Retro Betty Editor-in-Chief France Flathead caught up with Lindy Charm School for Girls Founder and Owner Chrissy Keepence, at the QT Hotel Pin-up Pool Party on the Gold Coast, about pin-up, vintage styling, swing dancing and body positivity.
Francie Flathead: Chrissy, tell me about the Pin-up Pool Party event.
Chrissy Keepence: Well this is one of my favourite hotels ever, and I do a lot of work with the QT [Hotel] so I thought why don’t we have a pinup pool party here, I pitched it to them last year and they said awesome, let’s do it in summer, and we just added a couple of event and invited a few people and everyone’s come, so that’s great.
FF: Why do you think events like this are important for women Chrissy?
CK: Because we get to wear fabulous clothes and we get to dress up, and when like-minded women come together and gents as well, we all come together we feel safe in this community of awesomeness. And I think the clothes really fir to flatter. So you’re not pressured into wearing a Brazilian bikini, and feel awkward about that. You can wear original vintage, or even reproduction vintage like I’ve got on today, and jus feel amazing.
FF: Can you explain your outfit to me today? I’m sure it’s got people wondering, it’s amazing.
CK: It’s a little bit of a Caribbean feeling, because it’s Calypso Sundays here, but this is Jack’s Daughter, she’s a beautiful lady from Melbourne who just makes all her own clothes from original fabrics and patterns, so this is her latest creation.
FF: You are also the owner and founder of the Lindy Charm School for Girls, tell me a little bit about that and why you started it.
CK: It was something that just grew, I grew into the Charm School and the Charm School grew into me. It started with a love of music and dance, and also, I never felt quite right in my own skin, trying to be someone else, trying to be too modern, trying to keep up with the current fashions. It just wasn’t working for me.
So once I found my world and my skin, I just tried to invest myself in that lifestyle and then I just started replicating and sharing what I do on me, and sharing it with the other girls, especially my dance students who want to look the part, so that was sort of how it started.
But over the last 20 years it’s grown to be so much more than just lipstick, powder and paint, it’s really about self worth, self respect and confidence, it’s really sort of body positive, about putting your best foot, best everything forward.
FF: What do you think it is about the 40s, 50s and 60s style that helps women improve their self worth and self esteem?
CK: Look I the look was timeless, and I think the outfits, they really did fit to flatter all body shapes, and I think what’s important about our scene and what I love so much about it, is that we embrace all shapes and sizes, all ages, it doesn’t discriminate against anything. And there’s no one right thing, and I love the fact that everybody is creatively different, and to me it’s art. I’m a creative person so I just think it’s amazing.
FF: I know some of the feedback we’ve had from our Retro Betty readers, who are interested in the vintage style but feel a bit intimidated by difficulty with hair and makeup, what would be your advice to someone who wanted to get started?
CK: Come to the Lindy Charm School for Girls Vintage Styling Workshop, Pin-up 101! (laughs) but seriously, it can be difficult, I thin today you have so many vintage tutorials, so many people showing you how to do it, but unless you have someone with you, actually working one-on-one and showing you the hidden tricks – there are some really simple ways to cheat these looks and that’s what we do at the Charm School. It doesn’t have to me really difficult, but I guess because it looks so amazing, it’s daunting. But you know, a lot of back-combing, good setting lotion, and twists and turns.
When I started, and it’s showing my ages just a little bit, there was no You Tube, we didn’t even have internet. I was dancing in nursing homes and talking to elderly ladies, and they were sharing with me their tips and tricks. Seriously, they made it look so easy, and after a while, all I can say to girls is that practice makes perfect. One pin curl at a time, don’t stress about it, relax your hands, come to a workshop and demystify it.