Vintage Queen: Fran Henrickson

Portrait of Fran Henrickson. Image by Elizabeth J Photography.

Fran Henrickson knows a think or two about vintage and utilises her many skills in styling, costume design, hairdressing, makeup artistry and special effects to create colourful looks for many different projects. Recently, she used her talents to enter Miss Pinup New Zealand 2016, and was crowned the winner on stage on April 9th at The Very Vintage Day Out at Auckland’s Alexandra Park to thunderous applause from the crowd.

We chatted to Fran about her love of all things vintage, her personal style and her tips for those who want to embrace vintage style.

How did you first get involved in all things vintage and pinup and what attracted you to it?
The ‘pinup’ aesthetic really works for my body shape (big hips, little waist) but I’ve worn swing dresses and vintage clothes for as long as I remember! I’m from a big family and my single Mama had not a lot of money, but a whole lot of creativity, so we often opshopped for treasures, or made our own clothes and costumes from vintage curtains and bedsheets. I love things that have a backstory, so as I got older I found myself collecting garments that looked like they’d lead interesting lives, and the more I learned about style vs fashion, the more I incorporated these things into my wardrobe as I honed my own personal style into what it has become today!

How would you describe your personal style and how you represent yourself on your blog and social media?
As a teenager I bought into the slightly angsty all-black-everything vibe of the early 2000s, but as I got older and began to feel more comfortable with who I am my look didn’t really change – it just got a whole lot more colourful! These days, my wardrobe consists of huge amounts of colour and kitsch, with an overwhelming presence of novelty prints and tropicana, and a general don’t-give-a-f*** attitude towards the rules! I’m all about people being whoever it is that they want to be, and wearing what makes them feel the most empowered, and I think that approaching social media interactions with the same un-apologetic attitude that I apply to my wardrobe resonates well with my readers – I’m a little quirky, a bit brash, and pretty straight up – but I sure as hell practice what I preach, and I’m exactly the same person in public or at events as I am when I’m at home in my dressing gown on facebook, you know?

Congratulations on winning Miss Pinup New Zealand 2016, how did it feel to win the crown and what was the experience of being in the pageant like?
Thanks so much! I had so much fun in the lead up to the pageant, and getting to know the other girls was amazing! While it was pretty nerve-wracking going up on stage, there was a real camaraderie between us all backstage – helping with zips, fixing costumes, checking each others hair and makeup – which meant we were all rooting for each other throughout the competition, and it was all really supportive. It sounds like a big awful cliche, but winning really was the icing on the cake!

Fran at the moment she was announced as MPUNZ 2016 (left) and competing in the beachwear section of the pageant (right). Images by Norrie Montgomery.

Clearly you know a great deal about pin up style, what are your tips for people who want to embrace the pin up look?
Find things that work for you and make you feel amazing, because there’s no point in wearing something that might be technically ‘pinup perfect’ if you don’t feel confident enough to own it! And don’t feel that you have to have certain things, or shop at certain stores to be ‘pinup’! It can be super expensive to buy big name brands, so familiarise yourself with the shapes and styles that work best for your version of ‘pinup’ and keep an eye out for things at chain stores and opshops that fit the brief!  But, without question, my number one tip is to enjoy putting your look together – If you aren’t having fun, what’s the point?

Where do you get your inspiration from?
My style is hugely inspired by my amazing friends, who all have such a different take on style, and all absolutely own it! In fact, there are so many fabulous local ladies doing really cool stuff with fashion, as well as a multitude of international pinups and stylists showing off some pretty spectacular outfits on Instagram each day, so I will never be short of inspiration!

What are your top three places to shop for vintage clothes/shoes/accessories?
The most important thing for me in a store is the vibe, so I will always try to shop in small local stores where passionate people are selling things they love! My favourites are Rita Sue Clothing – killer reproduction vintage from all the big name brands, as well as some fab kiwi labels, and stacks of great bags and accessories – and Retro Addiction – spectacular vintage clothes, bags, gloves, and hats, as well as stellar knick-knacks, furniture and homewares – but I will always love a good rummage at an opshop, and my favourite for that is the New Lynn Hospice Shop!

Who are some pinups that you look up to and like to follow?
There are so many, but my favourites are always the boss-ladies doing rad things and making a living from their passions!
Cherry Dollface (who is just so real it kills me) Rockabilly Ruby, and Xanthia Pink to start with, and of course my gorgeous girl gang, who are a bunch of inspiring ladies that encourage me to challenge myself every day – Miss Charlotte Cake, Miss Lorelei Louise, Miss Rouge, Soda Fontaine, Miss Lily Kate and Miss Victory Violet.

Fran’s colourful style at her MPUNZ 2016 winner’s photoshoot at the Esplanade Hotel. Images by Elizabeth J Photography.

Vintage or not, what is your best piece of advice for women when it comes to looking and feeling their best?
Confidence is key, but there are always going to be things you don’t love about yourself – just don’t let them become your defining features! The more attention you pay to the areas that you are self-conscious about, the less you can own your look, so focus on how damn good your hair looks, or the killer smile you’re flashing, and that’ll be what people notice!

Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
It sounds silly, I know, but I had an accident a few years ago and as a result I have no sensation in one of my legs. This means that pants just feel way too weird to walk in, because I can feel them on one side but not the other!

Where do you see yourself heading from here and what’s next for you?
I’m actually in a really good place at the moment! My business is growing, I’m getting better at maintaining a healthy work/life balance, and I get to do what I love every day! My plan for the coming year though is to expand into a few more avenues that I haven’t had the resources to explore until now – I’m in the process of building a vintage-inspired ‘powder room’ and photo studio where I can hold regular beauty and styling workshops, for example – as well as partnering with a few of our really great local craftspeople on some exciting projects within our vintage-loving community, which is always heaps of fun!

Images by Norrie Montgomery and Elizabeth J Photography.