Katie was introduced last year in a brief profile as part of our Mercy Shop Girl blogs, but now we’ve tumbled headfirst into her home and (packed to the gills) closet. We spent the afternoon doting on her dog, Bowie, drinking Pabst, eating cupcakes and taking photos in the soporific sunlight of the West Oakland Victorian she shares with her roommates. Katie just hit her 2 year mark with the Mercy sisterhood and she livens up the shop with her infectious laugh, penchant for patchwork and rhapsodic musical tastes. In commemoration of Katie’s time with us, we invite you to step into her 70s dreamland and bask in the glow of our doe-eyed lady.
What are some of your artistic influences?
My fancy casts a wide net in gathering inspiration. I’m attracted to the picturesque, to technicolor dream worlds viewed through a dusty lens. Right now, my heart beats for Henry Darger’s color palette, William Eggleston’s South, Millie Lammoreaux’s decorating sensibilities in Robert Altman’s 3 Women, Carly Simon’s album covers, and Alex Prager’s plasticine imagination of 1970s California suburbia.
What are your top five books?
Lists are always difficult for me! I have a particularly hard time assigning numerical value assessments to books, as it seems like such a cold judgment of something so rich, varied and, for me, personal. I’ve always been a reader, and much of my experience in the world can be contextualized by the books I was reading at the time. Having studied French literature in school, it just so happens that many of these are 19th and early 20th-century French novels. I found soul sisters in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Zola’s Nana. I was transported to otherworldly realms by Breton and Soupault’s surrealist prose poem, The Magnetic Fields. And Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past actually did change my life!
I also can’t neglect to mention my soft spot for the celebrity fluff that’s stoked my persistent nostalgia for eras in which I never had the chance to live. Pamela des Barres’ I’m With the Band, Jean Stein’s biography of Edie Sedgwick, Marianne Faithfull’s Faithfull, and Elvis and Me are particular favorites.
What do you collect other than killer clothes?
I’m fascinated by everything with an air of the past so this leaves a good deal of room for collections. Botanical illustrations, 1950s etiquette books, needlepoint pillows, lace appliqué handkerchiefs that are too pretty to even touch my face, and vintage magazines and comics (though these often quickly meet their death as I can’t resist turning them into collages).
Are you a “more is more” or “less is more” kinda lady?
I suppose for me it’s not so much a question of more or less as to how well a particular aesthetic is realized. I appreciate Iris Apfel for her explosive use of color and texture as much as I do Jane Birkin for her gloriously undone simplicity. For me, I find that I feel best in an unapologetically pretty dress with nothing more than wood-soled heels and silver hoops. I would characterize this as “less,” but some outside of our world of vintage fashion-philes might find my puffed sleeves and swishing skirts to be “more.”
Top 5 favorite records?
This is easier, but only slightly since I feel that the music I gravitate towards is more often reflective of a particular mood than a consistent taste. On regular rotation, though, is Heart’s Dreamboat Annie, Dolly Parton’s Jolene, Buffalo Springfield’s Last Time Around, the Easy Rider soundtrack and, of course, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.