I am delighted to present to you all an exclusive interview with the wonderful Bianca Turetsky, author of the Time Traveling Fashionista Series. The series follows a girl named Louise who travels to the year 1912 on board the glamorous and perilous Titanic.
Read on to find out what this author come Vintage Fashionista has to tell us.
How would you describe your fashion style?
My style is a mix of vintage and modern. I never like to wear head to toe anything. I think it’s so much more fun to wear something old and something contemporary to create a unique look.
Have you always had an interest in fashion? And why vintage fashion in particular?
I have. I grew up in a small suburban town, so fashion magazines were a nice escape for me. I got to experience this glamorous other world in my imagination. I didn’t have a lot of money to buy designer clothes though, so shopping at thrift stores was a way to dress up without spending a lot of money.
What are you planning to add to your wardrobe for spring?
Ooh I have such a long wish list! I just bought two great spring dresses from a vintage store by my house. I feel like you can never have enough dresses (although my mother may argue with that as I still use my childhood closet as storage for what I can’t fit in my Brooklyn apartment.)
Who is your style icon and why?
There are a lot of Old-Hollywood actresses whose style I love, like Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor (who actually makes a cameo in The Time-Traveling Fashionista and Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile!). Alexa Chung always looks amazing, and she’s not afraid to take risks with her clothes. She also incorporates a lot of vintage and thrift store pieces with high fashion, which of course I love. A lot of actresses today hire stylists and play it so safe that even though they look beautiful it gets boring.
What was your best vintage find?
When I was in Spain writing The Time-Traveling Fashionista at the Palace of Marie Antoinette, I went to this amazing vintage store and found a gorgeous long white tiered dress with handmade lace trim that looked like something Dolce and Gabbana made for last spring’s collection. The dress probably dates back to around 1910- just the period I wrote about in my first book. The fabric is so delicate that I’m afraid to wear it out of my apartment, but I love it.
Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always written stories since I was little, and in college I was an English major. I didn’t know I wanted to write young adult books though until I came up with the idea for my series. Once that happened I finally felt like I found my writing voice, and I haven’t looked back!
Where did you get your inspiration for writing The Time-Traveling Fashionista?
The idea came to me after visiting this amazing vintage shop in Connecticut called Fashionista Vintage and Variety. It’s owned by these two fabulous women, Todd and Nancy, who know everything and anything about vintage clothing. I tried on this pink party dress that belonged to a Mrs. Baxter from Newport Rhode Island, and I couldn’t help but wonder what her life was like, what the last gala or fancy event was that she wore this to. Was she in love? Was she happy? And how in a way, her memory was being preserved through this garment.
Louise definitely reminds me of myself at 12. Like Louise, I grew up an only child, with frizzy hair, braces, and an overactive imagination in a suburban Connecticut town. I was also always dressing a little differently than my classmates, and most of my clothes came from thrift stores. But Louise has far more exciting adventures than I did!
What advice would you give to any budding writers?
It sounds so boring, but read as much as you can. Most writers also are voracious readers, so if you already love to read that’s a good sign. I read every type of book I could get my hands on, fiction, biographies, mysteries, poetry …
I also recommend keeping a journal or a blog. It’s good practice to be writing every day, and for my books, sometimes when I couldn’t remember exactly how it felt to be 12, I would look in my old journals and it all came back to me like it was yesterday. So it ended up being a useful research tool for me too.
Do you have any top tips for Vintage Shopping?
If you are just starting to collect vintage, then you should get the shop owner involved. Most people who own vintage stores are connoisseurs themselves and love to share their knowledge. They often have a great eye and can pick out something you may not notice. A good tailor can alter almost anything, so if the piece has good structure and fabric but is a little too long or ripped then it’s worth getting anyway. They can restore it to its original quality. And my last tip is to come visit New York City- we have so many great vintage stores here!!
What fashion eras would you like to write about in your future books?
SO many! The 20’s, 50’s 70’s… Even the 80’s! Every decade has it’s own distinct style and flavor and I’d love to explore all of them.
What is your take on Living Paintings and the hashtag FashionTimeCapsule project?
I think it’s such a fabulous organization, and I am happy to be a part of it in any way! I’ve been really interested in doing an audio version of The Time-Traveling Fashionista, and I hope that happens soon. And I LOVE the idea of a fashion time capsule and have been trying to decide what I would put in mine. I think it would have to be a very big capsule, I don’t want to leave anything out.
If you could travel back in time, which era would you like to visit and why?
Choosing one is hard, there’s so many I’d love to visit! The roaring 20s seemed fabulous with the bedazzled Flapper dresses, and t-strap tap shoes. The Great Gatsby is one of my all time favourite books, so I’ve always been a bit obsessed with that period of Jazz Age glamour. I can’t wait for the movie to come out this spring, I’m sure the costumes will be amazing!
Finally, if you were blindfolded and taken into a Vintage Shop how do you think you would use your other senses in order to pick out fashion items?
Fashion is so much about texture and the quality of the materials. I have a hard time shopping online because I think it’s really important to feel the clothing before you buy it. People miss out on a great part of the experience by shopping from their computer screens. Also your sense of smell is really important when shopping for vintage! Unfortunately a lot of vintage clothing has that grandmother’s attic smell, and I know some people say you can fix that, but I’ve had a hard time getting the musty smell out of some of my older pieces because they’re so delicate.
You can purchase the first book of the series by clicking here.
Visit Bianca’s website here.