Janet Daley Duval

Attorney, President of New Orleans Tennessee Festival, Collector of Hermes Scarves and Ferragamo Shoes.

Talk about high style. Attorney Janet Daley-Duval has a collection of about 45 Hermes scarves and she isn’t even going to begin to share how many pairs of Ferragamo shoes she owns. 

“Buying Ferragamo shoes is not as much a matter of style as it is necessity,” says the well-known local actress and president of the Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival. “I have extremely thin feet and as a result, Ferragamo became my go-to shoe from the time I was 18. My mother said I would have to go to law school to afford my feet.”

And she did.

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Collecting Hermes scarves is entirely another story. “My father bought my mother a Hermes scarf in the 1960s,” she recalls. “She started collecting the classic scarves, and I ‘stole’ one from her to take to Georgetown University when I graduated from Scared Heart Academy in New Orleans. I instantly knew my future included Hermes scarves.”

Janet’s undergraduate degree from Georgetown was in foreign service; then she remained to receive her Juris Doctor/Master of Science degrees in foreign service, with an honors concentration in international business diplomacy.

Janet is fortunate that her parents (Irene and Chris Daley, now of Lafayette) both had exquisite taste and signed her on to two of the most important fashion icons of the day – Hermes and Ferragamo. And then it was her father’s business connections in Paris that aided her in finding the perfect summer job in Paris, the summer after she completed her second year in law school. “I remember walking into the Hermes shop on Rue St. Honore and being overwhelmed with the beauty of each scarf,” she says. “They were all works of art, and I finally treated myself to one that looked like a mosaic from Pompeii in pale pink, tan, white and black.”shoes

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Never tiring of shopping for a new Hermes scarf, Janet says the experience is like going on a treasure hunt. “I usually have a suit or dress that I want to complete with just the right touch of color and panache,” she says. “I love traveling with one black suit, three of my Hermes scarves and a few shirts for my entire wardrobe. I tend to buy scarves in a ‘Proust-ian’ way. I usually acquire a scarf on every major trip I take with my husband Stan.” (Her husband is Stanwood “Stan” Duval, senior United States district court judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana.)

Janet’s husband has been her largest source of Hermes scarves. “He knows he can never go wrong giving me one of my favorite scarves,” she says, playfully adding, “He knows that while I like fine jewelry, my favorite gift is another scarf.”

It isn’t surprising that Janet still owns her first purchase. “A beautiful Hermes scarf is forever. I treat them like treasures and keep them neatly in two drawers arranged in lines and folded so that I can readily identify each one and pull it out without disturbing the others.” Her Ferragamo shoes are kept in their original boxes with the line drawing and description in full view.

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She is in good company collecting Hermes scarves. “Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy Onassis were all known for wearing Hermes scarves, and Nell Nolan and Tiffany Adler, two well-known, style conscious, local women, also love Hermes scarves.” Janet adds that some of the style icons above also love Ferragamo shoes.

One of her favorite places to shop for her shoes is the Ferragamo store in New York City. She quickly explains that Kim is her accommodating salesperson in the handsome store. “He is wonderful,” she says. “He knows that my favorite Ferragamo shoe is Vara, an iconic style that looks like a little tuxedo pump. It comes in a variety of colors so you can always match the clothes you are wearing. Because the Vara style is a flat, it was my first Ferragamo footwear and I still wear the same type of shoe all the time.”

Janet recalls a horrible snow storm when she was at Georgetown. “A plane hit a bridge over the Potomac River and I had to walk two miles in the snow to a friend’s house because of the traffic problems. I didn’t want to ruin my Ferragamo shoes, so I stuffed them with newspapers and placed them on the radiator to dry. My friend picked up my shoes, smiled at me and exclaimed, ‘Louisiana snow boots, I presume.’”

When delving in to Janet’s life as an actress, she notes, “My mother would respond that I have been an actress since birth. However, my first role on the stage was Ruth Condomine in ‘Blithe Spirit’ at Valencia, the Uptown club that was the center of my teenage social life. I wanted desperately to study theater at Georgetown, but my mother determined that I should be able to shod myself for the rest of my life, so I did end up becoming an attorney.” Today Janet works as the law clerk for her husband, yet she still ventures onto the stage. “My most recent role was as Jessie Sykes in Tennessee Williams’ ‘A House Not Meant to Stand.’”

“Getting ready for a special party or event is like opening night in the theater. The first time I wear a new pair of Ferragamo shoes or a Hermes scarf I feel like I am in an inaugural production. I try to wear the ‘it’ item for the first time to something really special and fun so it carries that karma to the end. I have never regretted my romance with such beautiful fashion statement. It has been a happy journey collecting what I like.”

Janet keeps her Ferragamo shoes neatly organized in each original box. “No, I won’t tell you how my pairs I own,” she says. “But I did follow my mother’s urging and go to law school to be able to afford my Ferragamo shoes.”

 

 

 

 

 

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