — and one made-to-order legend — to see what they’re stocking, and what the hip Nashville girl is wearing.

Jamie — Nashville’s answer to Jeffrey — is a favorite among singers such as Faith Hill, Barbara Mandrell and Natalie Cole, along with stylists and well-to-do ladies from the neighboring Belle Meade area. The store, which stocks top designer clothing, shoes, handbags and coveted beauty brands, as well as jewelry and furs, defines one-stop shopping. “We have customers that span three generations,” says Hud Hudson, owner of the 30-year-old shop. “The daughters and granddaughters of the women who bought Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass and Carolina Herrera now come in for Yves Saint Laurent, Catherine Malandrino and Seven.”

With a career that spans 60 years, Manuel Cuevas, who started as an apprentice to Nudie, is still going strong. This king of glitter is best known for his work with another King — Elvis. Besides creating such looks as the rock legend’s studded white jumpsuit, Manuel has also worked with Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Dwight Yoakam and Sheryl Crow, to name only a few. He has collaborated on costumes for films such as “Urban Cowboy,” “Xanadu” and “The Electric Horseman,” too. Tireless, Manuel continues to churn out five to seven new rhinestone-rich styles a day, and is also busy creating 50 jackets, each with motifs representing one of the states, that will be displayed in museums around the nation. But he isn’t done yet — “I’ve only given about 60 percent of what I have,” he says.FASHION LESSONS
Both Bella Boutique and Posh cater to Vanderbilt’s stylish bunch, each in a different way. While basics from Juicy Couture, Jill Stuart Jeans and Marc by Marc Jacobs fill the racks at Bella Boutique, Posh carries punkier items from Diesel, Puma and Gsus. Prices, which are meant to fit students’ budgets, range from $24 for a Michael Stars tank at Bella Boutique, to $152 for a Gsus jean jacket with knit piping at Posh. Fab accessories are available at both shops, with an emphasis on jewelry, bags and shoes.

Katy K Ranch Dressing is part kitschy souvenir stand, part hard-to-find vintage Western destination and part custom-made Western shirt shop. Owner Katy Kattelman used to sell Western wear from a rented corner in New York’s Eighties haunt Screaming Mimi’s, but packed up for Nashville when she lost her space. Standout selections include hillbilly cell phones made of wood for $5, a collection of original Western wear by legendary rodeo tailor Nutya “Nudie” Cohn and Katy K’s own custom designs, which sell mostly to entertainers.

Smack’s got bite. The store, which caters to a young, funky crowd, is full of au courant looks such as chinoiserie Ts and sport-themed mesh separates. “We have a big musician clientele,” says owner Rob Wey. “We’re a bit more daring than a lot of the stores in the area.” And a lot less expensive. Jewelry starts at $16, and $95 is the most they’ll charge for anything.

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