Sunday, October 26, 2014

Blogger (C)RUSH // An interview with Marie of Agent Lover

Photo © Robyn Von Swank

What is Agent Lover?
Agent Lover is an online slumber party destination for misfits and troublemakers. Watch out, it may make you horny.

How would you describe your own personal style?
I’ve always said my style was like “1960's satanic French schoolgirl with just a touch of baby hoodrat.” While that’s still pretty accurate, I feel like the schoolgirl ran away to join a hippie cult so she traded in some of her Peter Pan-collared dresses for bell sleeves, psychedelic prints, and head-to-toe lace. But I’ll never give up my chola goth leanings...

When did you start your blog Agent Lover and what was the main aim?
I officially launched it in 2008. I had the domain name since 2006, but it was more of a personal blog–a sort of extension of my Livejournal. I became inspired by a lot of the fashion bloggers that were coming out back then like Susie Bubble and the now-defunct Fops and Dandies, and wanted to have some sort of legit focus like that on mine, but my interest in fashion had more to do with its relation to film rather than runway (aside from Luella Bartley, Betsey Johnson, and Rossella Jardini.) I guess I am more of a costume designer groupie. Agent Lover was my place to do whatever I wanted. A part of that was the deconstruction of the fashion in my favorite movies. Basically it is a place where my cult movie tastes and style obsessions meet.  

What are some of your favourite pieces you cannot live without?
I will always love me some black knee socks and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of sexy suspender tights. I hope those never go away. Pretty Polly and Pamela Mann make my favorite. I love a good leather motorcycle jacket because it can bring an outfit to a whole new level. Look at John Waters’ Crybaby. All those girls are wearing polkadot dresses and pencil skirts. Throw on a leather jacket and it’s AUTOMATIC BAD GIRL. I collect novelty purses. Cat eye sunglasses are my signature. Finally, I like a shit tonne of rings. I’ve always been Liberace-slash-Walter Mercado status with them. Not too long ago, I saw a photo of me in high school and noticed I was wearing three rings on each finger. PADOW! I’ve cut down a bit but that’s definitely something I’ve always been into.

Where are your favourite places to shop and who are some of your favourite brands that you continue to revisit?
In my neighborhood in LA there are a ton of vintage stores and I found one of my favorite dresses (a pink ruffled mini) from this place called Vintage Vortex. Ironically, I tried staying away from the shops at first because it’s so dangerous for my wallet! But I end up lurking hard for vintage on Etsy anyway, haha. I’m not a big brand name person! One time, MANY YEARS AGO LET ME MAKE THAT CLEAR, I bought a fake LV bag out of the back of some Thousand Oaks soccer mom’s SUV. I can’t believe I’m telling this embarrassing story to the world. Anyway, soon after I realized how dumb that was. Around that same time (maybe that was my brand name whora majora era) I bought a pair of $300 Chanel sunglasses that became discolored for no reason. I was like, “Fuck this designer brand shit! Not even made well!” So that’s when I stopped caring so much about that kind of thing. The only designer I probably have in my closet currently is Betsey Johnson, but it’s a lot less now that her brick and mortar stores are gone. CRYFACE. Girl you know I miss that Betsey Johnson at the Camarillo Outlet!!!!! Honestly, makeup is more of an addiction. Makeup and vintage. Ooh, but I do love Lazy Oaf. They are fun. And I love what Rachel Antonoff, Vivetta, Deer Creatures, Samantha Pleet, and Romance Was Born does. I also would definitely not turn down an Olympia Le-Tan purse for my collection.

Who are some of your style icons?
Elvira, Jayne Mansfield, Mary Quant, Dolly Parton, Peg and Kelly Bundy, Wanda Woodward, the cholas that I went to school with in the seventh grade, Mona May, Miss Piggy, valley girls, Julie Brown, Selena Quintanilla, and my boyfriend (who has way more vintage than me.)

Where do you draw your influences and inspirations from?
My BFF Emi who runs Pygmy Hippo Shoppe has always been a great influence and inspiration to me in so many different ways, whether its style, creative endeavors, or feeding my brain with some wild ass knowledge. All of that. The staff at Rookie inspires me. My parents. I love knowing about people’s lives and all the adventures they’ve been on. That is always inspiring. I especially like people who love to talk. Someone once told me that they realized that about me, that I like….knowing about people. I was like, “oh this person is clocking me..BUT SHE RIGHT.” Maybe that’s why I love reading famous people’s autobiographies. Or maybe I’m just a big ol’ chismosa snoop. I’m on the Lena Dunham book now and have a Mary Quant bio next. Angelica Huston has one out soon and I also heard Marilyn Manson wrote a second one too. Okay, that was a weird tangent on celebrity biographies. Sorry!

The fashion and style of your site is very bright, bold and unique. It's kind of like a huge pop culture fashion beacon of sorts. What is it you love so much about fashion and style? And how do you decide what is worthy of Agent Lover?
I’m an extremist. I love wild, psychedelic farts of color and I love black. I said FARTS OF COLOR! (It’s 2AM.) I hate neutrals. I’d rather go nude. I love fashion because it’s the easiest way to express yourself. You can channel your favorite fictional character through an outfit or if you’ve had a certain tune on repeat, you can actually dress like that song. Does that make sense? I just think personal style is a really wonderful canvas for creativity. As long as its genuine, of course. I also love how you can make embarrassing mistakes in fashion and its forgivable later. Trends are so funny. Can you imagine if I was wearing my 40-inch wide-leg JNCO jeans from the year 2000 right now? Since they covered my whole foot, I looked like fucking Gumby in those things. Fuck, I wish Heelys existed back then. I’d just be gliding around looking like a technotronic raverwitch.

What are some of the key things to remember when putting together winning 'outfits' or looks?
I think it’s great to have a solid main piece that you feel super comfortable and hot in. Let’s say for example, the perfect, if I may use this mainstream fashion term–LBD– that fits your bod right and looks good with either a heel or a boot. From there you just build from it, adding accessories and what not. It’s really all about finding your signature wardrobe pieces. Then you can embellish. Even the right nail polish can make your look go next-level status. After a while you find out what works on you and what doesn’t. It takes time and it will definitely change over the years. I’m also really into breaking rules and being contradictory, and wearing whatever the fuck you want. We only live once, boo! Going with your gut when it comes to dressing–whatever feels right to you and makes you walk tall and not give a shit about what anybody else thinks–that’s how you get the winning look.

Has Agent Lover opened up new opportunities to you professionally and if yes, how so?
It definitely has! I started out as a blogger. Agent Lover was my sanctuary; a place where I could write whatever the hell I wanted to. It never got super big like some of the other bloggers which was always fine with me. I didn’t care about that shit. I guess I think of what I do as a particular taste for particular peeps...perhaps a sort of CULT CLASSIQUE. lols. From Agent Lover I started writing for Rookie, which I’ve been on staff at since their launch in 2011. That opened up so much for me, writing-wise, everything-wise. Even just being in constant cohorts with Tavi and that group of wildly talented women is super inspiring and motivating every single day. I’ve written for Beautylish, Refinery29, Hello Giggles, and The Hairpin, where I do a monthly period foods column called Bloodfeast. My dad is a chef, so being able to do something cooking related is a lot of fun. I’ll ask him for tips and stuff.
What are some of your favorite websites and blogs that you frequent?
My forever favorite is Uncle Tnuc. His love for everything 80s is the best thing in the world, especially during Halloween. Honestly, the blogging world has become kind of a bore in the past few years. Everyone and their grandpa is a fashion blogger these days. They all look the same! A lot of my old blog favorites are long gone, like White Lightning and Cat Party. I was excited when I found this one (non-fashion blogger) girl on Instagram whose blog I was obsessed with. At least you can see them on Instagram but it’s not the same you know? I always love seeing what Jasmin’s wearing and Mermaidens is a super cute blog.  I’m also really happy to see that The Coveted is back, and Thrift Eye is also a longtime favorite of mine. I definitely have been reading blogs again a lot more this year than in the past couple of years when there was the SHIFT (a lot of the old school bloggers leaving and new ones coming in.)

One of the great things about Agent Lover is that its not just about images, fashion and style but its also about attitude and girl love and downright cool stuff. You even write for Rookie now! (we salute you). How did you find your writing voice and what do you love about being able to share the world of Agent Lover with others?
I guess I have always written the same way that I talk and about whatever I wanted to! That’s what worked for me, and I’ve been lucky that people have connected with that. Thinking about all the humans I’ve met just through my little blog makes me super happy. It’s seriously the most amazing thing when you meet people who understand the way you think, or are into the same weird ass movie as you, or get your sense of humor. It’s like you feel less lonely in the world, you know? CORNY BUT TREW.

Photo © Robyn Von Swank

What can we expect from you and Agent Lover in the next twelve months?

I’m focusing a lot more on my blog now. I’ve missed it! It had definitely been neglected a big part of last year, but I’ve got some fun posts planned. I’m hoping to finally do a makeover on it also. I’ll still be doing plenty of things at Rookie, and you can keep tabs on my other work at There’s some other projects too, but I’m superstitious so I’ll save that for later!

Instagram : agentlover