In the closet with Lady Lou Lou Bell

Buxom beauty Lady Lou Lou Bell tells Natasha Francois how discovering pinup has helped her live her best retro life.

A leopard never changes its spots. Just ask Emma Holden, aka Lady Lou Lou Bell. The Christchurch pinup is addicted to leopard print and her wardrobe boasts at least 20 items which walk on the wild side, however, she also has a love for green and classic black.

Lady Lou Lou Bell cuts a colourful figure on the streets of North Canterbury with her feline-esque winged eyeliner, her ever-changing hues of brightly coloured hair (right now it’s a tantalising tangerine shade, and before that, electric blue), and her bright vermilion lipstick.

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The mum-of-two proudly, who works as a hearing equipment technician, proudly describes herself as ‘fat, freckly and fabulous’. She’s even coined her own hashtag with the phrase. After her birthday in a few week’s time, she can add another ‘f’ to the list– forty!

“I grew up being teased for my freckles but now I embrace them, it cracks me up that they’ve become trendy so that people tattoo them on or draw them on with makeup.”

“It just goes to show the old adage stands that you always want what you haven’t got.”

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Emma fell into the Christchurch pinup scene several years ago after having her hair styled at one of the local car shows and being invited to meet some local pinups. She was instantly hooked. Now she’s a fixture at hot rod and vintage events and a member of the Southern Pinup Belles– a group of Christchurch pinups who put on events to fundraise for charities.

“The New Zealand pin-up scene is so accepting and varied,” she says. “I’m incredibly proud to have been a finalist of Miss Pin Up NZ 2018 and especially for walking away with the title of Miss Picture Perfect,” she says.

Dying to for a peek inside her wardrobe? Read on to see more!

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You seem to have a great wardrobe. Wanna take us on a tour of your closet?

Nobody is going to be surprised when I say leopard print, leopard print and more leopard print.  I honestly have to have at least 20 separate pieces with differing leopard/animal pattern. But there’s also lots of black and green.  I also have quite an extensive collection of cardigans.

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How would you describe your style?

It depends on the day.  Some days I feel more vintage 1940s, some days rockabilly 1950s, then there the other days when I’m in track pants and T-shirts at home with my kids and dogs.  That’s part of the fun of dressing the way we do, do what you feel like on the day, there are no rules. You do you.

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Do you prefer reproduction or true vintage, why?

Both, the accessibility and the inclusiveness of size in reproduction is fantastic,  but there is something very special about vintage pieces that may have survived several decades.  I love to know the history behind pieces, who did it belong to, was it made for a specific event etc.

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As a plus size lady, what are your thoughts on finding and wearing true vintage pieces?

I adore true vintage; the fabrics and the quality are always amazing.  But when I can find pieces in my sizes, they are very rarely in my price range! Etsy is always my go-to for true vintage. If you find it and it fits, it should be worn!

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Which are the most size inclusive labels?

Vixen and la Femme en Noir by Micheline Pitt. My wardrobe is very slowly filling up with more formal and casual pieces from those ranges. My only gripe is that I often have to look overseas to get my hands on the pieces that I lust after.

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What are some of your most prized pieces in your collection?

My most prized possessions are my heirloom accessories that previously belonged to both of my great grandmothers.  You can buy another reproduction piece, but once an heirloom is gone its gone forever.

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Any noteworthy recent purchases?

My Collectif Leopard trench coat that was a birthday present last year and my Vixen leather circle skirt are on high rotation at the moment.

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How did you first become interested in vintage style?

I have always loved vintage. I have a vivid memory of trying on my grandmothers vintage cocktail dresses when I was about 11 (sadly I didn’t inherit any when she passed).  My 6th form formal dress was a purchase from Tete e’ Tete from pre earthquake Christchurch.  I felt like it was as close to being Scarlett O’Hara as I was ever going to get.

Lots of gold and green – and Kaye from Kabella Baby suspects that it may have been originally made for a theatre production.  Needless to say Im pretty sure that I was the only one wearing vintage in a sea of shiny, short late 90’s dresses

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Emma at her first Very Vintage Day Out

What is it about vintage style that appeals to you the most?

Not looking like everyone else. Putting effort into creating outfits from top to toe.

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What are your favourite eras when it comes to vintage clothes?

True vintage 40s appeals to me the most.  I especially love the look of classic vintage when paired with the edge of tattoos.

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Where are your favourite shopping haunts?

I’m one of those horrible people that shop online.  But the world is an international market, and I’m fully prepared to buy from overseas if it means that I get a better deal or something that isn’t stocked locally.  Of course the government is probably going to curtail that with the taxes etc that they keep bringing in, but maybe it will mean I’m more selective with my purchases. Maybe.

 

What are your holy-grail pieces? Fave labels/ fabrics/ outfit types?

A true vintage leopard fur coat in my size is my ultimate holy grail piece.  I know where there’s a few hiding, but I haven’t managed to have a play in Natasha’s wardrobe yet!

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Whose closet do you envy and why?

Definitely The Glambassador for her classic vintage style, her wardrobe (including the hats, bags and accessories) must be immense!

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Who are some of your style icons and influences?

So so many – isn’t Instagram a wonderful thing to be able to find inspiration!  First people that come to mind would NZ’s own Soda Fontaine, and internationally would be Lady Kitty Hawk, Cherry Dollface and Mariza Seita.

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Does your vintage obsession extend into other areas too such as home décor, car, accessories and other collections?

I have 2 young children and 2 large dogs, so that’s why I cant have anything nice in my house lol.  But my dream home is a 2 storey art deco house.  One day it will be mine.

Anything that you’d never be caught dead wearing?

Never say never but I’m not a huge fan of 1960s and 70s style.

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Follow Lady Lou Lou Bell on Instagram now!

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In the closet with… Miss Mabel May

Welcome to the latest installment of our regular In the Closet series, this week Natasha meets 1940s enthusiast Miss Mabel May aka Jess Hood. 

She’s no purist but 22-year-old Jess Hood prefers her reproduction items to be “as authentic as possible.”

“ It can be so difficult to find vintage in my size that is also affordable and my job can sometimes be a bit rough on my vintage pieces so I like to wear reproduction, as I don’t tend to worry so much about the clothing getting stained or damaged while wearing it.”

The Hamilton-based Records Management Officer has a yen for 1940s-inspired silhouettes and a serious addition to hats and handbags but says you can spot items from all eras- from the ‘20s to the ‘60s inside her closet.

She says always been drawn to history and old things but it wasn’t until she attended the Very Vintage Day Out for the first time that she discovered she adored the fashion and wanted to try it herself.

“I bought several items of clothing there and I quickly turned my entire wardrobe into the vintage style. However, it has taken me a couple of years to refine that style and find the eras that are my favourites.”

Wearing vintage makes her feel happy and beautiful, she says.

“It also makes me feel confident, which is something prior to vintage I never felt at all!”

“I honestly only feel truly myself when I’m in my vintage clothing”, she says. 

Want to see more of her amazing wardrobe? Read on!

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You seem to have a great wardrobe. Wanna take us on a tour of your closet? What would we find within?

When I think of my wardrobe I think of variety. I currently have a lot of 1940s dresses, but you can find items ranging from the 1920s to the 1960s in my wardrobe. Also numerous hats and handbags!

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Hats are my favourite accessory with handbags a close second so you will find an overwhelming amount of these in my wardrobe. There are some that are yet to be worn by me as I haven’t found just the right outfit yet, but each one is special and unique to me!

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Are you a vintage purist or do you wear repro pieces occasionally too?

I do indeed wear reproduction pieces as well. It can be so difficult to find vintage in my size that is also affordable and my job can sometimes be a bit rough on my vintage pieces so I like to wear reproduction, as I don’t tend to worry so much about the clothing getting stained or damaged while wearing it.

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In saying that, I like my reproduction to be as authentic as possible so I love shopping from companies such as The Seamstress of Bloomsbury, as they use genuine 1940s dresses as a basis for their reproductions.

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What are some of your most prized pieces in your vintage collection?

My most prized possessions are the items that have come from family are so special to me. I love knowing the history behind the items and where they have been worn.

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I have a very special hand beaded cape from my Grand Aunt, which is such a treasure and she loved seeing pictures of me wearing it.

I also have a beautiful 1940’s red dress from Lavonne at Tock Tick Vintage. I tried it on at hers and it was like it was made for me, as it fit perfectly in every way!

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Any noteworthy recent purchases?

I have been so naughty lately and buying so much stuff! I managed to get a real bargain in Waihi of a late 1930’s- early 1940’s clutch for $10! I nearly died! I also purchased a lovely milk glass beaded necklace from 1940s Style for You, which is really just a sweet piece.

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How did you first become interested in vintage style?

Well I always loved history and old things, but it wasn’t until I attended the Very Vintage Day Out for the first time that I realised that I just adored the fashion and wanted to do it myself. I brought several items of clothing there and I quickly turned my entire wardrobe into the vintage style. However it has taken me a couple of years to refine that style and find the eras that are my favourites.

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What is it about vintage clothing that appeals to you the most?

I love the history and femininity of vintage clothing. I love the colour choices and being able to dress differently from everyone else, yet still be classic and stylish! I feel beautiful and happy in my vintage clothing. It makes me feel confident, which is something prior to vintage I never felt at all! I honestly only feel truly myself when I’m in my vintage clothing.

What are your favourite eras when it comes to clothes?

Definitely the 1940s, but I also have a sweet spot for the 1920s and 1930s.

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Where are your favourite shopping haunts?

Does Etsy count? I do a lot of shopping online, as I find it difficult to find a lot of what I want in New Zealand. Most of my shopping is done with the incredible Lucy who runs 1940’s Style for You. She finds some amazing vintage and is always reasonably priced.

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What are your holy-grail pieces? Fave labels/ fabrics/ outfit types?

I would love a 1940’s suit! I am yet to find one that fits just right! I’m also dying to get a 1940’s dressing gown! Also a telephone cord handbag, because they are just so awesome!

 

Whose closet do you envy?

Death by Deco from Instagram! I mean she has the most incredible sense of style and her wardrobe is filled with the most divine dresses, coats, skirts and blouses. Her fedora hat collection is a particular envy of mine, as I have only ever managed to acquire one and would love more!

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Who are some of your style icons and influences?

My Great Grandmother was my age in the 1940’s so she is a huge influence for me. She was so incredibly stylish and I only wish she was still around to ask questions to.

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Can you remember the first vintage piece you bought? What was it?

The very first vintage piece I brought was at my first Very Vintage Day Out and it was a gorgeous grey dress from Vintage Mash. It unfortunately doesn’t fit me at the moment, but it is just too precious to part with.

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Does your vintage obsession extend into other areas too such as home décor, car, accessories and other collections?

Vintage extends into pretty much all aspects of my life where it can. My home is filled with beautiful antiques, I love listening to 1940’s music on my vintage Bell Colt radio, I try to make 1940’s foods sometimes and if I could afford it I would love to have a vintage car!

Having just moved to a new city, I am in the process of purchasing vintage furniture where I can so that my little home will be as vintage as possible.

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Sneakers or gym pants!

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In the closet with Brodie Hemmings-Sykes

Christchurch-based Brodie Hemmings-Sykes tells Natasha about her fascination for the forties, why she hoards vintage shoes, and how there’s nothing like the clunk of Bakelite bangles on her arm.

Brodie Hemmings-Sykes is the Cinderella of vintage shoes. Her petite size 5 feet can squeeze into the daintiest of 1940s slingbacks, peeptoe pumps, Oxfords and saddle shoes. While most of us have to resort to hairdryers, alcohol and newspaper stuffed in too-small-but-super-cute shoes in a bid to stretch them out, she can slide her tootsies straight in– and bag the vintage bargains!
Besides her enviable collection of footwear, the avid op shopper’s closet is a jumble of vintage, secondhand and homemade clothing. There’s no particular theme but she favours hooded housedresses, striking prints, classic coats, handknitted cardigans, Bakelite jewellery. She’s also partial to a bit of ’80s does 40s’.
Brodie’s not one to buy pricey modern reproductions– aside from her prized Freddie of Pinewood jeans that is. She prefers to whip up her own creations on her vintage Elna Supermatic sewing machine (which itself was an op-shop bargain at only $15!)
Keen to have a look inside Brodie’s wardobe? Read on!

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You seem to have a great wardrobe. Wanna take us on a tour of your closet? What would we find within?

Thank you. My wardrobe mainly consists of vintage, homemade or secondhand clothing. There isn’t a particular theme because I love different colours and styles but there are a lot of dresses and shoes.
I have a bit of an obsession with vintage shoes, particularly 1940s ones. I’m pretty lucky because I have size 5 feet which means that I struggle buying new shoes but I can fit a lot of vintage ones.

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Are you a vintage purist or do you wear repro pieces occasionally too?

I love true vintage but it can be difficult to find in the right size and in good condition so I sew a lot of my clothes from vintage patterns and fabric. Where possible I use op-shopped notions and authentic sewing techniques because I want my clothing to look like true vintage.
I sew on a vintage green Elna Supermatic that I picked up from an op shop for $15. It’s from the 1950s and doesn’t do anything fancy but sews really well. I don’t buy a lot of new repro clothing as a lot of it is not my style. That being said, I do love my Freddies of Pinewood jeans.

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What are some of your most prized pieces in your vintage collection and why?
My Bakelite is one of my prized possessions. I bought my first bangle in 2011 from eBay and have been hooked ever since. I love the colours and the carvings.

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There’s nothing quite like the clunk of a whole stack of Bakelite bangles on your arm.

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Any noteworthy recent purchases?

I recently bought a 1940s hooded housedress. A vintage hooded dress has been a holy grail of mine for a long time and I’ve sewn a few from vintage patterns but finding a real one was very exciting. I never thought I would find one in New Zealand, let alone in a vintage shop where I live. I got it from Menage a trois which is a long established vintage shop in a seaside suburb in Christchurch.

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How did you first become interested in vintage style?

My mum has always liked “old things” and has been op shopping for most of her life. I grew up in a house filled with secondhand and vintage things. She also sewed a lot of my clothes when I was a kid and helped me make my first dress from a vintage pattern. She is very creative and constantly has some project on the go. I get my love of vintage and crafting from her.

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What is it about vintage clothing that appeals to you the most?

I love the fact that something I’m wearing has lived other lives. It’s fun to imagine who originally bought a dress and what they wore it for. The fit and the workmanship are also a major reason I wear vintage. Clothes today aren’t made to such a high standard and are not expected to last for 50 or 60 years. The sustainability and recycling aspect of wearing vintage or second hand clothing also appeals.

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What are your favourite eras when it comes to vintage clothes?

At the moment my favourite era is the 1940s. I used to wear a lot more 1950s and 60s styles but over the last few years my style has shifted a bit.

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What are your favourite shopping haunts?

For vintage clothing I do a lot of shopping online through Etsy and Instagram. I’ve also found some gems on Trademe. I love op shopping so I check out my local op shops a couple of times a month.
There are a few op shops within walking distance of where I work so I sometimes go on lunchtime op shopping expeditions.
There aren’t a lot of vintage shops in Christchurch but I like Madame Butterfly, Menage a Trois, and for homeware Quaint and the Curious.

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Do you have any general thoughts about op shopping and vintage shopping in New Zealand?

I do buy a lot of my vintage from overseas but the great thing about vintage and op shopping here is that there are hidden treasures. I’ve found 1940s dresses and shoes in op shops. It doesn’t happen a lot but it’s always nice to get those bargains. I think op shopping in Christchurch is pretty good. I don’t buy a lot of vintage clothing but get a lot of homewares, furniture and sewing supplies from op shops.

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What are your holy grail pieces? Fave labels/ fabrics/ outfit types?

Now that I have a hooded dress, on my wishlist is a 1940s pantsuit in a bright colour.

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Who are some of your style icons and influences?

I get a lot of inspiration from people that I follow on Instagram, I love seeing the way that people wear vintage in their everyday regular lives.

Can you remember the first vintage piece you bought? What was it?

I’m pretty sure the first piece of vintage I bought was a 1980s black velvet cocktail dress that I wore for an Audrey Hepburn costume to a school dance. I was probably 15 or 16 at the time. I actually still own it. I haven’t worn it in a long time but I’m too sentimental to get rid of it.

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How do members of the public react to your get-ups?

I used to feel more self-conscious when I first started wearing vintage but I don’t notice the strange looks I get any more. I usually get positive comments from members of the public. Sometimes people come up to me in the supermarket or wherever and tell me they love my outfit. I haven’t really had any negative experiences other than people staring.

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Do you wear vintage to work as well? If so, how is your style received in the workplace?

I do wear my vintage and handmade clothing to work. I work in an office with a smart casual dress code. I often have to attend meetings with external parties so need to look professional for those but that doesn’t stop me from wearing a vintage pencil skirt, blouse and heels. My workmates are great and often comment on my outfits or ask me if I’ve made what I’m wearing. I work an an industry that’s seen as very conservative but I’ve never had anything other than compliments about the way I dress.

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Does your vintage obsession extend into other areas too such as home decor, car, accessories and other collections?

My obsession with vintage definitely extends to other parts of my life. I like vintage furniture and homewares and would love a vintage car someday. For me the vintage obsession is about aesthetics and I don’t wish that I lived in another era. I love my smartphone and the internet and bad reality TV.

Follow Brodie on Instagram at @vintage_new_zealand

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In the closet with Tannia Lee

This week Natasha enters the psychedelic wardrobe of vintage queen Tannia Lee.

Tannia Lee is making Dunedin more colourful, one outfit at a time.

The 36-year-old style chameleon, fashion blogger, stylist and market organiser might don an outrageous day-glo knitted sweater dress one day, a Hawaiian maxi teamed with a giant tropical headpiece, the next.

Her sartorial style is bold, bright and definitely not demure. She loves to take risks and is always coming up with unique ensembles which demonstrate her love for decade on decade and print on print.

“It’s all about the overall vibe when the outfit comes together, so I’m not fussed if they are of the same era, originals, repro, or revamped,” she says.

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Tannia’s wardrobe is so gargantuan that it’s completely taken over the spare bedroom in her house and has morphed into her own ‘walk-in’ wardrobe.
It also encroaches on her ‘shared’ bedroom wardrobe.
“You’d laugh to see how much room I’ve left for the hubby!” she quips.

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Novavogue [her fashion blog] was born because she wanted a way of showcasing the fun she has injecting colour into peoples’ lives.

Her daughter and ‘mini me’ Nova soon became the star of the show. Every week the pair hit the op shops, play dress ups and then shoot the crazy confections for the blog.

Tannia is also the founder of the Vintage Roundup– Dunedin’s only dedicated vintage clothing and craft market, runs the Facebook page Seen in Secondhand Land and draws on her extensive vintage collection for her work as a personal and interiors stylist.

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Dressing up has been a lifelong obsession for her. She has happy memories of accompanying her mother to op shops as a child and remembers growing up with a huge dress-up box full of the family’s old 70s and 80s clothing.
“When friends and family came around, we’d raid the box and play around the farm dressed all crazy.”
This also sparked her fascination with everything vintage. Today she continues to embrace the fun into her everyday life, experimenting with fashion and as always, dressing outside the box.

Wanna find out more about Tannia? Read on!

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You seem to have a great wardrobe. Wanna take us on a tour of your closet? What would we find within?

My closet takes over a spare bedroom in our house (which is my dedicated my walk in wardrobe). It also spills into our ‘shared’ bedroom wardrobe and you’d laugh to see how much room I’ve left for the hubby.

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You’ll find a lot of stand out feature pieces, dating from the 1960s – 1990s. Bright, colourful, eclectic, interesting prints, shapes and cuts.
We took the doors off all our wardrobes, to create the feel for more space but also to see everything. I don’t like to hide clothes away , just like the saying ‘out of sight out of mind’. I like to see all my options when putting together an outfit. The space is like a mini shop, with free standing industrial racks – a place I can play dress ups, style and display all my gems.
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Are you a vintage purist or do you wear repro pieces occasionally too?

I love to mix it up, decade on decade, print on print and powerclash my way through my wardrobe. It’s all about the overall vibe when the outfit comes together, so i’m not fussed if they are of the same era, originals, repro, or revamped. I also love to design my own dresses, from retro fabrics, but I always pay a seamstress as I have lost my sewing skills!
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What are some of your most prized pieces in your vintage collection?

I love my ceramic bolo tie collection, they are like nothing i’ve seen before. As well as my bold bright and 80s / 90s knitwear (dresses and coats). A lot of work has gone into these pieces and I appreciate the time and skills used to create them.
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Any noteworthy recent purchases?

Yes, I love my retro Diane Freis bedazzled knit that I bought from Proctors Auction. She is one of my favourite designers, I especially love her original 90s designs because they are quite over the top, full of patchwork prints, frills, layers, pleats all within one dress. I didn’t know she also did knitwear, so that was a cool surprise!
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How did you first become interested in vintage style?

I discovered op shopping (for fashion) during my rebellious teen phase. I was quite influenced by Kurt Cobain grunge style which was pretty easy to achieve second hand. I think I was sick of trying to fit in by wearing all the surf and skate labels and just wanted to do my own thing.
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Once I started op shopping I saw that there was another whole world of fashion out there, where I could put together my own ‘look’ myself. There were no rules and this became an exciting new way to channel my creativity.
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Growing up we also had a dress up box, which we raided when our cousins and friends came around. This had a lot of our family’s pieces from the 80s and my best memories were dressing up like ‘crazies’ to go explore around the farm. I got a taste for the freedom of styling and started to realise I didn’t have to listen to what mainstream fashion was telling me to wear.
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What is it about vintage clothing that appeals to you the most?

The fact that these pieces we find are the last of their kind. Some are rare, handmade one off’s and existed in a decade that I missed out on.
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I also love the way we shop for vintage. It’s not handed to us easily in a department store, with every size and colour available. It’s a challenge and we get to refine our skills hunting for these treasures. Every piece is different to the next, it’s exciting and creatively fulfilling way to shop.
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How does it make you feel when you wear it?

I feel like ME. I vividly remember the shift of consciousness, from dressing ‘normal’ to discovering the world of vintage and pre-loved clothing. It was a lightbulb moment where I realised ‘This is who I am’. I felt more comfortable and confident dressing how I wanted to and not how society thought I should.
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What are your favourite eras when it comes to vintage clothes?

60s | flower power + hawaiian + tiki + peggy square + kimono
70s | psychedelic + western + oriental + embroidery + kaftan
80s | Bedazzled + tassels + patches + patchwork + high waist + big earrings
90s | fluro + floral + sequins + badges + Fresh Prince + logo tees + high tops + bomber jackets
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Where are your favourite shopping haunts?

I love The Vintage Roundup, clothing and craft market. Not just because I run it, but because it’s bought together such a friendly bunch of vintage and craft lovers. There is such a variety of ‘mini shops’, as we all have a different skills, style and fashion era or genre that we are drawn to.
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Even tho I’ve created the ultimate shopping experience for our scene, I also look forward to the social aspect, catching up with stallholders and customers. Some people stay for the whole 4 hours, carefully looking through each of the 20+ stalls and trying on lots of fab pieces. We encourage customers to come out and show us what they have tried on, we love having these impromptu fashion shows.
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What are your general thoughts about op shopping and vintage shopping in New Zealand?

I think I will address the op shop V’s vintage clothing shop debacle. I always appreciate a good vintage clothing shop. I get upset when people complain that they are expensive, because they are comparing them to op shops.
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It takes a lot of time and skill to curate a great vintage and retro collection. Vintage shop owners have done all the hard work for you, offering you the very best. They have travelled (sometimes afar) to spend hours or days trawling many op shops, garage sales, online shops, and personal collections to carefully hand pick their stock. They have a great eye and years of experience and knowledge to spot pieces that are rare, well made, collectable, designer and on trend.
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You are not just paying for the garment, but this exceptional service. Most vintage shops have put much thought into their shop layout, styling and merchandising, where they display items like they actually matter, with love. They also create amazing window displays and have positive customer service to achieve a fab shopping experience. Their business is their baby, literally created from blood sweat and tears. So please don’t compare this to your local op shop!

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What are your holy grail pieces? Fave labels/ fabrics/ outfit types?

Retro knitted dresses or peggy square coats (longer the better) I can’t resist retro Coogi knit!
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Cheongsams or high neck dresses from the 60s / 70s (anything from Hawaii is fab!)
80s / 90s kids bomber jackets branded with classic cartoon, movies or tv shows (memorabilia)
Sequin jackets coats or dresses pretty much everything from Braxae on Etsy
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Whose closet do you envy and why?

Basically any eccentric, vintage shopper from Texas or just America in general. I freakin’ love American vintage, probably cause not much of it shows up in New Zealand op shops. It’s hard to find here in Dunedin!
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Who are some of your style icons and influences?

Firstly please google ‘Advanced Style’ and scroll. I’m a very visual person so get very influenced by street fashion, movies and cool designers & fashion bloggers in my insta feed. Too many to name and wouldn’t want to miss anyone out.
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I’ve also recently discovered Jenny Kee, an artist and designer who creates amazing knitwear (Since the 1970s) She has recently launched a new limited edition capsule collection of knitwear called ‘New Beginnings’ teamed up with woolmark. Check out her insta @jennykeeoz
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Can you remember the first vintage piece you bought? What was it?
Yes, this gorgeous 1960s floral cheongsam from Remains to be Scene in Hamilton.
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How do members of the public react to your getups?
I mostly get a positive comments and reactions, people love to see more colour down here in Dunedin. I have also found that people often smile at me on the street when I wear flowers in my hair (try it and see!). I’ve had a few conservative elderly ask me “don’t you worry about what people think?” I’m happy to let them know that i’m not dressing for others, I’m dressing for myself.
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Does your vintage obsession extend into other areas too such as home decor, car, accessories and other collections?
Absolutely! My home is very much an extension of my wardrobe, filled with cool retro collectables and art in bright colours and bold prints. Almost my entire home decor is purchased second hand from op shops, vintage shops, trademe and the Auctions houses. Mixed up with prints and paintings by my fave Wellington artists and street artists. My obsession also extends to clothing my daughter, i’ve basically turned her into a mini me.
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Anything that you’d never be caught dead wearing?
Black puffer jacket and tracksuit pants, which seems to be the Dunedin uniform and crocs.

Want to channel some of Tannia’s unique vintage style? Head to the Vintage Roundup this weekend. Check out the poster below!

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In the Closet with Miss Hero Holliday

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..

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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. 

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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.  

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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! 

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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! 

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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. 

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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. 

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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! 

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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. 

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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! 

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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.  

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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! 

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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! 

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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!

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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.

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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.  

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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! 

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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!

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In the closet with…Hettie LaBombe

Hettie LaBombe, the flame-haired stand-up bassist and singer from Boom! Boom! Deluxe spills her sartorial secrets.

By Natasha Francois

By day, she’s a freelance musician, film maker, photographer and music teacher, but by night, you’ll find Hettie LaBombe (aka Henrieta Tornyai) on stage with her neo-rockabilly band Boom! Boom! Deluxe.

The flame-haired double bassist adores vintage and pinup style, 1950s B-movies, rock’n’roll, jazz, classic cars and cats – tastes which are reflected in her personal style.

Leopard print is a firm favourite, alongside an enchanted world of jumpsuits, leopard print, op shop treasures, 60s mini dresses, more jumpsuits, tartan pants, houndstooth jackets, angora sweaters, swing trousers with braces, New Zealand-made reproduction and more.

Combining elements of traditional rock’ n ’roll, rockabilly, blues, punk, swing and do woopBoom! Boom! Deluxe have become a fixture on the classic car/ hot-rod/ vintage scene.

“At the end of the day we just want to write a catchy song,” says Hettie, who originally hails from Slovakia.

“It’s all a bit tongue in cheek, we try not to take ourselves too seriously and I think our lyrics (like Burger and a Beer) reflect that. Someone even described us as “The Ramones of Rockabilly!”

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All about that bass: Hettie LaBombe plays in neo rockabilly band Boom! Boom! Deluxe.

“I love playing in the band because I get to play with musicians I really respect. It’s pushed my bass playing in new directions. I’ve never had to be so percussive as a jazz player before. It’s fun to watch people dance to our music. And of course I have the perfect excuse to buy cool outfits and dress up!”

Of course, because this column is all about the clothes –  let’s admire Hettie’s attention-grabbing stage ensembles and find out how she achieves her everyday glamour!

Read on to discover more!

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You seem to have a great wardrobe. Wanna take us on a tour of your closet? What would we find within?

Why, thank you! Of course! My wardrobe is an enchanted world of jumpsuits, leopard print, opshop treasures, 60s mini dresses, more jumpsuits, tartan pants, houndstooth jackets, angora sweaters, swing trousers with braces, New Zealand-made repro and oh and did I mention the jumpsuits?

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Are you a vintage purist or do you wear repro pieces occasionally too?

I’m definitely not a purist. I would say I probably wear 60/40 repro/vintage. I love the hunt and the satisfaction of finding the real thing but it isn’t always practical or affordable. There’s a finite amount of vintage out there and it isn’t going to last forever. I want to invest into the future by supporting businesses that make quality repro. There is so much talent out there. I especially love to support NZ designers like Vanessa Kelly, Cry Cry Cry and The Dressmaker’s Wardrobe. 

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What are some of your most prized pieces in your vintage collection and why?

My 60s leopard print faux fur coat I got from Vouz-le-vouz Vintage. It’s a stunner!  I had the fortune of meeting her majesty Grace Jones at her recent gig and she approved of it so it must be good.

My sunshine yellow mod a-line dress with matching jacket. It fits like it was made for me and with a pair of go-go boots and oversized round sunnies, I can’t help but boogie to the psychedelic music in my head.

A homemade teal houndstooth late 60s coat with oversize pockets. The big fabric covered buttons on this are just too cute!

A pair of 70s two tone python skin men’s shoes. I’ve got big feet so finding vintage ladies shoes is next to impossible but luckily I love men’s styles. Three hour gigs make wearing heels on stage too hard so these are perfect. They can also compete with my hubby’s crazy boots!

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Any noteworthy recent purchases?

A late 50s blue lurex wiggle dress that requires some masterful corsetry to get into but is well worth it and a cream 60s Jackie-O style skirt suit that goes so well with my faux leopard pill box hat.

How did you first become interested in vintage style?

It all started with the music. Unlike all my friends, I was never into the Spice Girls but more along the lines of Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles and Ella Fitzgerald. Just looking at the album covers warped my impressionable young mind and gave me a life-long obsession.

I didn’t really start dressing vintage until my mid 20s though which was partly to do with lack of funds, lack of knowledge on how to find it but mostly lack of confidence. I grew up often being the only girl in the room because I wanted to be a jazz instrumentalist and there weren’t many women doing the same.

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Unfortunately, this made me feel I had to downplay my femininity to be taken seriously. I also had body confidence issues having had cystic acne as a teen. Again it was music that helped me overcome this. I spent a couple of years living in the US where I got involved in a few all female bands including the Ladies Must Swing, a big band just like the one from my favourite film, Some Like It Hot. This helped me realise that I could have it all. I can be a great musician and be as feminine as I like!

What is it about vintage clothing that appeals to you the most?

The creativity, the classiness, the sex appeal, the quality and craftsmanship… everything really. It’s so much easier to put together an outfit because everything is so flattering. You can go from comfortable and causal to glamourous with just a coat of red lipstick. 

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How does it make you feel when you wear it?

There’s nothing else quite like it. It makes me feel like a woman but also empowered. I don’t understand the criticism that wanting to dress as women did in bygone eras is somehow anti-feminist. I think it’s the complete opposite.

Just because I dress like a 50s housewife doesn’t mean I can’t run a business or be as independent as I like. Over the years, women have been made to feel that to be equal to men they have to be more like men.

True feminism is being as feminine as you want while doing what you want regardless of your gender. Wearing vintage makes me feel like I am sticking it to the man!

What are your favourite eras when it comes to vintage clothes?

I love something from every era but I would say my favourites are probably the 40s with swing trousers and feminine blouses, the more casual side of the 50s and just the sheer arty madness of the 60s.

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Where are your favourite shopping haunts and why?

These days I probably find most of my things through Facebook groups. I love how social media has enabled us to come together and share our passions globally. I can’t say it’s been good for my wallet though! I still can’t go past my local opshops without having a peek with regular success. I also love a good vintage market for the atmosphere.

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What are your general thoughts about op shopping and vintage shopping in New Zealand?

Op shops are always a lottery but I think there are still a lot of treasures to be found and I like supporting a good cause. Small towns and out of the way places are the best for true vintage.

Many designated ‘vintage’ shops don’t have much from before the 80s and the prices are over inflated in my opinion. There are a few notable exceptions though like Retro Addiction.

I do often walk away with something nice and reasonably priced from vintage markets. All the best stuff is online, overseas and expensive. That is why I don’t shy away from wearing quality repro.

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What are your holy grail pieces? Fave labels/ fabrics/ outfit types?

A houndstooth skirt suit a la Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep. Leopard or houndstooth everything! Jumpsuits!

Whose closet do you envy and why?

There are too many to mention! Instagram is full of them. I especially adore the many kiwi ladies around who just flaunt it. I’m so glad to be part of such a rich and vibrant community. 

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Who are some of your style icons and influences?

I look at Lauren Bacall for the ultimate femme fatale and Eartha Kitt for sass with class, then Diana Rigg’s outfits in The Avengers for my more eccentric side. For day to day looks I draw most inspiration from candid photos of Marilyn Monroe being girl next door, Norma Jean. I love the beatnik style for winter. It’s just so comfortable!

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Can you remember the first vintage piece you bought? What was it?

When I first graduated from uni, I joined a motown/soul band on electric bass. I wanted to dress the part so I found a floral red a-line mini dress from the early 70s on Ebay. I still have it and occasionally pair it with my white go-go boots. 

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How do members of the public react to your getups?

It’s never been anything but positive. I’m used to being stared at as a musician, especially when I walk around with my double bass, so that never bothers me. I like to think it brightens up people’s day.

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I feel most accomplished when I make the older ladies smile because I know they ‘get it.’ They actually remember a time when the standard of dress was much higher than it is today and truly appreciate it.

Do you wear vintage to work as well? What do you do and how is your style received in the workplace?

I’m a full time musician so luckily yes! I can wear whatever I like. The more extreme the better it looks on stage! One of the reasons I wanted to play in Boom! Boom! Deluxe was so I’d have an excuse to wear all my crazy stuff out more.

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Does your vintage obsession extend into other areas too such as home décor, car, accessories and other collections?

As a music buff, a vinyl record collection is obligatory and ours is growing fast. My hubby and I love old b-movies so we’ve got a small collection of posters too.

The house is a lovely 20s villa so it has much potential but we are practical people first. I did recently acquire a mid-century dresser which is something I have wanted for a long time.

 

I also collect old and strange musical instruments. I’ve even got a theremin!

We would love a classic car, especially something like a hearse or an ambulance that we could fit all the band gear in but we are starving artists so it’s not currently on the cards.

Anything that you’d never be caught dead wearing?

No. It’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it!

When’s the next Boom Boom Deluxe gig?

We are playing all the time. I guess it depends when this will be published. We are playing the Very Vintage Day Out later in the year. Best bet is to follow us on Facebook as we travel all over the country and play most weekends.

What’s your favourite outfit of Hettie’s? Have you seen her band play live? Let me know in the comments!

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In the Closet with Sarah Corbet

Hamilton-based librarian Sarah Corbet talks to Natasha Francois about why she has a thing for trousers, how a turban teamed with a linen suit turns heads in Countdown and why she’s too poor to be a purist.

“When you work in a library, people almost seem to expect the stereotype of the twinset and pearls,” says Sarah Corbet.

The 43-year-old, who originally hails from Nottingham in the United Kingdom, loves being able to wear her own clothes to work.

Sartorially she looks like a cross between a woman supporting the war effort or one out to smash glass ceilings for girls in the typing pool, and says there’s nothing better than having her efforts noticed by those of a ‘certain vintage’!

“I get a real buzz off the older ladies that come in and tell me that they used to wear dresses like mine and style their hair like mine which is incredibly flattering coming straight from the source.”

Read on for a glimpse inside Sarah’s closet!

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You seem to have a great wardrobe. Wanna take us on a tour of your closet? What would we find within?

Mostly items from the 40s and 50s but there are also a lot of modern pieces that have, what I like to think of as the “essence” of these periods; clothing that evoke a time period that help to create the overall impression that I am just off to work on my war effort or break some glass ceilings for the gals back in the typing pool.

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Are you a vintage purist or do you wear repro pieces occasionally too?

I’m too poor to be a purist and am incredibly jealous of those with both the budget and patience to be one. I am learning to be more discerning when it comes to vintage clothing and try to restrict myself to collecting items I know I will wear well and wear often. A wardrobe full of organza and tulle is fun and beautiful to look at but I’m not a Real Housewife so more day-wear is my current mission.

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What are some of your most prized pieces in your vintage collection and why?

I have a late 1940s Paul Sachs crepe, camel brown dress with chocolate velvet trim that I adore. I also have a 40s pale lemon flocked gown that unfortunately has the dry rot so it now lives on permanent display in my bedroom.

She fits beautifully but is only really being held together by love. A lot of my most beloved pieces are quite delicate as by the time vintage clothes get to a price point that I can afford, they’re pretty thrashed.

I’ve worn somethings to death because they’ve become solid wardrobe staples and it can be heart breaking to have to permanently retire items.

The roulette wheel of vintage clothing can mean you will never see another piece like it, or that if you do, it inevitably won’t fit.

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Held together by love: The 40s pale lemon flocked gown that has dry rot so it lives on permanent display in her bedroom.

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How did you first become interested in vintage style?

I have always been a bit different when it comes to my own personal style. When I was a child I was obsessed with people like Cyndi Lauper and Madonna and how they were both so fearless when it came to their identity. For most of my life music has had an intrinsic relationship with how I dressed.

In the late 80s I started getting into rock and alternative bands and even had a momentary Goth stage when I was about 14. All I would wear was black from head to toe, which I’m sure looked cool when I was sneaking underage into Rock City in Nottingham, but has left me now in later life with a weird aversion to wearing anything darker than navy blue.

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She’s so unusual: For most of her life,  music’s had an intrinsic relationship with how Sarah dresses.

The early 90s were my heydays when grunge arrived and I was at Art College so anything went really. My friends and I were in constant competition to create the most bizarre outfits and it wasn’t uncommon to see one of us wearing a chopped up 1950s wedding dress with a tiara and army boots (Courtney Love was our spirit animal at that time).

I’m ashamed to say that a lot of vintage didn’t make it out of the 90s thanks to me and my friends but even in those days all the more valuable and collectable items were becoming harder to find in charity shops.

I took a break from vintage in the early 2000s because of living the single girl Sex and the City life which meant trolling the high street for Carrie Bradshaw knock offs. Then I found myself in New Zealand which is a whole different story.

What is it about vintage clothing that appeals to you the most?

It’s the aesthetics of vintage clothing that appeal to me the most which is sadly missing from so much of the mass-produced “fast fashion” of modern times. It just feels so much more considered and artisanal and the quality of fabric and tailoring has often left me slack jawed. Wearing something that someone else is unlikely to own pleases the individualist in me also.

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Fiercely individual: Sarah enjoys standing out in a crowd.

What are your favourite eras when it comes to vintage clothes?

I’m not an elitist or purist about any particular time period but I do love the classic tailoring of the 40s and 50s, especially the trousers. You can build an amazing look around a good pair of pants. The delicate line between masculine and feminine was manipulated so well at that time and essentially created a look that has endured through design over the past century.

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Enduring style: There’s nothing quite like a classic tailored pair of trousers.

Where are your favourite shopping haunts and why?

I used to be a die-hard op shopper and there are plenty of those here in Hamilton but finding vintage out “in the wild” as they say is so hard these days. I used to get a lot of great pieces from Sarah O’Halloran when she was running Bellavintage but now that she’s shut up shop I have to do all the hard work myself (shakes lazy fist at world).

Eclectic in Nelson has the most beautiful vintage items if you’re ever lucky enough to be in that part of the country so when I am I like to treat myself and worry about paying rent later… TradeMe still occasionally throws up some treasures if you’re prepared to wade through all the “super rare” 1980s Dynasty dresses, but of course there’s always a bit of a bun fight for the good stuff.

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Sarah channels Katherine Hepburn.

Do you have general thoughts about op shopping and vintage shopping in New Zealand?

I love the Kiwi tradition of not throwing anything away if it’s still useful, which I guess comes from being in such an isolated part of the world. This means you’re never far away from an op shop or an antiques dealer, but in terms of vintage clothing you really have to look overseas, especially America and Europe for the truly fabulous stuff. The Internet has made the vintage market a lot more accessible here in New Zealand but it’s still a thrill when you stumble upon some unexpected treasure at the Sallies.

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Whose closet do you envy and why?

I LOVE Jessica Parker, (@noaccountingfortaste), whose outfits are a huge inspiration for what goes into my wardrobe. I’m also a big fan of a lot of drag queens because they have that fearlessness about them which I find inspirational.

Violet Chachki is the re-incarnation of every Hollywood starlet smashed into one tiny waist. Their whole life is just being a glamorous doll that people love to dress-up and that’s something I can totally relate to, she says writing this in her pyjamas.

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Glamour guru: Violet Chachki

Who are some of your style icons and influences?

I love trousers so it has to be Katherine Hepburn with a bit of Lauren Bacall thrown in. I’ve never been a girlie person so women that have a slight masculine edginess to them light little vintage fires inside me. Did I mention I love trousers?

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Masculine edge: Sarah likes to tread the delicate line between masculine and feminine.

Can you remember the first vintage piece you bought? What was it?

It is a handmade 1950s dress made with a green, repeating rose design, cotton fabric. I bought it when I was about 16 years old for, I think, about nine pounds which in those days would have been a lot for me as a poor student. I still have it so it comes out occasionally for another showing each summer. And, yes amazingly it still fits! RIP my dreams of ever getting boobs.

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Librarian chic:  Sarah looks effortlessly elegant in her vintage threads.

How do members of the public react to your getups?

I do get a few compliments every now and then with the, of course, predictable “are you going to a costume/fancy dress party?” etc. Because I’m not trying to exactly recreate eras with what I wear or make historically accurate statements, it seems to be less jarring for most people. Although a turban with matching lipstick and a 1940s linen suit will turn heads in Countdown.

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Do you wear vintage to work as well? What do you do and how is your style received in the workplace?

I’m really lucky that I get to wear my own clothes to work. When you work in a library people almost seem to expect the stereotype of the twin set and pearls. I get a real buzz off the older ladies that come in and tell me that they used to wear dresses like mine and style their hair like mine which is incredibly flattering coming straight from the source. Although none of them have yet to donate to me said dresses I still live in hope that one day there still exists out there the mother lode of vintage with my name on it. A lot of the little kids just think I’m a Wiggle.

Does your vintage obsession extend into other areas too such as home decor, car, accessories and other collections?

My home definitely reflects my taste for old used things which wasn’t really thought of as “vintage” back in the day; it was just buying second-hand. I’m a bit of a nomad so moving around a lot does prevent accumulating lots of collections of things but it also means you have to be selective with what you own and you can’t be too precious about stuff. I’ve settled in Hamilton for now but thanks to rental inspections and a housemate I haven’t been allowed to hoard my house to the rafters with doilies and knick-knacks.

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Anything that you’d never be caught dead wearing?

I think history has shown that I will give most things a try so who knows what my next vintage sartorial phase will be. I kind of like the idea of entering an “Elizabeth Taylor during her second marriage to Richard Burton” era where I wear nothing but kaftans and diamonds but I guess we’ll just have to watch this soon to be bejewelled space.

Follow Sarah on Instagram– where she goes by the moniker @professional_spinster

So, what do you think of Sarah’s sartorial style? What is your favourite outfit pictured? Let me know in the comments. 

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In the closet with Labretta Suede

Welcome to the sixth installment of our In the Closet series! This week Natasha steps inside the exotic wardrobe of Labretta Suede and the Motel 6 frontwoman Labretta Suede.

Although we’ve been friends for well over a decade, my first memories of Labretta Suede go back to my teenage years in the early to mid-90s. 

Even then she still rocked her trademark look which was part Ronnie Spector, part Bettie Page and part Poison Ivy. 

There was the same enormous black beehive, winged liquid eyeliner, ripped fishnets and short shorts –and the same raucous laugh that could be heard several blocks down the road!

More than 25 years later and she’s barely changed style-wise. As the diminutive but feisty frontwoman of Labretta Suede and the Motel Six (read our interview with the band here), she’s notorious for appearing on stage in outrageous, barely there ensembles. However what you might not know is that Labretta is a longtime lover of vintage clothing and has amassed an incredible collection thanks to many years touring the USA and the world.

Alongside her hubby Johnny Moondog, they’re also the proprietors of Cockspurs Vintage, a boutique specialising in true Americana vintage (catch them vending on the second floor of the Rebel Roundup markets this weekend).

Read on to find out why she prefers to be a purist, how she developed her signature style– and why you should never leave a good frock on hold at the thrift store! 

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You seem to have a great wardrobe. Wanna take us on a tour of your closet?  
 
Home invasion much?  OK – I’ll give you a sneak peek then. Come on! Down the rabbit hole we go….  

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Photo by Megs Moss.

 What would we find within?  
 
Lingerie and corsetry, feathers, bullet belts, ripped fishnets, leather things with zips, pristine 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s evening dresses. Authentic 60’s dresses and  playsuits, Las Vegas show girl sparkly dresses, cowboy boots, 1950s -1970s short-shorts, 1940s – 1970s Westernwear, 1910- 1960’s Hollywood glamour night slips, all the way through to custom-made Spanish flamenco dresses from Barcelona that I bought when I was 19 years of age.

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Photo by Megs Moss.

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Photo by Megs Moss.

 Are you a vintage purist or do you wear repro pieces occasionally too?  
 
I am more purist than repro. I tend to not buy newly made items of clothing. The world is over flowing with too much cheaply made, slave labour clothing and junk as it is. Consumption needs to stop!  

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Not to say that all repro is cheaply made, as much of it is not and I have a few custom made pieces from high-end repro designers. I think many of them are brilliant and it’s nice to see quality fabrics and beautiful styles reproduced again. Especially when I see someone in the mainstream wearing it and I can finally not be offended by bad fashion. Ha!  

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Growing up as an artist with my love of the bizarre has kept my heart true to indiviual asthetics. I am horrifed by this era of comformity and lack of imagination when it comes to expression, or rather lack there of.  

What are some of your most prized pieces in your vintage collection and why?  
 
Hmm.. tricky. I have some amazing pieces that often are too sentimental and valuable to me to ever see the light of day. Although, my go-tos are my old beat up leather jacket which has seen me through many an escapade.  However, my short-shorts collection, my on-stage, two-piece outfits and my sparkly dresses have been what I am most famous for.  

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Then there is my handbag, purse and clutch collection.  My love for wicker hand bags is a bit out of control. My fur and velvet handbag/hand warmer muffs. Mmmmm…. Nothing like good accessories.  
 
My sterling vintage Amercian Indian jewelery keeps me grounded and provides endless facination in my day-to-day when meeting people. Again, some never see the light of day as it’s too dear to me and I have lost many a family heirloom at shows/gigs and mosh pits. So, perhaps this punkabilly has learned a few things over her years around the moon.  

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Any noteworthy recent purchases?  
 
The last trip to Melbourne took the cake. While mincing around in one my favourite stores, I hear my husband say while pointing to a garment hanging on the wall, “check that out! You have to have that and I know that it will fit you”. He then frantically asks the shop attendant to pull it from the wall and the tag said ‘on hold for Sally’.

My husband was adament. “Whose Sally? Has she put a deposit down?” The shop attendant called the owner as I tried on the dress. She hung up with a very unconclusive answer …until, she saw the dress on me and said “WOAH! You said you were playing a show right? Ok, I agree you have to have it”   So, I handed over very little- in my opinion- for the dress and boy were we excited. My husband more so.  
 
Here it is!

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Photo by Megs Moss.

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Photos by Megs Moss.

How did you first become interested in vintage style?  
 
Being that I am vintage in age…teehee… I still own and wear those items I first bought which are now deemed vintage. You could still buy cool punk labels right off the racks with stores like Bluebeat and Vivian Westwood. 
 
I still own them but I always had a very unique style from when I was young and I have pretty much looked the same since I was about 12. Winged eyeliner, pale face, red lipstick with a punk/goth/country style and themes throughout my dress code. I have always been tiny but curvy, so have had to be creative about fashion.

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As newly made off-the-shelf clothing never fit nor did it suit me and admittedly still doesn’t. Ever since I was a child I would always go thrifting and op shopping with my mother and I would chop and alter things to fit me. My mother to this very day sits and helps me come up with outfits and creations. She gives me ideas on the best way to sew or cut the fabrics. It’s still some of our favourite bonding time.  

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What is it about vintage clothing that appeals to you the most?  
 
The quality of the fabrics, the styles, the patterns and cuts. They are feminine and flattering and oddly most vintage fits my slight but shapely physic purr-fectly. 

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How does it make you feel when you wear it?  
 
Being that I wear it most everyday I guess that is a loaded question.  Different outfits give you different super powers. Some can be drop-dead sexy, where others can be wholesome and cute. I do love my dangerous bad girl outfits but the next day could be wearing a gorgeous 1930s evening dress that gives me that same sexy dangerous feeling by with elegance. By in large I like to feel outside of society, as I do like the exotic and other worldly….  

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What are your favourite eras when it comes to vintage clothes? 
 
Well, the era’s that truly suit me are the 1910-20s burlesque style, a touch of the 1950s more casual styles, with cuts that are high waist but I feel I can be a bit small for 50s styles and they tend to look a bit matronly on me. The 1960s are super cute on me and late 70s punk are my go-tos.  
 
As a musician and in my early career as a burlesque performer I have had a great affinity with the 1860s- 1930s burlesque styles. I have a big crush on the broken down Hollywood glamour look but for me it’s not about singling out one era.  

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Where are your favourite shopping haunts and why?  
 
Most of mine are sadly not in New Zealand. They are mainly based in the USA with a few in Melbourne, Australia. These shops are eclectic and I get giddy with excitement just knowing we are going to visit. Stopping in to visit these stores are as important as our shows and gigs when we are touring the globe. 

Sadly, many are closing down or do not have the calibre of quality anymore, due to the vintage trend spiraling into the mainstream. Although, this is only part of the issue. It is just simply getting harder and harder to source as we move away each year from those finer eras.  

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What are your general thoughts about op shopping and vintage shopping in New Zealand?  
 
You can definitely find some good finds in New Zealand when it comes to kitsch household items, deco mirrors, retro furniture and curios. 

However, New Zealander’s have always been fairly casual when it comes to fashion and design. Thus, the design was never as detailed as clothing or furniture made in the USA or Europe. When my parents first arrived to NZ in the 60s from Greece, they looked like the mafia with their beehives, A-line dresses and three-piece suits.

My parents still giggle about how New Zealander’s would wear stubbies and jandals just about anywhere. One of my fathers friends got sick of seeing him in a suit and cut his tie right off his neck at a party. So, I think I definitely acquired my sense of style from my lineage.  My grandfathers were both shoemakers too.  

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Photo by Carlos de Treend from The Juice Lab.

What are your holy grail pieces?   
 
Not telling…. A gal needs some privacy in her long lost search.  Ie: back off bitches it’s mine! Teehee!  
 
Fave labels/ fabrics/ outfit types?  
 
Leather is a true love for me. Sorry vegans but for the most part it is vintage. Thus, saved from the landfill by being reglamourised by yours truly. I have never been a label basher, or rather labels have never concerned me. I like what I like and it’s all in the hunt and the find.  unnamed-1
 
Whose closet do you envy and why? Who are some of your style icons and influences?  
 
It would have to be a combined envy of Bettie Page, Siouxsie Sioux, Zsa Zsa Gabor and a little of Daisy Duke.  

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The Queen of Curves: Bettie Page.

Bettie Page for her risque, wild but always sweet sensibilities. Siouxsie Sioux for her extreme dark edge and uniquely appropriated fabrics.  Zsa Zsa Gabor for that always overly dressed hollywood sparkle and style. Daisy Duke for her sexy hillbilly casual charm.  

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Daisy Duke

Can you remember the first vintage piece you bought? What was it?  
 
Growing up in a immigrant family with four children there were a lot of hand me downs that I appropriated and being the only girl I got my mothers cool hand me downs. I would ritualistically sink them in a boiling pot of black dye. Mmmm…. that smell but they never did come out black, Always charcoal, deep purples and deep blues, which made them more interesting still. I certainly stood out at high school in a sea of Guns & Roses T-shirts.  

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Labretta and Johnny Moondog  with members of the Hallelujah Picassos.

I remember my high school outfits fondly but as for my first purchased vintage item, it must have been a leather jacket or some kind of undergarment. As I do remember spending years looking for just the right leather jacket. Or maybe it was records? I was and am still a vinyl junkie.

How do members of the public react to your getups?  
 
It’s a swinging pendulum really. I either get complimented all day about my style or people take a wide berth. I prefer the latter. Not good with compliments. Thanks New Zealand for that affliction.  

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Do you wear vintage to work as well?  
Yes!  

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How is your style received in the workplace?  
 
Mostly people are intrigued as to what I will wear the next day. I seem to be a bit of a runway model for many and a person of interest. It’s healthy and fun and gets most people out of their workplace modes and opens up some really fun conversations. So, I feel I get to know a lot of my co-workers on a deeper level.  

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Photo by Carlos de Treend of The Juice Lab.

Does your vintage obsession extend into other areas too such as home decor, car, accessories and other collections?  
 
Yes, my husband and I are lifers. We have 1950s-built home, decor is broken down Hollywood glamour. I have owned my 1963 Dodge for over 15 years and my husband is a fan of vintage cars and motorbikes too. Complete with two red dingo Kelpies …one is vintage the other a newby.  It’s a colourful household!

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Anything that you’d never be caught dead wearing? 
 

Gray marle and sweat pants.  

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Catch Labretta Suede and the Motel 6 live at the following gigs:

February 17 and 18, Rebel Roundup, Pukekohe Park, Auckland.

March 1st, Stiff Little Fingers, The Powerstation, Auckland

March 17, St Patrick’s Day, Kentish Pub. Waiuku, Auckland.

 

 

In the closet with: Helga von Tiddlehoffen

Welcome to the fifth installment of our In the Closet with series! This week Natasha enters the weird and wonderful world of Helga von Tiddlehoffen.

If there ever was a lady more deserving of being featured in this series, it has to be Helga Von Tiddlehoffen!

Yes that’s her in the day-glo lime green tights, gingham frock, mustard heels and badass red leather trench, clutching what looks like a toolbox, but is really a handbag! 

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No shrinking violet, this 51-year-old describes herself as “pretty loud, sometimes shy, obsessed with old-fashioned manners” and as someone who can not abide arrogance or fakeness. 

“I am frequently impatient, big-mouthed, blunt, crass and I swear like a trouper. I have a spastic sense of humour, and am easily irritated and irritating!”

The delightfully eccentric lady first came on my radar about 7 years ago when she blogged as ‘Helga Van Trollop’. I stumbled across it one day, during a time in my life when I felt depressed and hopeless about the world.

I was struck by her bold use of colour/ pattern and devil-may-care attitude. She helped me realise that being over 40 doesn’t mean a decline into banality.  And that is super inspiring!

26653225_1908675042494154_1688948780_o.pngWhen it comes to her tastes, she’s the epitome of an eclectic lady – her interests veer from opera to metal, from Belle Epoque to 50s glam to 70s chic, from girly sweet to goth (she was a hardcore goth in the late 80s/ 90s) , from chick flicks to cheesy 70s trash….

Some of her own style and life icons include- Frida Kahlo, Mrs Slocombe of Are you being served, Mildred Roper of George and Mildred, Siouxie Sioux, Carmen Miranda, Yma Sumac, Vivenne Westwood and many more.

Just look at that role call of fabulosity, is it any wonder she’s so cool?

Although Helga Von Tiddlehoffen is quite an arresting nom de plume, it’s not her real name, which is the more prosaic Annette Faulkner. She’s a talented singer, voracious reader and lives with her partner G and cat, Mrs Peeps in a riot of colour surrounded by an envy-inducing assortment of mid-century antiques and collectables.

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Formerly based in Christchurch, she now calls Oamaru home. However, she’s originally an Aussie (we can forgive her for that) who was born in Sydney, but has been living in Aotearoa since 1989.

Most days she dresses up to the max  because it gives her a great deal of pleasure. Besides, she was “brainwashed” by her mother at an early age with a dose of old films, to be overdressed for any and all situations.

Desperate to see more of Helga’s outrageous ensembles? Read on!

26692501_1908675179160807_1452267100_oYou seem to have a great wardrobe. Wanna take us on a tour of your closet? What would we find within?

Within my closet you will find: a great variety! Items ranging from Edwardian to modern – I am never bored in life, but I can get bored with my clothes!

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26692620_1908677902493868_539942827_o-e1515462969336.pngAre you a vintage purist or do you wear repro pieces occasionally too? 

I wouldn’t call myself a purist in any sense other than I only shop secondhand. Aside from tights and knickers, I am indeed very purist about that. I make some of my own clothes, and therefore wouldn’t buy repro simply because I would prefer to make it. Or at least think about it!

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What are some of your most prized pieces in your vintage collection?

 A few Edwardian pieces; they’re difficult to find in a generous size. Aside from a belt, I wear them from time to time.

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Any noteworthy recent purchases?

I picked up several metres of ’50s polished cotton at the dump shop – I mean resource centre – last week. I thought that was a nice score…

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How did you first become interested in vintage style?

My mother! We would watch allllll the old films when I was a kid. I totally blame her for my matchy matchy inclinations! I might mention that she was born in 1929 and must have worn some amazing clothes in her time but SHE NEVER KEPT ANYTHING!!!! I suppose I’m traumatised by this, as I am a wee bit of a hoarder….

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What is it about vintage clothing that appeals to you the most?

Well, one isn’t so likely to bump into anyone at a party wearing the same frock! And the quality-garments are so well made that we can wear them today. I’ll happily wear the odd modern piece, but I know I’m going to have to fix it, likely more than once.

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How does it make you feel when you wear it?

I expect I must feel FABULARSE or I wouldn’t!

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What are your favourite eras when it comes to vintage clothes?

Each and every one but especially Regency, Edwardian, Teens, 20s, 70s.

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Where are your favourite shopping haunts and why?

 Op shops because one gets more bang for ones buck, and I’ve never had a huge amount of those besides being frugal by nature.

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What are your general thoughts about op shopping and vintage shopping in New Zealand?

Certainly vintage isn’t as abundant in op shops anymore, but I enjoy the thrill of the hunt and am out there almost every week looking.

Vintage shopping is pretty good, but can be expensive. I find the best, most reliable and well priced vintage shop is Two Squirrels, based in Dunedin.

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What do you dream of finding??

Nothing really….although I’d shit myself if I were to find a piece of Victorian mourning jewellery, but that’ll never happen!

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What are your holy grail pieces? Fave labels/ fabrics/ outfit types?

 I like spotting Juliet, an old Christchurch brand, and Estelle Rose, a 70s label. Any New Zealand label, really.

I’m a total Polyester Queen, but I do love linen, cotton and lace. I pretty much only wear frocks.

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Whose closet do you envy and why?

 Probably Victorian Coke on Instagram-she works in an auction house (or it might be her own) and therefore has all the dreamiest old garments!

My new 1920s bf ♥️ I just wish his lil ensemble fit me 💦

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Who are some of your style icons and influences?

 Siouxsie Sioux forever! (I was a goth in the 80s/90s) The Queen, Mrs Slocombe from Are You Being Served?, Ottoline Morrell, Frida Kahlo.

I am influenced by the books I read, the television I watch, the films I see, art I admire and the town I live in.

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Can you remember the first vintage piece you bought? What was it?

 No clue. Probably a black early 70s hostess frock.

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How do members of the public react to your get-ups?

Over the years I have been admired, scorned, had things thrown at me…very mixed. Mostly good!

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Does your vintage obsession extend into other areas too such as home decor, car, accessories and other collections?

 Oh yes. My house, built in 1958, is mostly mid century. I basically collect vintage accessories of all kinds, from handbags to scarf rings to brooches…blah blah blah…my partner and I share a passion for West German pottery, mirrors, lamps and religious kitsch, and I am obsessed with baskets.

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What would I never be caught dead wearing?

Crocs!

Isn’t she fabulous!

Want to see more of Helga’s fabulous ensembles? Step this way…

Instagram: @vonwinklehoffen

Helga’s blog which sadly doesn’t get updated anymore: Colours Fly and Catherine Wheel

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In the closet with Heather Benzie

In part four of our ‘In the Closet with’… series, Heather Benzie spills her sartorial secrets to Natasha Francois.

Vintage doyenne Heather Benzie has a knack for crafting authentic-looking 1940s and 50s high fashion outfits using a hodge podge of vintage, retro and modern items.

The Christchurch-based apparel manager happily mixes eras and has a particular interest in retro pieces which recall earlier eras such as 1930s does 70s items or 80s does 40s or 50s.

But you wouldn’t know this from looking at her. From head to toe, she’s the epitome of elegance and tailored perfection. She’s certainly no vintage snob but by the same token, doesn’t own a single piece of  ‘purpose-designed’ reproduction clothing.

Read on to find out about her eclectic wardrobe, her passion for formal day-wear and skirt suits, and why she believes 1980s clothing is the ‘vintage of the future’.  

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Being ladylike, as I do sometimes for fun, faking the 50s in a modern op shopped blazer. A good blazer is a good blazer, really.

Are you a vintage purist or do you wear repro pieces occasionally too?

I don’t think I own any actual purpose-designed repro. In general, manufactured reproductions and retail shopping don’t really interest me. What I like is the quirky, the individual and the fortuitous. I love to go hunting and see what I find and be inspired by it. And I do value my true vintage for age and authenticity: I suppose I like things that are a bit rare and special.

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The green and white ‘Snow Drop’ post, in a pretty polyester 60s blouse on a chilly early spring day …

But I am definitely not a vintage purist either. If I am wearing a good vintage dress or suit I like to keep my fairly accessories in keeping, but for every day I will happily mix up vintage, retro and modern items to create a look I like, and it might or might not be a historically accurate effect that I am after. And I am really interested in retro pieces which in turn reference earlier eras, like 30s-influenced 1970s fashion and 80s fashions which are similar to styles from the 40s or 50s. For one thing they are handy because you can wear them either way, but I am just fascinated by the overlaps and circularity of fashion. 

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A beautiful Chloe jacket I bought at the Recycle Boutique in Auckland – more expensive than vintage but exquisite really. The vintage of the future.

What are some of your most prized pieces in your vintage collection and why?

I have acquired a nice Lilli Ann suit and some lovely 1950s and 1960s dresses and suits which are always nice to wear for special occasions. They are always elegant and glamorous. One of my favourites is a teeny black silk velvet cheongsam which I will probably never squeeze into again … thank goodness for the everlasting photographic record of the internet! If I am buying proper vintage I try to follow the same guidelines I would for buying a new piece of clothing: is it beautiful or stylish (in my opinion), well designed, and well made of quality fabric?

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I love a little fierce 40s style: actually 80s vintage jacket and veiled hat. Don’t you just love veiled hats?? I do. Hurrah for 80s does 40s!

Any noteworthy recent purchases?

There are a couple of dresses I picked up recently which are quite different from each other but both of which I love. I recently added to my collection a long silk evening dress, maybe 60s, with a stunning Chinese style water lily print. It’s very elegant. And I bought an amazing 1980s velvet cocktail dress with amazing oversized shoulders and puffed sleeves which I love because it is so ’80s’ but it has a real high fashion flair to it – elegant too, in a different way. It’s what I call the vintage of the future: when the rest of the world catches up with me in appreciating 80s fashion I will have the market cornered! 

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One of my nicest things: an ivory cocktail suit. Tres Dior, non?

How did you first become interested in vintage style? Can you remember the first vintage piece you bought? What was it?

I remember from quite a young age loving the the glamorous high style of the old movies which were still pretty standard fare on the telly. As a teenager in the 1980s I got interested in current fashion – it was the age of Madonna, British New Romanticism and punk, so a really fun, eclectic time. There was quite a strong retro element in popular culture, and my friends and I loved visiting the local op shops and mixing up our Glassons stuff with vintage 50s and 60s items, among other things. I used to wear my pencil skirts with op shop 60s cardis and my mother’s gloves and pearls or a silk cocktail jacket and brocade shoes from my Nana. I don’t think we called it ‘wearing vintage’: it was more just a way to stretch our small budgets and wardrobes with nice things!

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The closest I ever get to that immaculate pinup style! – pretty 60s wool frock from Dunedin Savemart, and a hat to minimise my naturally chaotic hair.

What is it about vintage clothing that appeals the most?

I am mostly driven by aesthetics and a kind of curiosity about fashion in general. I love a good outfit of any era and style and really appreciate when anyone puts thought into what they’re wearing. Vintage gives me opportunities to try out different aesthetics. I love co-ordinating all the elements from top to toe: it is like a puzzle you can put together in different ways. Sometimes I want to look smart, or cute or romantic or whatever, and sometimes I am just mucking around.

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I was inspired by Kate Bush’s video for The Hounds Of Love to photograph this romantic 80s Thornton Hall ball gown this way ..

Given that, the question of whether my clothes are a form of self expression is complicated. It is true that wearing different clothes makes you feel different (if you are interested Google ‘enclothed cognition’) and the fact that I experiment with lots of different looks probably indicates that I am happy with being several different people! I have said before that my clothes mostly express a desire to make the everyday just a little more fabulous and interesting!

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This lovely silk 70s wedding dress reminded me of the White Witch in the original Narnia illustrations, with its austere medieval styling.

My photographs are really important to me as a creative outlet. I don’t have time to do many at the moment and it makes me sad! When I have time I really love to photograph some of my clothes in a creative way. I am trying to show some cultural or even an emotional association of the clothing for me. For example, I styled a 1980s ballgown in a photo shoot inspired by a Kate Bush album, as an attempt to illustrate the new romantic spirit. It’s a very personal and impressionistic interpretation, though; not a documentary.

What are your favourite eras when it comes to vintage clothes?

I wear clothes of lots of different eras: more than favourite eras I have favourite styles or genres that I gravitate towards. I adore formal daywear and love to wear a skirt suit with all the accessories – from any decade from the 40s to the 80s. The sharper and more glamorous the look, the better, so I do have a special yen for that high drama, fierce 40s, 50s and 80s style.

I take any opportunity to get dressed up in eveningwear too. I have a lot of elegant 50s and 60s frocks but I have started wearing more funky late 60s and 70s dresses, and of course I can’t resist a good 80s number!

For casual wear I mostly revert to various forms and eras of what you might call romantic and boho style, from 40s looks to current ones. 
If I were going to sum up my preferred style, it is either elegant and formal, or colourful and romantic. With a hint of preppy and the odd cute moment. Go figure. 

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A ravishing gold satin 50s gown against the golden autumn beauty of the Port Hills here in Christchurch.

Where are your favourite shopping haunts and why?

I do the rounds of my local op shops when I can, buy a few things off Trademe and always visit Overflow in Mayfield when we head south. I don’t buy a lot of ‘retail’ vintage only because I’m tight with money. Some of my best things have been bought from friends in the vintage community, because I trust them. 

Do you have any general thoughts about op shopping and vintage shopping in New Zealand?

Well, it is easy to get envious about the seemingly bottomless pool of amazing vintage you see on overseas sites. But paradoxically the small size of the vintage community and stock in New Zealand keeps prices down, which is nice for a collector. I have bought beautiful true vintage suits and dresses off Trademe for a fraction of what the would sell for on an overseas site. And you can definitely still find bits of true vintage in the op shops and fairly inexpensive second hand shops. Sometimes I can’t believe what I find that has been overlooked or consigned as valueless. You do need patience, sharp eyes, some knowledge, and a bit of luck though.

Whose closet do you envy and why?

Marilyn Monroe’s maybe? Ava Gardner’s? 

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Ava Gardner

Who are some of your style icons and influences?

So many influences! I have certainly been influenced by the beauty and glamour of the classic movie stars of the 40s and 50s. My favourite designers are pretty diverse: Vivienne Westwood, Ralph Lauren and Yves St Laurent spring to mind. Fashion advertising and pop culture of all sorts in recent decades interests me.

I don’t really follow any bloggers or such but I totally love Leandra Medine, aka Manrepeller, for the way she has divorced an interest in fashion from conventional notions of femininity, prettiness and sex appeal. I think that is my position, to some degree. Looking pretty is not, in and of itself, particularly interesting to me these days.

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Leandra Medine aka ‘Manrepeller’

Anything that you’d never be caught dead wearing?

Nude lipstick. Trackpants. Activewear unless I am actually running. Any form of imitation Ugg boots or boot slippers. Leggings as pants. Chunky gladiator sandals. Makeup modelled on that of a Khadashian. But that’s only me and what I personally consider attractive or suitable for me. I don’t care what other people wear: we are all different! That’s a good thing. 

What do you think of Heather’s vintage style? Let me know in the comments! xx

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