Though true vintage finds in thrift shops these days are rare, there was a time when cool authentic looks from the past could be had if you knew how to dig and maybe do a little mending or repurposing. In a small Georgia town south of Atlanta, Micheline Pitt would do just that growing up, putting together stylish looks that also complimented her punky dyed hair and untrendy aesthetic. “I have been making clothing for myself since I was in middle school, if not younger,” she says. “I grew up fairly poor in comparison to other kids. Getting new store-bought clothes was a rarity, toys were on sale or thrifted as well.”
Pitt’s love of horror (inspired by the grandfather she watched scary movies with as a kid) led to collecting nostalgic toys and eventually a career as a professional makeup artist. She worked for MAC Cosmetics, and moved to L.A. as a young adult hoping to break into film makeup work. She collaborated with a few well-known local fashion brands in L.A., guest designing under her namesake, until she decided to create Vixen, her own sexy and powerful, retro-style clothing line.
“When I met my now husband, and changed my friend circle, I had people behind me championing me to go off on my own,” she remembers. “I started Vixen, and its sister company [La Femme en Noir], with one of my closest friends, Lynh Haaga. Lynh and my husband are truly the ones to credit for my path.”
Vixen — which now has a showroom/store in Burbank — started pretty bare bones. She couldn’t afford a real photographer or models, so she became the face of the line. As the company grew she added more faces, body types and sizes. “One really great thing I love about our website is our customer reviews,” she says. “They can upload photos of themselves candidly in the clothing giving everyone inspiration for style, as well as someone to relate to. My goal is to empower anyone who puts on our clothing, no matter their identity or dress size.”
Empowerment is a big part of what she’s about. When she turned 30, repressed memories of sexual abuse plagued her, so she decided to free herself, telling her story on YouTube and raising money for RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). She now sits on the board of the organization.
Though focused on fashion, Pitt’s love of horror, makeup and effects still permeates her life. Vixen has several monster-minded prints and inspirations, including an adorable Creature from the Black Lagoon purse, referencing her most prized collectible — a Creature head made from the original mold from the film. (It’s currently on display at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles for their Natural History of Horror exhibition).
She’s been collecting since her days hunting in thrift stores, but her obsession has transcended fashion and decor. She just produced her first horror film with her husband RH Norman, Grummy, an autobiographical yarn about a little girl who uses her imagination to escape the trauma of real life. It’s a very personal project that represents the badass beauty in more ways than one, and as she states with sincerity, “It’s a story about how monsters saved my life.”