A Vintage Vanity Pays a visit...

With trusty video cam and tripod in hand, Jennifer of a Vintage Vanity was ever-so ready to interview me about Heart of Haute. In this 13 minute video, you'll learn a little bit of the history behind this company, more about myself, and how we do things around here!

Meet Miss Liza: HB Employee, Designer, and Alternative Fashion Enthusiast

Heart of Haute is proud to offer an array of clothing that anyone can add to their wardrobe, however we are often associated with the Rockabilly and Pin-up subcultures.  What many of you may not know, is that we are also happy to cater to those that might have a taste for more alternative clothing.  Riveting Gallantry features garments designed with a different aesthetic, but made with the same quality fabrics and attention to detail as your favorite Heart of Haute dresses.  Designed by our very own Liza Aravelo, whom I have the pleasure of working with here at Heart of Haute Headquarters, shares her experience working in the fashion industry, her inspiration for Riveting Gallantry and exploring new subcultures. rgbanner liza hb   What inspired you to pursue a career in fashion? Honestly, I wasn't that sure about it.  I've liked it since high school.  It was probably my sophomore or junior year.  I was in art class and we were starting to draw people.  Our teacher gave us the creative liberty to go where we wanted with it, so – I don't know why, maybe it was because I was just starting to get into anime – I would draw the model in front of us, but then I would change their outfit into something more fantasy/sci-fi.  When I started high school, I wanted to be an animator and it was through that class that I took that very seriously, but my teacher pointed out that my artistic skills lay more into creating costumes than actually learning the fundamentals of drawing.  [Our school] had just started offering a fashion ROP class, [my teacher] suggested I take it, and I did.   Was it like a lightbulb moment where everything tied in together? Actually, not at all. . . but it made me realize how much fun I had doing it.  Fast forward, I didn't get to do that at first, right out of high school.  It took some time.  I went back and forth with what I wanted to do with my life.  One of my high school teachers told me about this anime called “Paradise Kiss,” and she told me that I HAD to watch it.  So, I watched it, and it was [about] a private school in Japan, like high school, but an artistic high school, and they had a fashion program.  It followed this group of kids and their struggle to find themselves and to be artists.  The main character was sort of like me.  He was really passionate and really talented, but everyone kind kept telling him, “This is probably not the best thing for you,” “It's really hard,” “You're gonna struggle, you should probably go with something more stable.”  He went ahead and did it anyway.  I don't know, maybe it was because I was young, but I thought to myself, “Well, hey, if this character can do it, then I can do it.”  It's literally that anime that continues to inspire me.  Whenever I doubt myself, I re-watch the whole series and I have renewed vigor to keep going.   That's really awesome! Going off of that, do you find that a lot of your work, and not necessarily just for Riveting Gallantry, is influenced by that particular anime in some way or another? No, not at all, actually.  The anime was all about runway and haute couture.   So it's just more for your motivation? Yeah!   For our Fans that don't know, you cut samples and grade patterns for Heart of Haute. What does your job entail? So for our customers, they understand that everything from us is made to order.  Basically, when the order comes it, it gets put onto a “cut sheet.”  The cut sheet comes to me, and I hand cut each order, one by one.  Grading patterns means that I take a base size, which for us is a medium, and I then create individual patterns for all the other sizes from XS to 2XL. liza   What do you find the most challenging? Well, pattern making, in general, is a very detail-oriented type of work.  It's kind of stressful because even though there's sort of a formula that you follow, it never ends up working perfectly, so it's a lot of creative problem solving.  Because it's so detail-oriented, sometimes it can get really frustrating.  For most designers, when you draw things, you have an understanding of the physical capabilities of fabric and sewing.  To get a sketch and turn it into a pattern, there's obviously going to be some variance of where exactly a line should fall.   Some Heart of Haute Honeys may not know about the Riveting Gallantry line. Can you describe its aesthetic? How would you introduce the line to someone who may not be familiar with alternative sub-cultures and clothing? Riveting Gallantry started out as being intended to kind of follow the steampunk trend.  I wanted to tone it down a little bit, so I went with more of a classic, more goth-type alternative aesthetic, not necessarily in the fabric choices but in the styles.  It's definitely reminiscent of neo-victorian [fashion.]   Do you think it still incorporates the steampunk aesthetic? The silhouettes definitely do, the fabric does not. I felt like if we went with a steampunk line, it was too narrow.  Neo-Victorian and the Gothic aesthetic have so many branches, that with a few modifications, it could easily fit into many sub-genres.   What about the lolita influence on the line, if there is any? I intended it to sort of be incorporated into lolita [fashion], but the more that I spend time as a lolita myself... [lolita] doesn't really leave a lot of room for indie brands.  It's the sort of thing where it's sort of like, “It's Japanese or it's not.”   What was your inspiration for the Riveting Gallantry line and how have your other interests influenced your designs? All of my designs have been influenced by my selfish desire for people to dress better, haha!  I don't know, ever since high school, I've always had a quirky sense of style.  Growing up, and learning about different subcultures and how they just keep exploding and every year something new pops up.  Loving anime so much, it's always been my dream to have a “fantasy closet” and for EVERYBODY to have a fantasy closet.  Part of my inspiration for Riveting Gallantry was so that people could wake up and say, “You know what? I feel like a pirate today, so I'll wear this dress.”  Or, “I want to feel like a princess, I'll wear this skirt and this really cute top.”  Everything I love kind of gets jumbled together into this idea.   Is there a story behind the name “Riveting Gallantry”? When we first started [this line,] it was intended to be a steampunk line, and I didn't want to use anything really generic – anything that had to do with clockwork or something like that – the whole point of steampunk is it's literally an industrial, Victorian aesthetic.  I wanted to incorporate the hardware [aspect]. “Riveting” is a term used for striking type fashion, and it's also, obviously, rivets are metal pieces, or metal studs so I started with that.  As I started designing for the collection, my main inspiration was actually pirates, so I wanted to also incorporate that.  It's sort of the biggest sub-culture I have an appreciation for, which still follows along the Victorian line and aesthetic, so I chose “gallantry” which is a term referring to “beautiful ships.”  Well, “gallant” is the term.   Is there a particular piece from Riveting Gallantry that is your favorite? The Aldonza Dress is definitely my favorite, because it's a pretty pirate dress. rivetingpiratedress   Is there a particular piece from Riveting Gallantry that you would recommend for any Fans who might be curious about alternative clothing? Honestly, I don't think you could go wrong with the Wench Skirt.  It's a pretty standard silhouette for any type of fashion, really.  It's the most versatile, even outside of the Gothic aesthetic. rivetingpirateskirt   What advice would you give to someone who is interested in pursuing a career in fashion? My advice, which isn't necessarily specific for people in fashion.  It's for people you want to pursue something that isn't “the norm” and they feel that they don't have a lot of support.  [My advice] is to really think about how much you want it, and how bad you're willing to fight for it.  Fashion is by no means an easy thing to learn.  There are various sides.  On the one side, it requires you to be extremely creative ALL THE TIME.  It's really taxing and it gets really hard sometimes.  Or it requires you to be extremely perceptive.  You have fashion designers who are extremely creative, and they're the ones that create fashion, they create movements and sub-cultures.  Then you have, people who can say, “You know what, I know this is going to be hot, we can start this.”  Don't get me wrong, those people can make money, but you have to understand what it is you want to do to get it.     What advice would you give to someone who is curious about exploring different subcultures? For me, everything came from me looking at something and then searching for it.  All of the things I've come across, I've never found someone to tell them, “Oh, you're into this? That's cool! Tell me about it.”  So if you don't have that person that's going to explain it to you, and bring you into the fashion culture with them, then honestly you need to educate yourself.  Thank to the internet, there's a wealth of knowledge out there.  Every culture has its rules, taboos, and faux pas, so you really need to educate yourself.  When you decide to ease into [a subculture] or dive head first, make sure you're doing it the right way because once you affiliate yourself with that culture, you are representing them.  You don't want to misrepresent them.  If there's something that you really like, definitely have fun with it, but don't necessarily try to affiliate yourself with that group.  Don't let the culture stop you from doing what you want, but be respectful in the way you do it.  Facebook is sort of the bridge now to join all of these groups.  I'm still just getting into Steampunk, so I joined all these communities, and I frequently ask them, “Is this OK?” It's not that I'm asking for permission, but someone who's seasoned in the community, then can let me know, “Well, that's not usually something you would work, but maybe play with around with it a little and see what you can turn it into.”  You get plenty of advice.  All communities want to grow. Obviously no sub-culture wants to become “the masses” that's the whole point of being a sub-culture, but for the most part they're really welcoming.  Especially if you're really willing to do it right, they're more than happy to help you.     That's something that a lot of people don't realize, that it IS a culture. Yes!  It's one thing to buy a Lolita dress because you think it's pretty, but it's another thing to call yourself a Lolita.  It's something that I don't think should be taken too seriously, but you have to understand that for some people it's a lifestyle.  I wear Lolita – at least casual Lolita – on a fairly regular basis, and for people to come up to me and say, “Oh, why are you in this costume?”  It's pretty annoying.  Just because I don't dress like you means I'm in a costume?  This is an outfit.  But then, as somebody who is in a culture, you can always tell who is a first timer.  Instead of ostracizing them, you should take them aside and say, “Good effort, but let me give you some advice.”  Which is, again, why you should educate yourself first.  Especially because these type of sub-cultures are a lot of DIY.  That's another thing I wanted to do with Riveting Gallantry.  I wanted to create, not over-stylized pieces, but the basics, where you could modify them to fit into [the sub-culture.]  I don't want to pigeon-hole the line.   So, what's your favorite Heart of Haute dress? It's not really my aesthetic, but I like the Beverly Dress.  The Hillary Dress in the Chambray Anchor is my favorite, because of the colors.  There's something about this print that just fits more with my lifestyle. dinahhillarychamanch   Do you think there are styles that Heart of Haute offers that could potentially be used for other sub-cultures? I use the Beverly [Dress] a lot for Lolita, but I've cut it a little shorter for my style.  The Twirl Skirt is sort of a basic, especially since we offer it in so many prints.  I would use a Twirl Skirt for some of my Lolita outfits.  The Monte Carlo Dress, I think, is a really versatile dress.  There are a lot of possibilities with that dress. lizahb2

Twirl Skirt in Black Mystique (left,) Monte Carlo Dress in Red

  While I may not have ventured as far into the world of subcultures, I do love pretty dresses (and skirts!) and I'm excited to see what's to come from Liza and Riveting Gallantry in the future.  In the meantime, you can check out the line on our website.   With Love & No Regrets, Katrina Marie    

The Angelica Collection

With September not too far off, we'll soon be saying “So long!” to Sweet Summer.  Warm nights will turn into crisp evenings as Autumn makes its way in.  To ease the transition into the next season, add a bit of fashion heaven to your wardrobe with our Angelica Collection.   Summer doesn't officially end until the Autumnal Equinox on September 22nd, so there's still plenty of time to take advantage of “bare shoulder weather.”  The Sweetie Dress, in Angelica Purple (top) and Angelica Pink (bottom) is perfect for enjoying the still warm evenings at the end of summer.  Show of your tanned shoulders with this halter dress which has princess seams and ties in the back for a great fit. LinaSweetiePurpleAngelicalinaSDpinkAngelica     Though our Sweetie Dress is one of our best-selling styles.  Don't worry, we have other styles to choose from!  The Hillary Dress in Angelica Pink also has princess seams and ties in the back.  This dress also has an empire waist (for an even better fit) and a bow tie at the collar for a finishing touch (I don't know about you, but I LOVE bows!) LinaHillaryPinkAngelica   Not a fan of an empire waist?  Or maybe you're looking for a more simple silhouette?  The Monique Dress in Angelica Turquoise might be more to your liking.  This dress has a bateau neckline with an A-line skirt – simple, but equally as flattering.  It even comes with a matching belt! LinaMoniqueBlueAngelica     Once the summer heat starts to fade, the cooler air might have you wanting a bit more coverage.  Pairing these dresses with a cute cardigan usually does the trick, or you might opt for a style that will cover your shoulders.  The Beverly Dress in Angelica Purple has those same features for a great fit – princess seams, ties in the back, and an empire waist – all in one fantastic dress (with sleeves!)  Another one of our best-sellers, this dress also has a rounded collar with a cute self tie. linabeverlypurpleangelica     Want even more coverage? Then the Mallory Dress in Angelica Turquoise is the dress for you. This dress has a full skirt, empire waist, and ties to cinch in the middle. Its overlapping V-neckline is also great for Haute Honeys with a more voluptuous figure. It even has cute little bows at the sleeves for an added detail (more bows!) linamalloryblueangelica   My favorite part about this line, is that the fabric itself has a subtle metallic detail that shimmers in the light.  Whether it reflects the sunlight during summer when the days are longer, or glows under the moonlight in the crisp fall air, the Angelica Collection will have you looking heavenly.     With Love & No Regrets, Katrina Marie

The New Heart of Haute Fashion Catalog for 2014, version 1

It is complete. The thing I work the hardest and longest hours on. One of the most important pieces of media we create over here at Heart of Haute. It's like "The Book" in the movie, The Devil Wears Prada

Luckily I'm much happier than Merril Streep's character and I don't really drink coffee a certain way and I am very kind to my assistants. In fact, I find myself assisting them more often....What? You haven't seen that movie? I swear it's not a chick flick. It's really good.

Anyway- what am I talking about? OH YES!  It's our Bi-Annual catalog. Yes, I make this catalog for our wholesale customers (those are customers who purchase our garments in bulk to resell in their shops), but I also make it available for everyone to view. Why? Well, honestly after all that hard work I put into it- and this time I shot and edited about 40% of the images myself- I want to TELL EVERYONE ABOUT IT!!! Yes, I am proud and usually exhausted when this project is complete.  The great thing about working on this catalog is that each one gets better and evolves from the one before it.  I am always learning new things about editing and photography when I make this thing.  I dread the 3-4 weeks I spend working on this book, but I also look forward to the challenges it brings. The headaches and heartaches, but in the end, the finished product is well worth it.

I share it with everyone because we group our products in fabric families so you can see the line as a whole rather than figuring out what prints the Beverly does or doesn't come in. You also get a sneak peak at what will be available in the coming months....so you know how to plan out your wardrobe for next Spring of course!!!

With Love & No Regrets!

Mandie Bee

The Buzz About Mandie Bee and Heart of Haute

Heart of Haute owner and designer Amanda has long had the nickname Mandie Bee. The origins of this name are simple, she says "Mandie Bee is just a play on my real name,  Amanda Becker.  Mandie  B(ee)." In addition to the Heart of Haute retro pin up style classics, Amanda also designs the Mandie Bee line. She says that her goal with the Mandie Bee collection was to have "a section for all my designs that didn't quite fit in Heart of Haute. I was racking my brain for weeks trying to think up the right name, but then I thought, since this was a reflection of my own creative ideas, I would just name it after myself.  I think the sound of the name is symbolic of something youthful and fun. "

The Mandie Bee Collection from Heart of Haute

 

 

The  Mandie Bee line is different from the overall Heart of Haute line in that "Mandie Bee was meant to reach out to a different crowd with a younger vibe. It was also an avenue for me to make some mod girl styles." Aside from her nickname, why the love for bees? To Amanda,  "bees are the pollinators of the world!  Without bees, we wouldn't have flowers or fruits, which of course we know are lovely things in the natural world.  So, like bees, I can relay this same idea to fashion.  Myself and other fashion-forward thinking 'bees' out there are pollinating and inspiring the creative minds of others to keep our fashion world beautiful."

Bees make an appearance in the Mandie Bee line on the Ella top and Etta dress - both available in yellow or blue bee print. I love the blue bees print in particular accessorized with a pop of yellow. Try yellow shoes or a headband with our Gypsy Skirt in Yellow Mariposa - butterflies are also pollinators! Actual bees are essential to our world and much of the food that we eat. There has been a lot of recent news on their decline. This article offers easy ways that anyone can help the bee population. Buy some local honey (and maybe mix up a whiskey lemonade with honey) and leave those dandelions alone! 

Book a Pinup Photoshoot with Tara O!

Hello Heart of Haute Fans, This entry is dedicated to simply promote a super fun photo shoot session that I am hosting with my Pinup Photographer friend, Tara O.  We are currently booking ladies who may want to build up their portfolio, give the whole pinup girl thing a whirl, or just a good time while getting some killer pics- because photo shoots can be a lot of fun! Heart of Haute is rewarding those brave ladies who want to contribute to the pinup culture world with a $75 Gift Certificate!  Bookings and deposits should be arranged with Miss Tara O  (email: tara@taraophotos.com)  but you will receive your credit either in an e-mail or in person on the day of the shoot from me, Mandie Bee. Tara is bringing her trusted make up artist, Sabina Chowaniec.  I, myself, have done shoots with Tara for Heart of Haute as well as for personals and I pretty much insist that Sabina does my makeup. I think she's great. She's a great gal, too! In addition to Sabina, our long-time friend and seasoned Pinup model, Angie Alamilla, will be assisting with hair styling. Want to know what it's like to work with Tara? Check out the 'behind the scenes' video from Viva Las Vegas: https://vimeo.com/64684736   (I'm the silly, dancing girl). There will be a follow up to this blog which will include images of the locations at which we are shooting as well as props and other ideas. Gosh, I may even make a video about it.  Stay tuned! With Love & No Regrets, Mandie Bee        

Let's talk about Teer Wayde

Hello Heart of Haute Fans! Mandie Bee here. I've been busy buzzing around getting things done over here at HoH HQ this Spring. I've been meaning to post this blog entry for a while because I wanted to share my experience working with one of my favorite models! TeerMarleenblk During Viva Las Vegas,  my crew of lady friends (Katrina, Tara, and Sabina) and I were busy preparing for a quick photo shoot with the darling and dreamy Teer Wayde of Melbourne, Australia.  Teer has been a fan of Heart of Haute for years and we've been a fan of hers!   In her blog, Curves to Kill, she shares her favorite finds as well as  product reviews from various fashion lines. We are happy and honored to be among the brands she favors and reviews! vlvbts138_zps14167cddvlvbts132_zps3bf960ce While I was having my makeup done by Sabina (because I was also shooting that day), I had a ton of questions for Teer. So, I had a verbal interview with her as my eyelash glue was drying. It was kind of comical talking to her with one eye nearly glued shut, but I guess that's my way of doing things.  Casual, short, and sweet. I personally wanted to know about her and get her opinion on a few things as well.   So here are some fun facts about Teer:
  • She started her blog 3 years ago after numbers of people would e-mail her with questions about where she got her outfits for photo shoots. She thought it would be simpler and more effective to blog about the products she shoots in, that way the companies would receive recognition and her fans would get some great info, too!
  • She loves Heart of Haute for our fit and overall quality. She says she adores the Ella top because the buttons don't pucker over her bust. Yes! A button-up blouse for busty ladies? It's true.
  • Teer is also recognized as a plus size model and reminds us that beauty should never be associated with a dress size. She says she is definitely a promoter of healthy body image. Love your curves, girls!
  • Her advice to ladies of all sizes? Girl. Wear what you want. If you've got it, show it off and be proud of yourself.
Screen shot 2013-04-15 at 4.36.34 PM Screen shot 2013-04-15 at 4.36.59 PM(Photos by: TaraOPhotos.com  Phoenix, AZ - Makeup by: Sabina Chowaniec  Phoenix, AZ) Meeting Teer was a good thing and I'm so glad we had the opportunity.  Girls like her are truly inspirational. She is a sweetheart and a joy to be in the presence of- this girl is for real! Even though we spent about an hour working on the photo shoot, I can tell she is a genuine person that means what she says. Thank you, Teer!  I really appreciate you taking the time to come over for the shoot and talking with us.  My friends and I were fans before, and of course still are. It was just really cool to meet you! Screen shot 2013-04-15 at 5.20.09 PM   With Love & No Regrets, Mandie Bee    

Where the MAGIC happens

About a month ago, we made the epic 3-hour journey to Las Vegas, Nevada to show at the semi-annual MAGIC trade show.  Heart of Haute has been going twice a year for over 4 years. This particular trade show is one of the best known in the fashion world. Apparel companies of all styles and business size attend and show their collections. Out of a 10x10 space, Katrina and I sell to retail shops so they can make Heart of Haute dresses available to you in your local town!   We always-always-always encourage our customers to shop with our retailers. -3 If you step into any department store, you'll see a lot of well known brand names like: Levi Strauss, BCBG, and Betsey Johnson , even our beloved Hello Kitty.  Any retail store that carries multiple brands has a buyer to plan and stock the shop. All of these companies show at the MAGIC tradeshow.  Also in attendance?  Our friends at Fables, Queen of Heartz, Lux DeVille and Unique Vintage! In this Photo:  Lauren Shade, Barrie Kaufman, and Stephanie Castro -6 Here I am with pieces from my Spring collection for Mandie Bee.  I'm wearing the Ruby dress in the Blue Anchor print. My dress form has on the newly-popular Etta Dress in Yellow bees. -5 On another day, I wore the Marleen dress from Heart of Haute. Seriously- this dress is one of my favorite wiggle dresses. -1 On our last night, we had to make a stop at Frankie's Tiki room.  I know this is a regular stop for many Vegas visitors. If you haven't been there yet, you just gotta check it out! -4   With Love & No Regrets, Mandie Bee!      

Mandie Bee goes to the Zoo!

Hello Heart of Haute! It's Mandie here. I wanted to share with you a recent mini-getaway I took with my new beau, Kevin.  We went to the world famous San Diego Zoo! For us, San Diego is far enough away to feel like a vacation destination while staying within Southern California. After about 90 miles and some really silly conversation, we arrived at our destination. We parked it in Panda 3 and happily skipped off to check out the little buddies of the world.  I personally had not been to a zoo since I was a little one. Going back again as an adult is seemingly way more fun. I also found myself being more appreciative of the things that exist in this world. The grounds at the zoo are very nice with winding paths that lead from one exhibit to the next. It's a little paradise. So what does Mandie Bee from Heart of Haute wear to the zoo? Well, I am a cat lover and I felt it would be entirely appropriate to wear my Tara Top in Leopard! I'm also wearing my all time favorite Ultra Lux cat eye sunglasses from Tres Noir.  I really can't leave home without them. We carry quite a few of them in our webstore, too. Here's just a quick photo diary of some of the animals (and flowers) we visited.... Fantastic Flamingos! Jungle Book anyone?  Ooo bee doo! I wanna be like you-oo-oo  Spectacular Snake Skeleton Fascinating Orchid green house.... Stay tuned for my next adventure as I review and sincerely compliment the Pearl Hotel in San Diego. We spend our evening at this splendid destination  after our excursion at the zoo and have nothing but sweet things to say! With Love & No Regrets, Mandie Bee!    

Heart of Haute Loves Lil' Lou Lou!

You may have heard the saying, “accessories make the outfit,” and even though my own closet is slightly lacking in accessories, I have to agree. A beautiful dress without accessories is still beautiful, but add the finishing touches of a few accessories, and you my friend, have yourself a look to call your own!   If you browse a little in the “Accessories” section on our own website, you'll notice the cute bows and headbands by Lil' Lou Lou. The Lil' Lou Lou products that we offer are made exclusively for Heartbreaker Fashion, but this small company based in Riverside, California offers a range of accessories that will have you turning heads when you wear them on your own head. Not only that, but Lil' Lou Lou also offers a small line of vintage-inspired children's clothing to help send your little Susie or Johnny down the rocking rockabilly road early (can we say “mini-rockabilly?”) Not only do I have the pleasure of working with the designer and owner, Lily Dueñas, here at Heart of Haute Headquarters, but I also got a chance to find out more about the rockabilly scene from her point of view, and the story behind Lil' Lou Lou.

The Lil' Lou Lou 4 in 1 Headband, in Darla Pink exclusively for Heart of Haute.

  When did you start Lil' Lou Lou? I started back when I was still attending CalPoly [Pomona] and that was in 2007.   What made you decide to start your own company? It was kind of by accident, really. My friend from the fashion department [at school] saw that I was struggling a little bit, because at that time I was working in retail, and my paychecks weren't the greatest. She told me that she would make things, and sell them at different art walks, rockabilly shows, and so on. She suggested I make my own things to help pay for my textbooks and bills, so that's how I started making different things and selling them at different shows. I would always tell my customers, “Thank you so much for buying this, because not only are you helping me [with my company,] but you're also helping me buy my textbooks so I can pass my classes!”   Why did you choose to do accessories and children's clothing? I chose accessories because I would go to rockabilly shows, and I always kind of saw the same things. I never really saw something that I – not that I couldn't wear myself, but for example, bandanas. I would buy bandanas, but it takes that extra step to iron it, and fold it, and iron it some more. I just thought, “What would work for me, and work faster?” Especially when I was running late but still wanted to look cute! I just came up with things that I would wear, but would also be easy for someone else that was in the same shoes I was in. The children's line – I've always wanted to do something like that, especially because I would see my nieces and nephews and I just thought they were so darn cute! I just thought maybe it would be a good idea to come up with some vintage inspired clothes so I could dress them.   So they like wearing your clothes? My nephew LOVES the button up shirt that I have [in my line.] He doesn't fit in it anymore, but because he knows Auntie made it, it's his favorite shirt. I need to hurry up and come up with something new, because it does NOT fit him anymore, but he doesn't want to get rid of it!

Lily's nephew wearing the Josh Button Up Shirt

  Is there a story behind why you named your company Lil' Lou Lou? Yes, it's a combination of all my nicknames: Lil, Lils, Little Lily. My cousin's kid couldn't really say my name, so he started calling me “Lou Lou.” I combined all of my nicknames together, and that's how I came up with “Lil' Lou Lou.”   Have you ever heard of “Little Lou Lou” the cartoon? Yes, and you know people always ask me, “Oh, Little Lou Lou like the cartoon?” and I say, “No, as in ALL my nicknames.” Yeah, I get that a lot.   Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs? Well, it just kind of comes to me – no I'm just kidding! Fabric, if I see something at the fabric store. If I see a certain color it might spark an idea. I could be driving down the street and something could just. . . it's anything really. I don't ever really sit in front of the computer and Google “vintage stuff.”   What was your first product and what inspired that? It was the 4-in-1 headband. The fact that I did not have enough time to keep folding and ironing my bandana so it would be small enough for my head (laughs) because I have such thin hair, so I felt like the bandana was too bulky in the back! For other girls it would look really nice because they had nice, full hair, but for me I felt like it just didn't look as flattering, like “Darn, I need to do something!”

Instructions for the Lil' Lou Lou 4 in 1 Headband.

  What originally drew you to the “rockabilly scene,” and what is your favorite part about it? It was the clothes, the fashion. I LOVE the way women used to dress back then. I feel like it was classier – not that people aren't classy now, but there was some kind of magic or something, that when you're little you're just like, “Dang, that's awesome!” You know, like the princesses? You would see these ladies in fitted dresses, with full skirts. I just loved it. My favorite part is when I get to go to shows and see legends that are still performing. For example, I went to see Wanda Jackson, and I've seen her – I don't know how many times – but I never get tired of it because when else am I going to have the opportunity to say that I got a chance to see Wanda Jackson? I get to hear her stories, and how certain songs came about, or how she used to date Elvis. I think that's one of the best parts, for me at least.   What's your best kept hair and/or accessory styling secret? Bobby pins and a teasing comb are my best friends! I have really straight, fine hair, so when I'm running late I know that if have a couple bobby pins, I can tease it, do a quick pin curl, throw on a bandana and I'm ready to go. Those two have never failed me.   Is there any technique that you like to use specifically when you style your hair? I've always used sponge rollers. When I was little my mom would put the pink ones in my hair! I did try pin curling my hair, and I've been doing that lately. I use a sculpture pin curler.  Everybody's different, so once you get to know your hair, then you'll know what works for you. Try different things, and find out what works best for you.   Who is your style icon/inspiration? I get happy when I talk about Dita [von Teese] (laughs.) I LOVE Dita. She is just amazing! I was at another Wanda Jackson show, and I was wondering if Dita would be there, because I know she's a fan, too. She was! She was just there with everybody. There is something about her that makes you feel welcome. She's really down to earth, and I really like that about her. I got the chance to meet her at Viva [Las Vegas,] and I was so nervous! She was so nice. She was talking to me as if she'd known me from “way back when!” I obviously like the way she dresses and all that, but after I met her, that's when I realized she's really down to earth. That's what I like about her. She's being nobody else but herself, and I think that's a really positive message.

Lily and her boyfriend, Anthony, with Dita Von Teese.

    Do you have any advice for anyone that is considering starting their own business? Baby steps. Take baby steps. It's very important. I feel like sometimes you get desperate, or you want things to happen quickly, but it's better if you do things step by step. You learn along the way, and you learn from others instead of just jumping into something that might not last as long.   What are three things you want your customers to know about your company that they may not already know?   I'm proud to say that Lil' Lou Lou is manufactured in the USA. I don't think a lot of people know that. When I'm out selling, people think I just went to downtown [LA] and bought stuff to sell. I think it's really important for people to know these aren't just products that were imported from China. I made the patterns myself, and I also cut everything myself. I sew some products, but I also have contractors that I send out to.   My personal style is a mixture of different eras: 40s, 50s, and 60s. Lil' Lou Lou is also a blend of that, too. So even if it's a “die-hard 50s girl” she'll still able to wear something from the line, but even if it's a 40s girl, she'll be able to find something. It's just a mixture of all the things I like, and I'm pretty sure they like it, too!   My website's coming soon, and I'm really excited about that! That should be some time this Spring or Summer, so they should look out for that.     You can grab your own Lil' Lou Lou Heart of Haute Fashion exclusive accessories on our retail site.  For more information, or to check out the rest of her line, visit Lil' Lou Lou on Facebook!     With Love & No Regrets, Katrina