Sartorial Secrets: behind the scenes
at Miss Pinup NZ 2015 … Fancifora Foxglove
Now that the Big Day (aka the Miss Pinup NZ 2015 competition!) has been and gone, I thought it would be really nice for some of the contestants to tell us the stories behind their clothing and accessory choices. I don’t know about you, but as an audience member, I felt like we didn’t get long enough to truly soak in all the gorgeousness that was up on stage! In fairness to the management though, there would never be enough time to do that or the competition would take a week!
Some of the girls have their own blogs, so will be doing their own posts, but many of the finalists have agreed to be a part of this series, which I’m really excited about. Actually, all the girls with blogs have agreed to come on MumptyStyle as well, so that’s very cool of them – and of course I will be linking to their posts where I can.
First up is the truly spectacular Fancifora Foxglove … check out why this dazzling woman chose those vintage pieces from her extensive collection – read on!
Where did you source your items (including shoes, handbags, accessories etc?)
I wanted to stay true to myself and so I decided to wear items that I already owned as much as possible.
I have a large collection of vintage originals and I love to show them off as well as find a million different new ways to wear them! Changing up accessories like belts, hats, bags, furs, petticoats, shoes – even a hairstyle – can breathe new life into well-loved items. Finding a new way to wear an old item is as satisfying as buying something new altogether for me.
What inspired your choices – was it your pinup name/character, your personal interests/something you’d seen worn by someone you admire/old, classic movies?
I start from a single item and then create an entire character around that. I will look at it and think “who would have worn this and what was she like?” My daywear for example (pictured above) was blue, red and white – the colours of the French flag – so I decided to embrace the French theme and added a beret. I felt like Madeline!
I’m a thespian at heart so each new outfit is like donning a brand new character for me.
What accessories did you wear and how/why did you choose them? How did the process work for you – did you find the dress, and then accessorise it, or did you find an accessory you love and build it from there …
I just love the creative process of styling and tend to stick to the rule of going either matchy-matchy or very contrasting with colours/patterns.
I used the key item as the starting point, so dresses for day and evening wear and the bathing suit for beachwear, then I sourced complimentary accessories from there.
Shoes were the main thing I purchased for the competition and they were the items I had the most trouble sourcing. I had a set idea in mind and often this means trying to source something that does not exist! Other than shoes, I already owned all the accessories I wore such as hats, hairpieces, scarves, gloves, furs and petticoat etc.
Did your outfits require shape wear?
I am very lucky to have quite a classic 50s figure so shapewear is not always needed to create an hourglass silhouette. However, I have recently discovered cinch clips which I use almost daily. I like my waist cinched very tight, at all times, and cannot be bothered taking in every single item I own at the waist. They are a cheap and simple alternative to a nipped waist. The only shapewear I wore was my custom-made Purdy corset under my bathing suit to create a very dramatic hourglass shape. I wanted my beach look to appear straight out of a 50s Vogue swimwear editorial.
Who made your custom outfits?
I had no custom outfits (apart from my trusty corset worn as shapewear) however; I did get my evening gown altered. It needed some mending and I also had a layer of sparkly gold material by way of a removable skirt added. This was done by Amy from Aeon Clothing who came up with some great solutions for this dress – it was almost beyond repair, as the delicate fabric was beautiful but old and had torn in places. I also added some Swarovski crystals to the bodice; I am a burlesque performer and believe you can never have quite enough bling!
Did you have any wardrobe malfunctions?
I nearly lost a shoe during the evening wear section! I felt like I had to hobble off the stage in order to keep it on – luckily the dress was long enough to cover the shoes!
I remember thinking “just smile and look graceful and no one will know. If you lose it, turn it into a comedy moment.” One thing I have learnt from my theatre days is it is better to acknowledge mishaps and ham your way through a situation in character than to ignore it, because that just makes everyone feel awkward!
Can you tell me about your hair and makeup? (Ed note: Miss Pinup contestants must do their own hair and makeup.)
My hair was pin-curled; which is always my preferred method of vintage styling.
My “hairspiration” was Marilyn Monroe with volume just in the front for some wow factor, but flatter in the back to cater for wearing hats. I chose a big hair look to start the day because I knew if it got too out of control throughout the day I could always smooth it down and roll it under for a more polished Grace Kelly look.
My makeup was a less glittery version of my burlesque stage makeup look; lots of contouring as harsh stage lights wash me out, classic red lips, strong defined brows and a cateye of course!
Are there any “back stories” you have about your outfits/ special meanings/came from your grandmother/begged, borrowed or stolen?!
My daywear dress was given to me by my mother. I think she found it in an op shop in Hastings years ago. It is actually child-sized and can definitely be styled to look garish! I wear this onstage as Camp Leader in a Topp Twins tribute burlesque act and it looks veeeery different matched with a green cardigan with felt sheep on it!
My mother also gave me the original 50s bathing suit several years ago. I love it because it has a silver fern on it, but I wish I knew more about its origin. I have held onto items like this for years and years, knowing they were unique treasures, but my teenage self was just not quite sure how to use them. I am so glad I have the hoarding gene as I have found so many opportunities to wear these in my 20s!
I purchased my yellow evening gown for only $50 from a vintage store here in Wellington and have added to it over time. Many people say it is a princess dress similar to what Belle wears in Beauty and the Beast! It reminds me of something Elizabeth Taylor would have worn to the Oscars.
How did you pick your talent? How much research went into it? Did you make your own props?
I chose an act that I developed a while ago but had not performed in Auckland before (Wellington has seen it to death!)
I wanted to stick to my strengths and I thought using an established act that is always a crowd pleaser meant just one less thing to worry about. It wasn’t practical to have any elaborate props or set as I was flying up from Wellington and lugging props was just not an option. This pushed me to rely solely on stage presence in order for my talent to stand out. Plus I never get sick of performing this act and feel it is the pinnacle of my burlesque character – comedic, plucky and full of surprises!
Thank you Fancifora – it’s been fantastic delving into your wardrobe and learning what went into your sartorial choices for the Miss Pinup NZ competition. By the way – congratulations on being chosen for Miss Picture Perfect – I can most definitely see why!
(To read the other contestant’s Sartorial Secrets, click here.)
Love and hourglass silhouettes …