I don't really need to introduce today's guest, Richard Fifield, as he is perfectly capable of introducing himself. He not only does it here, but also in his debut novel, The Flood Girls (reviewed here). His personal introduction is a chapter in itself! As I was reading it, I sent him a message to say "You had me at V.C. Andrews."
I also need to point out that the 20th anniversary of the hit Broadway musical Rent was yesterday. I say this because if Richard's novel had taken place in 1996 (instead of 1991), I would have stepped into the story to personally take Jake Bailey (one of my favorite and most memorable book characters as of this past December) to see it on Broadway. Spare no expense! Jake would have loved it and I could imagine him identifying with Angel and wanting to design her wardrobe out of thrift store finds and lots of sequins.
All I can say for now is that The Flood Girls is a must-read. Thanks to Gallery Books, we have one copy for a lucky US reader!
Anyway, without further ado, here's Richard! (And if you can't get enough, find him at his website, Facebook, and Twitter.)
I am absolutely obsessed with fashion—you can ask the staff at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On a pilgrimage to NYC to see Yves Saint Laurent’s famous Mondrian Dress, I wailed and gnashed my teeth when they DARED to have a special exhibition. No Mondrian for me. Bad day for the gays. My tendency toward the dramatic has its root in fashion—I grew up in a small town in Montana, and I spent an obscene amount of time in our local thrift store, curating my own odd-ball collection that I would never dare to wear. I was a ten year old magpie—nothing shiny escaped me. My personal fashion evolution has more crying scenes than an episode of Six Feet Under. Goth, Grunge, Raver, Sloppy Junkie, Black On Black, Polyester Queen, Ironic Cowboy. I have known them all. Fashion informs everything I write—my agent suggested I create Pinterest boards for the characters of my debut novel, The Flood Girls. I am wary, because I am a recovering drug and alcohol addict. I fell into the rabbit hole of Pinterest on a dark day in November, and it was just like Requiem For A Dream, but not as skinny or greasy. I am still a curator—my closet is absolutely stuffed with purchases from thrift stores that I will never, ever wear, and could never wear, as I buy things that I will never, ever fit. I collect dress forms, have seen every episode of Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model multiple times, and can clock a knockoff from fifty yards away. I thank Chick Lit Central for the chance to answer these questions. Besides my own book (shameless self-promotion!), I recommend Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington and Model by Michael Gross.
To me, beauty is…
Camp, thrift, drag, vintage, an assemblage of pieces from the past, things that sane people would throw away. I like clothes that are singular, one of a kind. Even if they are hatefully unattractive.
Since The Flood Girls takes place in the early ‘90s, what is your favorite fashion trend from that time period?
Without a doubt, the rise of supermodels! Naomi, Kate, and Linda are the Holy Trinity, as far as I’m concerned. Call it blasphemy, but to a gay boy in the 1990s, these women were a higher power.
Which celebrity has the best style?
Tilda Swinton, Coco Rocha, Madonna, Iris Apfel, Manila Luzon, Chloe Sevigny, Lady Gaga, Lupita Nyong’o, Adore Delano. Michelle Obama is not a celebrity, but she makes me swoon.
I snatch up every rosary, cowboy shirt, fedora, bolo tie and boot cut jean I find in the thrift stores of Montana. This is an absolutely genius place for vintage fashion—I am completely serious. There’s a reason so many boutiques and stylists source from here.
What is your favorite movie that features fashion or beauty?
The September Issue, Rear Window, Black Swan, Iris (the documentary), Roman Holiday, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Bonnie And Clyde, Brokeback Mountain, Rosemary’s Baby, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Desperately Seeking Susan, Unzipped, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Paris Is Burning, The Royal Tenenbaums, All About Eve, Annie Hall, Atonement. I’ve watched this last season of American Horror Story and have absolutely no idea what is going on, as I am too busy drooling over Lady Gaga and the Art Deco set design.
What is your favorite thing about your appearance?
I like that I’m an effeminate gay man, but built like a linebacker. It makes fitting into clothes a chore, but people won’t dare mess with me when I’m wearing a citron-colored Chesterfield overcoat with a fake black fur collar.
Thanks to Richard for a lovely chat and to Gallery for sharing his book with our readers. For another chance to win, enter Confessions of a Bookaholic's giveaway. (Worldwide. Ends 2/1.)
~Introduction by Melissa Amster
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