VIP Interview: KK Norris

Oh baby, I’m from that old school I’ll play it real cool….Love burns you up the most Like it or not But baby, I like it hot…..Oh! hey…you just totally caught me again dancing around my room with my hairbrush microphone singing the song Some Like It Hot by Marilyn Monroe…I just love that movie! I wish I could sing like Marilyn Monroe…

This VIP is proud to present a fabulous interview with an adorable vintage passionista KK Norris! KK is the owner of a precious vintage shop that is located in the heart of Columbus, Mississippi.

The entire store is filled from ceiling to floor with a magnificent collection of vintage clothing!

During the Columbus Spring Pilgrimage, I visited The Attic and met KK Norris. The atmosphere of this vintage paradise takes you back to bygone days…the oldies playing, the chandeliers, the portrait hanging above the fireplace…

If I had a big enough closet….Oh, how I adore The Attic

This vintage boutique is not only for the VIP ladies, but it is also for fashionable gentlemen who are looking for a unique selection of bowties, neckties, shirts, and trousers! I cannot wait to give my friend, Chad,  the yellow polka dotted bowtie I purchased for him!

Now, I present to you the interview with the adorable KK Norris! Enjoy, my dear friends:)

At the Attic, there is everything from rock n’ roll to elegant!

  • Tell us a little somethin’ about yourself.

Born and raised in Columbus, MS, I grew up in my grandmother‘s beautiful antebellum home named Rosedale. My favorite pastime as a child was wandering through the many rooms of Rosedale and pillaging through my mom’s and grandmother’s closets. I could barely walk before I traded in my baby shoes for a pair of my mother’s strappy high heels topped off with my grandmother’s mink coat and jewelry….

One of my first paying jobs as a stylist was for Parker Posey (a fellow Southerner) on the movie set of Party Girl.

I returned to Columbus, MS and destiny took over and led me to The Attic. It started out as a modest two-room boutique upstairs from the town’s old movie theater, The Princess Theater. I quickly outgrew The Princess due to my weakness of wanting to give all orphaned vintage pieces a home…As soon as I saw the old yellow Victorian house at 116 3rd Street South, I knew it was meant to be! First of all, I loved the fact that the house is located adjacent to the birthplace of Tennessee Williams; and secondly, I now had plenty of rooms to fill up with all the vintage treasures that seem to find me (and beg me to take them in). My full circle is complete (for now). I am back in a beautiful old home and once again able to play dress up… but this time for a living…and with my friends, family, clients and all lovers of classic, timeless fashion.

The painting above the fireplace is of KK’s mother as a child in Rosedale.

  • What is your favorite fashion era and why?

My favorite era would have to be the 2010s because I get to enjoy every era of fashion these days along with seeing new interpretations of the past. There is next to nothing produced today in the fashion arena that doesn’t draw from the past. So whatever your favorite decade or look is, we now have it. Some days I only want to wear garments from the 1950s, then I will change moods and really be feeling the 20s. Thank goodness, I get to pick and choose from all the decades-thanks to vintage.

The walls, the shelves, every nook and cranny is filled with vintage waiting to be rediscovered and worn again!

  • What are some of your favorite hobbies?

I adore grilling outdoors and trying new recipes, spinning records, reading books, but my new found passion is gardening! After meeting a now, dear friend, Renee, who introduced me into the majestic world of starting plants, food and flowers from seed, I became so hooked on it that customers now know if the sun is out and the store is closed-KK is in the yard. I built a large Goldfish pond that is the center of the backyard parking lot which I turned into a foliage oasis. I joined a garden group online and hooked up with an amazing network of generous seed sharing friends. Honestly, I never thought it possible to get a bigger thrill out of a passion other than vintage clothing!

It was such a delight working with KK, picking out outfits with her, and taking pictures! (Photo taken by KK Norris)

  • What is the most exciting part of running a vintage shop?

My heart skips four beats when a customer walks in the door with a styling/clothing issue and walks out in amazement with his/her purchases. I must admit that I am not a shop keeper or a store clerk, so when someone is wanting advice or help and is willing to let me do my work by pulling from the stock…I am in pure heaven! I enjoy decorating the store, changing displays, seeing the “WOW” in new-comers eyes when they walk into the store, and the cute stories about “I remember my Mom wearing these”….but it really makes my job fabulous when a “non-vintage” wearer comes in and lets me work with them.

So retro, I love retro…. (Photo taken by KK Norris)

  • Where do you get most of the vintage clothing in your shop?

The most unexpected surprise of opening the Attic has been the supply of stock, and how I come about it! I have been so wonderfully blessed not to have to spend days traveling to auctions or estate sales, not to mention thrift sores and garage sales. The word has gotten out around the Southern states that I am a serious vintage dealer, so….they load it up in bulk, and I buy it in bulk! I am tickled to house Southern treasure from the past whether it is a pristine silk party frock or a pair of moth-eaten wool socks. It has been much more personal buying from family members rather than going to estate sales where the stories of the garments on their night out on the town are so rare. I also get to bond with the history, the parties, and the events that the clothing, hats, shoes, and buttons originated-and that makes for a rich experience not only for me as the new owner, but also the potential next owner.

Cute high waisted shorts paired with a vintage shirt from the 70s! (Photo taken by KK Norris)

  • What is your favorite genre of music and why?

The clothing selection of eras and styles are vast here in The Attic, with several rooms filled to the brim with clothing dating from late 1800s to the 1970s.  The sunny yellow of this Victorian home sets the mood for the experience, but it’s the music floating in every room that reaches every customer, young and old.  A dear friend in Germany, Axel Kustner, who is a bonafide musicologist has supplied the Attic with hours of obscure tunes from the past that are just the right fit.  Melodies and voices of the past really compliment these clothes, adding to the atmosphere and I adore getting to also share the history of each artist with customers who are tapping their toes!  The Attic just wouldn’t be the same without her music.

(Photo taken by KK Norris)

  • Who is your favorite author and why?

 I crave reading. Sometimes I get nervous to pick up a new one because I know I won’t sleep until it’s finished. I got hooked on biographies and autobiographies when I lived in the heart of Hollywood, CA being surrounded by the wonderful past of glamour.  I still enjoy reading all the books written about a star and cross-referencing the facts. Every book has a different truth, and it can be quite interesting and eye opening realizing that just because it was printed doesn’t mean it really happened.

Here are a few more tidbits KK shared with me. She is truly an inspiration for a small town, Southern VIP like myself!

  • “The most wonderful aspect of the store, to me, is the community appreciation and participation. When you walk in the door, you’re surrounded by precious relics from our past that have been donated to The Attic for historical preservation and enjoyment. My most ogled items are a donated 1920s glass-beaded, silk chiffon flapper dress, an 1800s white net garden party dress (both from Melody Vydas, a Columbus artist), and the most stunning 1950s blue layered ruffle tulle ball gown with a flowered-bustle (donated by Whitehall, the historic home of Dr. Joe and Carol Boggess).” (To learn more about Whitehall, visit my Columbus Spring Pilgrimage blogs!)
  • “I was thrilled to recently acquire several amazing party dresses from the mid 1950s that belonged to Valeka Gray, the Southern actress with roles in Love Is a Many Splendored Thing and As the World Turns. Jack and Emily White generously parted with the most awesome 1980s linen suit that Jack wore while teaching in Italy. I couldn’t list all the love that has been given to The Attic over the past 10 years (this August!) by locals who know it will have a very loving home at The Attic.”
  • “Being featured in USA Today and ABC News this past month as a top 10 Vintage Stores in the USA Worth a Look was indeed a thrill! I have the The Vintage Fashion Guild ( www.vintagefashionguild.org) and Melody Fortier, author of newly-released The Little Guide to Vintage Shopping and owner of the online shop www.tangerineboutique.com to thank for that!”

From the USA Today article: “A former Hollywood stylist runs this gem of a shop in her hometown – she even worked on the wardrobes for the recent film, The Help. “She’s very sophisticated. Her sense of style is amazing,” Fortier says. And the cost is far below big-city prices. The store fills a Victorian house next to the birthplace of Tennessee Williams. 662-549-5613;  atticville.com”  (http://travel.usatoday.com/destinations/10great/story/2012-03-29/10-great-places-to-find-a-vintage-look/53872524/1)

KK Norris is also a very proud member of the VFG (Vintage Fashion Guild). She wanted to give a warm thank you to the town of Columbus, Mississippi, the donators, and Axel Kustner for all the help they have done to develop The Attic to what it is today!

Wasn’t that a terrific interview with KK Norris! I think everyone should embrace their vintage side!

If you don’t live close to Columbus, Mississippi…or you just can’t find time to go visit The Attic in person…well, I have fabulous news! You can check out The Attic online http://www.atticville.com to discover and purchase your own vintage goodies!

Also, make sure to check out KK’s Etsy shop, follow her on twitter, and like The Attic on facebook!

Etsy link:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/atticville?ref=seller_info

Twitter: @Atticville

Facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/#!/Atticville

I would like to give a special thanks to KK Norris for doing this interview! It has been so much fun, and I am so honored to have shared how amazing she is!

Stay tuned to the VIP blog for more fantabulous adventures:)

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram!

Twitter: @Abbysauce_

Instagram: @vintagepassionista

Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hat.

 

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Columbus Pilgrimage Part 2:

After a very palatable lunch at Sweet Peppers Deli, my mommy and my deddy and I resumed our antebellum expedition by continuing on the Blue Tour. At Peppers, I had the most delectable thing on the menu (in my opinion…) the baked potato with cheese, bacon, butter…plethora of butter… and absolutely, positively, NO SOUR CREAM! I despise sour cream……One day, when I famous…I am going to walk into restaurants….they will seat me…and immediately serve me my baked potato with cheese, bacon, and extra butter…sans sour cream. I digress….

First Stop on the Blue Tour was Whitehall, circa 1843 two-story Greek-Revival Town House.  The current owners of Whitehall are Dr. and Mrs. Joe Boggess and family.

Mrs. Carol Boggess is the perfect Southern hostess, delightful storyteller, and just absolutely adorable!

This home has purple and red peek-a-boo glass surrounding the front entrance which allows people to see out, but not in.

The Boggess family has the bag containing all of the original keys of the home. How awesome!

 

A bullet was dug out of the front door during renovation. It’s assumed that it came from a carpetbagger’s gun during a riot…According to Merriam-Webster online, a carpetbagger was, “A Northerner in the South after the American Civil War usually seeking private gain under the reconstruction of governments.”  They carried all of their belongings in carpet bags, hence the name “carpetbaggers”!

Whitehall has the original radiators (which work)…this particular one in the dining room caught my eye because it has a bread warmer in it!

Here are a few interesting facts I learned about Whitehall while visiting there:

  • The house was originally insulated with horse hair.
  • Closets were added in the 1960s, and prior to that ginormous wardrobes were used because all rooms were taxed…and closets were considered rooms.
  • The current master bedroom was once the ballroom.
  • Upcyling has been around for a really long time…a piano was converted into a desk…and another piano was made into a table!

My family and I strolled on to the next stop on our pilgrimage journey, Colonnade Garden. The garden was built in the 1860s, and the current owners are Dr. and Mrs. Ryan Hill. The garden was very classy with a Southern flair.

The last stop on our adventure was Rosewood Manor. Rosewood was constructed in 1835, and it’s current owners are Mr. and Mrs. Dewitt Hicks…If you are a fan of antique porcelain then go here! If you’re clumsy…this is not the place for you!

Mrs. Hicks has an excessive, astronomical, staggering…(you would not want to stagger here!) collection of antique porcelain. Rosewood Manor is a showcase for what is probably one of the world’s largest collections of porcelain…I don’t mean to dwell on the word porcelain…it is something you have to see for yourself to understand….

My experience at the 72nd Annual Columbus Spring Pilgrimage was quite memorable, and I encourage all of you to make your own pilgrimage to Columbus, Mississippi next spring!

Check out Columbus, Mississippi online at www.columbus-ms.org

The next blog will be….*drum roll*…..wait for ittttttttt(Psych quote)……THRIFT STORE FINDS! YAYY!! I am very very VERY excited to share this thrifty find with y’all! So stay tuned to the VIP blog to see what nifty find I found while in Meridian, Mississippi! Speaking of Meridian….My family gained a new member today! Ella Ryleigh Williams, daughter of my cousin Melanie Eaves Williams…Ella is so precious, and I know my Paw Riley is proud to have her named after him:) I just love my Paw Riley sooo much! He is just like the coolest grandpa ever!

Love&Hugs

Abby Hat.

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