Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Kira Hesser is not afraid of theme-dressing. When we met at Pasadena's old school soda fountain joint Fair Oaks Pharmacy (the girl has a well-documented sweet tooth), the actor/writer/filmmaker/voiceover artist was perfectly coordinated to the whimsical, Coca-Cola red interior of the place—though she swears it wasn't on purpose. As seen in her work, which includes a hosting gig for PBS series Island Without Cars, this gal is far from shy. The same goes for her fearless wardrobe selections which brilliantly mix over-the-top retro pieces with contemporary indie brands.
We asked this effervescent lady about her eye-catching ensemble (a pink furry coat in nearly 90 degree temps!), what's currently on her fashion wish list, and more.
Tell us about your outfit:
I like to tell stories with my clothing. Life feels more thrilling when I get to play a role with my clothing or dress in a cinematic fashion that evokes a mood, a place in time, or a character. I love novelty prints, bright colors, and interesting shapes: skirts that twirl like I'm in a ballroom and an Earl of Something is twirling his mustache over yonder, fabrics that could easily pass for upholstery, a hemline that a 1960s dad would ground me for, etc.
The Hands of Humanity top is from the My Little Belleville shop on Etsy. The skirt is a vintage red suede jewel from Coast to Coast Vintage, a Los Angeles boyfriend/girlfriend duo who sets up shop in their 1970s camper at markets all over LA. The boots are designer of my dreams, Samantha Pleet, purchased from the beautifully-curated Bona Drag. The ridiculous cotton candy faux fur dream coat is Toujours Toi Family Affairs, whose clothing is romantic, feminine, and gorgeous but the website also features wonderful little travel stories for each item, which for me really sweeten the deal. My bracelet is from Dream Collective and my necklace is the constantly-complimented open feather snake choker from Alkemie, an LA-based husband-wife duo who use all recycled metals to make the most perfect, edgy, rad jewelry. The bag is Claire Vivier, which both holds and goes with everything. It's probably the nicest thing I own.
Describe your style in three words:
Whimsical, nostalgic, colorful.
I once quit a job within 2 days because the uniform was khakis, a button-down white Oxford shirt, and a tie whose color "we could choose" ... I just couldn't bear the thought of wearing that ugly outfit every single day. When I dress joyfully, I feel joyful. When I am enchained in a uniform (read: almost every service job I've barely held over the past 10 years), I feel miserable.
What LA boutique is your happy place?
Yeah right like I can just name ONE!!
What fashion item are you obsessed with buying right now?
This summer I really jumped aboard the overalls ship: I got some stellar ones from Lykke Wullf that I wore to death (don't worry I immediately revived them) in Sweden last month.
However, it took exactly one trailer for a haunted-house period-piece coming out this autumn to catapult me into full-on Edwardian desire-mode. I am now looking to stuff my closet with hyper-romantic sweeping black gowns, lush velvets, and a non-obscene amount of ruffles. I've already got my eye on a 1930s stunner from Mixed Business....
What are you currently on the hunt for?
Always on the hunt for bright minidresses and comfortable, cool-as-hell boots. Also not sure if I'll be able to live without the Philtre skirt by the new line HKM.
Who's your style crush?
Gena Rowlands in any Cassavetes film, Nina Simone, Tavi Gevinson, and always and forever Linnea from the kid's book Linnea in Monet's Garden.
Stay up to date on Kira's many projects by visiting her website www.kirahesser.com or following her on Instagram or Twitter. Catch her travel series Islands Without Cars (which airs on LA's three PBS stations sporadically) buy selecting it to "series record" on your DVR.