Welcome to the nineth installment of our In the Closet with series! This week Miss Hero Holliday takes Natasha for a stroll in her colourful closet.
With her overflowing wardrobe packed with sought-after mid-century novelty print skirts and dresses, her perfectly coiffed scarlet hair, and carefully curated Instagram feed, Amy MacLaine is not your average accountant.
The 26-year-old Aucklander, who goes by the monniker Miss Hero Holliday, is a Instagram sensation, a fashion plate, an actress by night….and a financial accountant for the country’s major magazine publisher by day.
You might have even spotted her on the telly a few years back when kooky reporter Tim Wilson from Seven Sharp featured her on his ‘Take me home’.. segment.
A regular performer in the annual Summer Shakespeare festival, Amy borrowed the name ‘Hero’ the character in Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing,’ which she played a few years ago.
The ‘Holliday’ part comes from Audrey Hepburn’s character in Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
“Her name is Holly Golightly, but in the book her full name is actually ‘Holliday Golightly’. So I thought since I really love Audrey Hepburn that would be a good fit, and something different as I didn’t want to use Audrey.
“I think she’s very classic and very glamourous and so really wanted a name that alluded to her as those are things I strive for,” she says.
Want a glimpse into Miss Hero Holliday’s closet? Step this way..
You seem to have a great wardrobe. Wanna take us on a tour of your closet? What would we find within?
Thank you! In my closet you’ll find a mixture of day dresses, party dresses, florals, and novelty prints, plus a rainbow of petticoats, cardigans, and heels. And a couple of bodies, but please don’t tell anyone about those.
Are you a vintage purist or do you wear repro pieces occasionally too?
A large part of my wardrobe is vintage, though I do love well-made repro pieces too. Most of my tops and cardigans and all of my shoes are repro as I’ve found those are harder to find at a good price and/or in good condition when they’re vintage. I definitely wouldn’t call myself a vintage purist but I do gravitate more towards it when shopping.
What are some of your most prized pieces in your vintage collection and why?
My giant rose prints and novelty prints, especially on panel skirts, are all so precious to me. They are the ones so dreamy that I’m almost scared to wear them. I love the big prints most, probably because I’m really short-sighted and if I can’t make out what a print is easily then I’m not so keen on it haha!
Any noteworthy recent purchases?
Love letters, Si & Am, and all three colourways of the giraffe skirt from Back to the Future. Also a gorgeous Juli Lynne Charlot velvet appliqué skirt. Ooh and an out of this world space print which I can’t show off yet as my hubby has bought it off me to give as my birthday present. I’ve been very lucky lately – sadly for my bank balance all the good stuff comes at once!
How did you first become interested in vintage style?
I started op-shopping over a decade ago, but I’d just for random things I liked rather than sticking to a particular era. A few years ago I discovered that 1950s clothing suited me best, which was already a silhouette I was gravitating too, and from there I looked for more true vintage online to build up my collection.
What is it about vintage clothing that appeals to you the most?
The quality and construction is so good; when pieces have stood the test of time for 60+ years then they must be something special! Feeling like I’m wearing a piece of history and/or artwork makes planning my outfits an adventure and finding new gems is such a thrill. Some of my favourite pieces are those I’ve got from people who’ve had them a long time, when they’ve already been so well-loved and looked after and it’s an honour to get to continue that.
What are your favourite eras when it comes to vintage clothes?
Definitely the 1950s! It’s what I feel most comfortable in and I love the elegance and extravagance of the styles. Everything was so colourful and fun, which is how I love to dress. And I can’t go past a big poofy skirt; I feel naked without a petticoat these days!
Where are your favourite shopping haunts?
I used to buy a lot from Sarah at BellaVintage before she closed her store, and I’d trawl through Savemart for hours but with their recent bad press and crazy pricing I’m not keen on them anymore. So I mostly shop online now, although I always seek out vintage when I’m away, like at the Portobello Road markets on vintage Fridays or Koenji in Japan.
Do you have any general thoughts about op shopping and vintage shopping in New Zealand?
I’ve resigned myself to not finding anything ‘in the wild’ in NZ anymore, though it’s been a nice surprise when I have. It’s sad that not a lot pre-1960s can be found anymore without it coming from overseas. I do admire the vintage sellers still in business who have gorgeous and carefully curated collections and stores, those are the best places to visit!
What are your holy grail pieces? Fave labels/ fabrics/ outfit types?
Currently my ultimate holy grail is the gold love letters skirt, of which there is only one known to be in existence and it’s all letters, no roses. Otherwise I’m always hunting for the panel skirts, novelty prints, and large floral prints that always seem to be in short supply – but if they were easy to find they wouldn’t be worth hunting for! In terms of labels I would love to have more Horrockses and Jonathan Logan pieces in my wardrobe, both labels churned out some exquisite stuff.
Who are some of your style icons and influences?
Audrey Hepburn is a longtime style icon of mine (the ‘Holliday’ in my pinup name is from her character’s full name in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), and before her it was Gwen Stefani. Otherwise I get most of my inspo from the fabulous vintage ladies on IG, seeing their gorgeous pieces and how they style them is always a delight!
Can you remember the first vintage piece you bought? What was it?
My first 1950s dress (or 1950s in style, it could have been handmade) came from the Sunday school cupboard at my church! I don’t know how or why it was there but I had a school ball coming up so it appeared at just the right moment. It was sheer pink fabric over black, covered in black pin dots, and it had a sweetheart neckline and big poofy skirt. I still have it and it probably still fits!
How do members of the public react to your get-ups?
Generally they’re quite positive, and my outfits do make for a great icebreaker. It’s always nice to be told by people that they used to dress like me, or that I dress how their mother or aunt did – that’s always such a huge compliment!
The comments about whether I’m going to a party (especially a costume party), how long it must take to get ready in the morning (it doesn’t, I’m not a morning person so I’ve got my routine down), or people coming over to pat the faux fur on my coat or lifting my skirt to see my petticoat do get quite frustrating, but I’ve learnt to deal with them and most people do mean well.
Having people randomly snap my picture is quite weird and creepy though! And I find it amazing in New Zealand how brazen people are in their staring; I recently went to Japan and found it refreshing it was that everyone was too polite to stare.
Do you wear vintage to work as well? If so, how is your style received in the workplace?
I do, every day! I spent the first three and a half years of my full-time working life as a corporate auditor in a Big 4 firm, and I was lucky that my bosses and clients really liked how I dressed. I’m now in a more creative workplace and while I still stand out and I definitely don’t feel quite so different here. I do like breaking the mould for how people expect an accountant to dress though!
Does your vintage obsession extend into other areas too such as home decor, car, accessories and other collections?
I wish I could have all of those things, but really outside my clothes and accessories my only other vintage collection is records. I don’t have a huge amount but there’s a lot of favourites in there including just about every Fleetwood Mac album.
What do you make of Miss Hero Holliday’s style? Do you have a favourite outfit? Do let me know in the comments!