When Miss Lucy Fleur and I met for this interview, she was clad in a red plaid dress layered over a long-sleeve white shirt, and accessorized the outfit with statement kewpie doll earrings, a black fuzzy hat, and an iridescent Dickies backpack. Each piece seemed like it was from a different outfit, yet she pulled them off with grace, which really shouldn't be a surprise, considering she is a stylist, runs a vintage store, and in her free time makes digital collages using Procreate and Photoshop.
Her eclectic creative palate-- that is, her capacity to masterfully select things (whether it be clothes for her vintage shop, pieces for her own outfits, or photos/various other ephemera for her collages), combine them harmoniously, and present them in a way that does justice to each respective part --surprisingly can be a double-edged sword; initially aiming to do drag full time, she found the drag scene in her native San Francisco to be too restrictive. She also finds it difficult to cater to what's trending in the vintage clothing market because of her unique personal taste; in fact, maintaining any consistency in her store at all proves to be a challenge because what she's attracted to changes so often.
But I was initially drawn to her store (and her) precisely for its variation. Her Instagram is kaleidoscopic, prismatic-- filled with unexpected color and light that refracts in different directions. Her store is an oasis from the Boho fad that has overtaken the vintage world, and the pieces are united by their boldness rather than their similarity.
How did you start your store, KitschWitchVintage?
I originally was just selling stuff on Depop unofficially. I worked at Buffalo Exchange for a little while, so I kinda got the idea of how to go about buying and selling things, and like, what to look for, that kind of stuff. When I came to LA, I had tons of friends who sold vintage full-time, and they taught me a lot. I learned from them and tried to open my own store that way. It's definitely something that's hard to do online. I wanna start doing markets and stuff in the new year because the online market is kind of scattered. I'll get like 3 orders a week and then I'll get nothing for like five. So it's a little inconsistent. Plus, with vintage stuff, people want to try it on and see what it looks like. The sizing is so inconsistent. People used to be like really small. I'll get like a large from the '60s and it looks like a small or a medium in contemporary sizes. It's unreal. I'll think I fit into it, but I have no idea what size I am honestly.
Anyway, it's fun! It started because I was basically running out of room in my closet, and greedy enough to want to keep buying things that I like. So I'll wear them and resell them. I enjoy curating and having them. Basically, I want to make it sustainable to keep shopping as much as I do. I try to earn back the money I spent.
How do you choose the pieces that go into your shop?
I try to be consistent with the type of things I buy. I came to that decision fairly recently, because before I was just buying whatever I liked. That meant that I was buying pieces that were really contemporary or super free-people-y, and some that were really mod. So I try to keep it consistent now. I look for stuff that's like rainbow, neon...usually vintage Hawaiian stuff from the '60s. I don't know why I gravitate towards it. It's not like Hawaiian print, but all these bright, colorful prints are vintage Hawaiian wear. I've been trying to keep it more consistently vibrant and like 60s/70s stuff. Sometimes I venture out of that if it's a really special piece. Keeping consistent is hard because I like wearing different kinds of things.
I've noticed people in the vintage community like boho style stuff. I don't personally find it interesting, so I've been wondering if I should incorporate that stuff more. That stuff is like the Brandy Melville of the '60s to me. I'm considering that, but I have more eclectic taste, so we'll see.
How would you describe your personal style?
Usually, it's sort of vibrant vintage stuff from the '60s. Some '70s stuff trickles in, like early '70s. I'm inspired by a lot of people. I really love my friend Marina's style. She's kind of like 2000s does the '60s. I'm a little more vintage I guess. I used to be really inspired by Edie Sedgewick. I had a huge Edie Sedgewick phase. I really like mod and psychedelia from the late 60s. Coincidentally, without my intention, I guess it would be psychedelic Hawaiian! I gravitate towards something, and then I read the tag, and I'm like "It's fucking Hawaiian wear again." Why does this keep happening? Also why don't people where that stuff in Hawaii now? I don't understand.
I just like to make people happy. Even if people don't want to wear what I'm wearing, usually if it's colorful and fun, they can at least appreciate it and enjoy it. And then if they do want to do it themselves, that's awesome! I hope I can encourage that. It's definitely more challenging and takes more time and energy to put together an outfit with color and prints and things because you have to create harmony out of disorder when you're doing that. Some people just don't want to waste their time and don't care. Part of the aim of the store is to give people ideas of how they can wear that stuff so they don't have to do it themselves. At least in San Francisco, everyone dresses really boring because they don't have the time or the energy to spend on dealing with that shit. It's just not a priority. That's what I learned from living there at least.
How long did you live there for?
I was born in San Francisco, and I grew up in Marin County and then I went to Berkeley. And then I was in San Francisco for two years, but I didn't really like it. I always wanted to live [in LA]. So I moved.
What do you love about LA?
There's a lot of creative people here. A lot of entrepreneurial people here doing their own thing and creating their own business, which I find inspiring and liberating, in a way. In San Francisco, everyone was working for a tech company or a bank... you know, going to an office job. Which I enjoyed, but it's kind of refreshing to see people doing a bunch of different things. I think because LA is slightly less expensive, it's a little easier to do a bunch of different things than just work for a big tech company and earn a lot of money. So that's a big change. Also the weather is better. I like the people down here. Everyone is really friendly and interesting. The only thing you run into is that people really don't want to be disliked, so they'll be friendly but maybe won't follow up on their plans. People are kind of flaky and fake but it's just because they don't want to be disliked. It's not like they're trying to be assholes. You got limited time in this life, you know.
Can you explain the significance of the name Lucy Fleur and how you came up with that?
I've always really liked the name Lucy so I wanted to include that. There was a few reasons why I wanted to work with the name. People used to tell me I reminded them of Lucille Ball when I used to do drag, so there was that. My mom's best friend growing up was named Lucy, and she had mental health issues, so I connected with that. And also just the double entendre with it being another word for acid, having done quite a bit of that and having a connection with it. I original wanted to do Lucy Fur, so it would really sound like Lucifer, but that name was taken and it sounded a little bit too 70s porno to me. So I decided to do Fleur because I'm really into fake flowers and my last name is French, so I wanted to keep the French influence. That's the short version of why I did that. It's fun. I love naming things. I'm good at coming up with nicknames. All these drag queens have pun names, so I had to come up with something that was like a double entendre. When I started out, I wanted to do drag as my full time thing.
How did you get involved with the drag community?
I had friends in San Francisco who were a part of the experimental art drag scene. A good friend from high school ran all the shows, so I was inspired by them and started doing it. But San Francisco is kind of an insular community. Either you're part of that art scene drag scene, or you're a gay man and you're part of the gay man scene. It wasn't the most welcoming environment, so I kind of backed away from it and started doing my own thing. But there are good people out there who are very talented, so it was my experience I guess.
Do you also work as a stylist?
Sometimes, when people ask. I don't really call myself a stylist. I have a friend who's a professional stylist, she has like a lot of hustle, and I don't really have all that energy. But I do it sometimes, mostly just helping out and not taking charge of it. It's fun, I mean I enjoy it.
What's your favorite shoot you've worked on?
I do most of the styling for the shoots for my store. Those are always really fun, mostly because I'm just working with friends. It really fun to play with the sets I have in my room and have a lot of flexibility with it. That low key environment is always really fun. I kind of want to do a themed photo shoot that's not just themed for my store.
What theme would you go for?
I don't know. My friend Orchid works with Parker Day. It would be so fun to work on a Parker set sometime.
What would be your dream job?
I'm still trying to figure that out. I'm still building myself from the ground up. I think this is why young people run into the difficulty of figuring out what to do with their lives, because you don't fully understand yourself yet, let alone what you want or need, and when you're young you haven't really been taught to think about what's right for you. I think a lot of people who struggle with mental illness don't really know how to behave and act in ways that are right for them. I'm still trying to understand that, and I'm hoping once I get a hold on that, I will have a better understanding of what I want to do career wise. But right now, I'm just kind of doing a Ouji board thing and hoping I land on something that sounds right. The most talented, creative, driven people I know do ten different things. It's not like they do one thing in their careers.
What's your favorite outfit?
I don't know if I have a favorite outfit. I have a collection of stuff that I keep on display in a rack in my room, and they each have their own appeal to me. I definitely have a favorite dress, but not an outfit necessarily. That's a good question though, like, what would my ghost outfit be?
What's your favorite dress?
It's like this green and rainbow Hawaiian print dress from the '60s. It's got a fitted bodice and princess sleeves and an A-line cut. Most of these types of dresses were maxi dresses or mumus and I hack them off into mini dresses. Why were they wearing maxi dresses in Hawaii anyway? The best thing is I found another dress with the same fabric that's long-sleeved. I love when I find the same fabrics that are vintage. A lot of the things I find are handmade. People were making their own clothes more often back then.
What work are you most proud of?
I'm proud of myself for graduating school and moving down here, but like work-wise, I'm pretty satisfied with the collages I've been doing lately. They're really therapeutic and really fun, and I think I've gotten better, which is all that's important to me. I guess I'm pretty proud of my room. It's an installation basically. I really wanna do an actual installation in like a gallery or something. I just need to orient myself around an idea. My friend Linda did this Love Motel installation last year, and I would want to do something like that.
What does your room look like?
Recently, I added this sheer, iridescent rainbow fabric, like tent-style to the ceiling. It gives it this nice, cozy feel. My apartment itself doesn't get a lot of natural light. It was not cute when I moved in. The walls were painted like a dark gray. So I had to repaint the entire thing when I moved in. It's definitely cuter at night, because I don't get a lot of natural light. I actually just made a listing for it on this site where you can rent out places for photoshoots and stuff, and I described it as a rainbow, psychedelic tiki room, because there's all these fake palm trees and fake flowers. It's super fun. I can't take care of plants for shit. That's the best way I can describe it. It's very overwhelming for people when they first go in.
Images used in collage via @misslucyfleur