Style

21 style questions with Pia Henriksen: Give me black jeans and heels and I am ready to conquer the world!

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Pia Henriksen in one of her fave jumpers, knitted by her mum. 

Pia Henriksen is a fashion historian who has studied the impact of clothes and style on our culture and published many commentaries as well as a case study on mipsters – Muslim girls who combine traditional head scarves with western dress. Growing up backstage in the theatre where her mother worked Pia was exposed to the boho-styles of actors and artists from an early age. At the age of 10 she was sent to summer school in Germany to study figure skating, and there she was exposed to the flamboyancy of glamorous performers, artists, and glitzy crossdressers from all over the world. These impressions at such an early age gave her a unique view into an exciting world of style and today she shares her love and knowledge with students at Oslo Met University as well as in her own studies and publications. Styletalk think it is only right we should ask her the 21 style questions.

ST: What was the first you did this morning?
Pia:
«I had coffee, had a shower, and got dressed, picking the first things I found. That was around 6.45 am.»

ST: Describe your home.
Pia:
«It is anything but minimalist. It is an old flat on the west side, high ceiling, and stuccos. Oriental rugs on the floors. And I have a bunch of crocheted bedspreads that I drape everywhere. All my furniture is old, handed down from my grandfather or my great grandmother. Some stuff I also picked from the skip where my dad works.  My sofa is an old bed inherited from one of my friend’s sons, it still has some stickers on it. The focal point of my sitting room is a candelabra that my great grandfather made for the old Akershus Castle in Oslo in 1912. He was a blacksmith. Then all my books are in stacks along the walls, there’s no bookshelves.»

ST: Where do you find inspiration for decorating?
Pia:
«Well if you check my budget – I have an app on my phone that tells you exactly how much I have spent on what and where – you will see under interior it says: zero. So obviously I hardly buy stuff. I totally disregard trends; they do not interest me in the slightest. If I see something I like I buy, there’s no magic.»

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One of Pia’s many fashion illustrations.

ST: How did you decide on today’s outfit?
Pia: «I knew it would be a busy day and that I’d meet with a lot of people. So, I felt like being dressed up but also relaxed. I took great care with my makeup and chose this jumper that my mum’s knitted and combined with a very comfortable pair of trousers.»

ST: Do you lay out what you are going to wear the night before?
Pia:
«Never. I used to when I was a kid, and my children do it. They organize it in detail. But I have no system, I do not even have a wardrobe, all my clothes are on a rack on wheels in my bedroom, and I just pick randomly.»

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The fashion expert’s closet.

ST: Who inspires your style?
Pia: «Random people in the streets. Sometimes, if I see someone who have an extraordinary look I take their picture without them knowing – call me a style stalker. But I am not mean, I never publish the pictures, just use them for my own archive for inspiration. Once I walked behind a woman with a huge blonde har, pink fur coat and a zebra print shopping trolley and I had to take her picture. Then ironically – I turned the cam around onto myself and saw leopard print bag and red fur coat. Small wonder I loved that woman’s style.»

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ST: Have you ever complimented a stranger for their style?
Pia:
«Yes. If I see someone whom I think looks fabulously well put together, I tell them. In the US people do that all the time, I think it is nice. So, I try to do this when I see someone who is taken pride in their styling. It’s just nice, it’s good to compliment others.»

ST: Is there a new trend you would not ever consider trying?
Pia:
«Not sure how new it is but I would not ever wear Buffalo shoes again,. I had them the first time around, that’s enough.»

ST: Tell us your most cringeworthy style moment ever.
Pia:
«That’s hard because I tend to look back with fondness, even at the funniest things. Maybe dying hair black with red highlights was not the most becoming. Or wearing my granny’s wool underpants on top of my tights and topping it off with a leather jacket and my Dr. Martens was a bit weird, but at the time it kicked ass.»

ST:  Skirt, dress or jeans?
Pia:
«Jeans, definately.»

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ST: You once said ditching your tight black jeans was harder than quit smoking – what is the deal?
Pia: «Hm, I wore those jeans the other day and strangely it didn’t feel right. Maybe I am over super tight clothes. It is just that those jeans are part of who I am, its an inner battle. Wearing them with heels I can take on the world. And I really don’t really give a monkey if it’s not in vogue.»

ST: Do you have tattoos?
Pia: «Nope, never did. I do not want a label on my skin. Perhaps its because I have always mingled in many different circles, I do not want to be labelled down. Saying that tattoos can look great, even on the face, I mean – look at Post Malone. He looks amazing. But will he still look so great at 40? I guess if he wants he can always have them removed my laser.»

ST: Name one item you would not want to be seen dead in.
Pia:
«Not much. Maybe a shell suit type jacket. Sports clothes and leisure wear is ok if you are doing sport or going for a hike in the mountains. But to wear a high-tech sports jacket just to dive to work? That is idiotic. Seriously – in Norway spending a small fortune on a sports garment is considered ok but if you do the same on a handbag people think you are dumb. I don’t buy into that way of thinking at all.»

ST: What is the most expensive piece in your wardrobe?
Pia:
«A pair of Isabel Marant boots, I bought second hand.»

ST: Favorite designer?
Pia:
«Again – Isabel Marant. I have several of boots from her, they are comfortable. If I were wealthy I would buy their garments as well, I totally vibe with that label.»

ST: Which costume drama did you watch recently?
Pia:
«Little Women”. The costumes were extremely authentic.»

Mad Men
From the TV-series “Mad Men”.

ST: What is your fave movie or TV-series for style?
Pia: «Even though it’s not my style “Mad Men” is an obvious candidate. I love how the story of women’s liberation is told very much through the costumes. Costume designer Janie Bryant did an incredible job there. And I must mention Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” – where the story of the super wealthy in New York is told through the styling of Cate Blanchett. It is subtle and people with strong fashion references will read her wardrobe as it reveals so much of the social landscape through which she is maneuvering. It gives the movie an extra layer. The Hermès bag she’s carrying was the stylists own, apparently Woody Allen’s budget wouldn’t cover the insurance for it, that’s how pricey it is.»

ST: New or vintage?
Pia:
«New. I am not a huge lover of vintage. I’ve bough a lot of second hand in my time but I have reached a point where I prefer clothes no one’s worn before me. Is that bad? I bought an awesome pair of leather pants I have never worn, I just could not. Now I have put them up for sale on finn.no. It is psychological. I can buy a fur or leather jacket secondhand if it smells good.»

ST: How many pairs pf shoes do you own?
Pia:
«Not that many. Maybe 12 or 14, all high heels except for a pair of sandals and a pair of sneakers that I bought at Urban last winter when I had back pains. The sneaks are bright red, and they rested in their box on a chair in my front room for a while before I wore them. But they are so gorgeous I can wear them with a dress.»

ST: Key words that sums up your style?
Pia:
«Curated, particular and whimsical. It’s not that my style is always planned to detail, but everything I buy is well thought through.»

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Selfie with her son Ask (10) and wearing the dress he bought her for Xmas.

ST: Do you freak out if people gift you clothes or jewelry?
Pia: «Totally. I hate it, it makes me feel unwell. Because I know I will not like it, I am so particular. The one person who can buy me clothes is my 10-year-old son. He asks one of my best friends to come along to the shops, then he picks what they buy. Last xmas he bought me a dress; I wore it for New Years as well as my birthday. The year before he bought a pair of pants equally nice. That buy gets me, it is so touching!»

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