Sarah Sophie Flicker

The filmmaker and co-founder of The Citizens Band shares her vintage vision and psychedelic-meets-chorus girl style. By Hayley Elisabeth Kaufman, Photos by Kava Gorna

If you can't tell by now, we're completely smitten with Sarah Sophie Flicker's whimsical style. The always-fashionable Jane of all trades—whose extensive résumé boasts stints in both performance and film—has a knack for making vintage and ready-to-wear alike look easy au currant. Whether she's swinging from a trapeze, singing satirically about American politics, or playing dress-up with her daughter Arrow, Flicker injects her own pastiche of old-meets-new into each inspired ensemble. Taking a break from her numerous projects, the clotheshorse-cum-creative powerhouse spoke with us about raiding friend's closets, her former 'tween style, and the art of dressing sans rules. Believe us, we're taking notes.
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What five key pieces define your everyday style?
"I love tap pants, designer Alison Lewis gave me an amazing high-waisted pair that I wear a lot! Anything with old sequins, flapper dresses, and French lace bed jackets. A great pair of platforms—I love my Mayle leopard print ones."
Do you have any fundamental rules of dressing?
"Rules schmooles. Dress in what makes you feel confident, and unique."
What was your style like when you were 13?
"Geez, I'd have to say that it's pretty much the same! I've realized that I have things in my closet that have weathered almost two decades! I did go through a "harder" phase in the '90s. Jorjee Douglass (from The Citizens Band) called it Macy's Punk because we were such dorky wannabe's."
Who are your fashion icons?
"Ballerina Anna Pavlova and all the Ballet Russe dancers. Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group ladies, writer Anaïs Nin, '70s all-girl rock band the GTO's, legendary dancer Isadora Duncan, early screen siren Clara Bow, Liza Minnelli in Cabaret, legendary art muse Marchessa Casati, model and actress Anita Pallenberg, and Jane Birkin."
What is your favorite recent purchase?
"Well, we've been on the recession budget over here, so mostly vintage and recycling old forgotten gems from the back of my closet. But I did splurge at the Mayle grand finale sale in May. I got a pair of leopard platforms that I've been wearing a lot."
Whose closet would you most like to raid?
"My friend Annakim Violette who is an artist in L.A. Also Miss KK, my friend who is a stylist and an amazing designer. And then, of course, Lorraine Kirke, who is the owner of New York vintage store Geminola. She has the most impeccable taste. Her store, her studio, her closet, everything she touches is awe-inspiring."
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What helps to inspire the elaborate costumes of The Citizens Band? Is there anything new in the works costume-wise?
"Lorraine [Kirke] has done our costumes for the last few shows. I try not to stay too firmly rooted in any particular time period, and I think that helps with the magical realism element of the show."
If your style had a theme song, what would it be?
"At this point in my life getting dressed usually involves my daughter having lots of opinions about what I should wear. We do a lot of singing so I suppose The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, and Mary Poppins have been my themes!"
What was your latest, greatest vintage find?
"Karen Elson and I found an eBay auction where a woman was selling a lot of her performance-wear. We've all worn a lot of the pieces in our shows. The costumes are all really, really heavy with tons of sequins and rhinestones. I love the way old sequins and rhinestones look, sort of dusty and worn. It's one of my favorite things in the world!"
The Citizens Band's shows and message is very politically fueled. How do you costume your political themes?
"We walk a thin line between glamour, politics, and activism. I think the costumes are so important because they sprinkle fairy dust over the show and, hopefully, dull any dogmatic edges. We realize we are preaching to the choir, so it's important for the message to be inspiring and hopeful."
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What is your favorite city to go vintage shopping in and why?
"San Francisco and Portland. I used to love The Wasteland, but vintage just ain't what it used to be! It's gotten so darn expensive!"
Does your daughter have her own unique sense of style?
"She sure does! Up until a few weeks ago it was all about The Wizard of Oz. These days she is obsessed with a film that I loved as a little girl called The Children of Theater Street. So, now she wants to wear ballet clothes all the time. I have to admit that her dress-up collection is impressive. I've found a bunch of vintage tutus and tap dance costumes that she wears a lot, too."
Do you have any new projects in the works? Like upcoming Citizens Band productions or Belles of the Black Diamond Field Films projects?
"Yep! We are writing the new Citizens Band show now, and I'm really excited about it! Also, filmmaker Maximilla Lukacs and I just shot a music video for Nina Persson's band, A Camp, which we are editing now. We also have a surrealist psychedelic vampire film in the works for this summer!"The filmmaker and Citizens Band co-founder shares her vintage vision and psychedelic-meets-chorus girl style.
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