The Lady Behind All The Epic Cuteness

During my recent trip to California, I was excited to have visited a little boutique that carried the most adorable accessories. Instantly I fell in love with the cutest little pin up girl…her name is Suzy Sailor by Fluff. Maybe I was living in a bubble all these years but I had never seen Fluff’s line of fun girlie accessories until that moment. Needless to say, it was love at first sight! After doing a little research on the brand I was happy to discover it was the work of one creative genius, Claudette Barjoud. Let me just say, she is a true sweetheart and very interactive with her fans. The fabulous Claudette has graciously accepted to tell us more about the lady behind the art.

Tell us a about the lady behind Fluff; did you take formal artistic training; what do you enjoy outside of your work…

I went to a wonderful art high school in Miami, New World School of the Arts, the teachers there were really inspiring and I credit them for opening my eyes to the possibility of being an artist! Then I went to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn for a year, then graduated from New World School of the Arts college program through the University of Florida.

Outside of work I love belly dancing and samba. Going to art shows, watching old movies: anything with Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren or Cary Grant and checking out interesting hotels. My latest favorite is the Riviera in Palm Springs. I love its glamorous retro vibe!

How did Fluff come to be?
I always dreamed of designing my own line of cute, sexy stuff inspired by vintage design. and always kept my ideas scribbled in a sketchbook for years. After graduating I started designing for different companies. At my last job at Frederick’s of Hollywood, I had the project of redesigning the packaging for some fun products (edible undies, whipped body cream etc…) I had seen some old Frederick’s catalogs from the 1950’s. They were filled with illustrations of pinup style lovelies! Such glamour, cheekiness and sass! It was exactly what these products needed! So I did my own version of glamorous, sexy girlies for the packaging and the products started selling out! People even started collecting them. So they had me draw more and more! I was in heaven!

After the success of the product line at Frederick’s, I thought to myself, maybe it’s time I do it for myself. So I decided to give my dream a chance…To make Fluff! A world of sassy, vintage inspired girly cuteness to make people squeal with delight! (Like I do when I see things I really love!)

What are you inspirations behind your designs, what inspires you as an artist?
So many things inspire me! Art Deco style. I adore Erte´, Fetish illustrations and fashion. I love the artists John Willie and Gene Bilbrew. Fashion, furniture, graphics and general style of the eras between the 1920’s – 1960’s. I love old James Bond movies, Elvis, Russ Meyers films, Roger Water’s films, Hello Kitty, vintage Barbie and much more!

Do you plan to expand your current line in the future?
I hope so! In the future I would love to introduce handbags, more jewelry, clothing, and maybe body products. Also more collectible pinup dolls!

What is the meaning behind Fluff?
Actually at first I was thinking about calling it Crush because I wanted it to be so irresistible it would make you get a crush on it! But decided on “Fluff” because it sounds fun, fanciful, frivolous and girly! I could also imagine an ‘ol timey brand being called Fluff. It just felt right.

You definitely have a retro/rockabilly vibe to your designs and style, who are your favorite pinups models? Do you incorporate the rockabilly/pinup style into your personal life?
Yes! I love Retro/ Rockabilly style! I am very inspired by it. There are really too many models to name, but I really love Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, Bettie Page, Tura Satana, Jadin Wong, Jayne Mansfield (I know some are known more as actresses but they were pinups too! Some, like Marilyn, actually started as pinup girls)

I incorporate Rockabilly Pinup style into my life by drawing pinups and art inspired by the style and also whenever I have the chance to get out of my painting garb, I love to dress up too!

What is your all time favorite design you have created and why?
Oh! That is a hard one to answer! I like different designs for different reasons. But one of my favorites is Mr.Pinky’s Punishment. I was inspired by 1940’s and 50’s fetish art. I love how the girl turned out and the bunny in the cage always makes me laugh.

On average how much time is invested to complete a new painting/design?
It varies for sure. If I am in the zone I might complete a painting in a few hours. But usually I like to keep coming back to it with fresh eyes because I see things that I did not see before.

What is your favorite artistic medium to work with?
My favorites change. I was working in watercolor and gouache for a bit, then switched back to acrylic, then to ceramic sculpture. Lately I have been using resin for the pinup dolls I am making. I am quite schizo went it comes to materials!

Did you ever think you would see your artwork tattooed on your fans?
It is quite a thrill to see my designs tattooed on people. I LOVE it! I never imagined that someone would like my artwork so much they would want it tattooed on themselves! I think it is exciting and quite an honor!

What can we expect to see coming soon from Fluff?
Well the latest release coming is the Wall Dolls™ ! I am so excited about these! They are inspired by vintage chalkware busts and plaques. Pinup dolls for your wall. it will be a fun way to bring my designs to life in 3D! So far people seem to like them. I am actually sculpting, molding and hand painting the edition myself! I can’t wait to release two of the most popular Fluff designs Suzy Sailor and Molly Mermaid as Wall Dolls!

Also, so excited about the collaboration with Tiki Farm! Purveyors of Polynesian Pop! They are releasing in just a few days a Classic Cocktail Set – complete with decanter and two martini inspired mugs. It is of my design Tiki Temptress. Girls, fire and cocktails, what could be better!? They are hand etched and beautifully made. I can’t wait to use it myself!

Where do you envision Fluff in 5 years?
I envision opening a fantastical boutique where you can get lost in wonder and glamour while shopping for enchanting things you cannot find anywhere else!

What would you like everyone to know about Fluff?
I would like everyone to know how much I appreciate all the love I have gotten back from fans. It is overwhelming and really what keeps me going. Whenever I am down and think I may just give up, I will get a message or sweet comment from someone who was touched by something I created and that will inspire me to keep making Fluff!

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Yes! I just want to thank you Jessica at Pin Up Persuasion for asking me to do this interview. I am honored to be featured on your fantastic Retro/ Vintage blog!

A BIG thank you to Claudette for taking the time to share a little about her with all of us. She has kindly extended a special discount code to use for the month of December to get 15% off everything in her online store(with exception to the limited edition wall dolls)! Just use code PINUP15 before checking out…click HERE to go shopping!

P.S. My cart is already full of goodies like the Tiki Temptress Cocktail Set,Le Siréne Petite wall hanging, cupcake keychain & I’m anxiously awaiting the Suzy Sailor wall hanging as well!

~ Part Four ~ Sweet DIY Retro Cupcake Halloween Costume

This will be the last update before the final reveal of the Retro Cupcake Costume. It has been a crazy busy couple of months but I got it done in the nick of time. Yes, I am famous for procrastinating but I work well under pressure and never miss a deadline! Get creative, the possibilities are endless and I simply went with what was readily available in my local stores and most importantly, cheap! The last two elements that remain are the crown and back bow.

The base of the crown is a plastic headband from the dollar store. Simply overlap the ends and hot glue them together to create a ring shape. Once the glue solidifies, you can start creating the gold trim with a 1.5 inch wired gold ribbon. Simply fold over the ribbon while leaving a 1 inch pleat for the length of the ring base. Apply a small dollop of hot glue between each pleat to help hold the shape. Don’t worry about making it perfect, the pleating creates a nice three dimensional look. Stop! Do not glue the ribbon trim on just yet, put it aside for now. (I had to remove it and continue to the next step before reapplying the trim to the base.)

Search for scraps at your local fabric store as you do not need more than a yard to create the crown, preferably a thick velvet or any rigid fabrics. The next step to create the crown is to cut the fabric for the poof. Using the resources around the house, I grabbed a wide plastic cup to help stretch the fabric to achieve the right shape and size. Once you have pulled the fabric through to the desired size, cut away the excess around the base of the crown (cup). In order to trim the rough edges, fold the fabric into a half moon or quarter moon. Since I was only able to find a blue velvet, I added a purple colored organza overlay and quickly sewed them together.

Once again, place the fabric over the cup and slowly slide the ring down until you reach the bottoms edge. Carefully hold it in place and hand sew or hot glue the fabric to secure it to the base (hairband). Pleats are part of the design, perfection is not necessary. After you have secured the poof to the base, apply the gold ribbon trim with hot glue sparingly.

The following step to creating the crown is the gold ribbons to create a look of royalty. Check the scrapbooking section at your local Michaels for a thick cardboard sheet in gold. Cut two 1 inch strips and ensure the length will work to wrap around the poof. Simply hot glue each end securely inside one of the ribbon pleats while ensuring they are spaced evenly to create the crisscross pattern. Gently fold the cardboard where the strips meet at the top of the crown and push down to mold the shape. Add a sparkly red pom pom for the cherry on top of the cupcake (not pictured, I have to make one last trip to Michaels). Adorn the gold trim with some multicolored jewels and the royal crown is now complete.

Using the same wide ribbon for the sash, it is time to create the bow. Measure out extra ribbon to ensure you will have enough to create the large bow. If you need help creating the bow, there are tons of how-to tutorials online that will walk you through the process step by step. As you can see above, I opted for a simple design and trimmed the ends to form a inward V shape to match the sash. To attach the bow to the corset, simply use a few safety pins to secure it in place.

Last but not least, the inspiration design had cup like shapes on the bust area but decided to change it up a little. I adorned the corset with some cute swirl stickers to create the look of candy on the cupcake. They are easily removed and will not damage the brocade fabric.

I am just as excited as all of you to piece all these elements together and see the completed design. It has been a fun new venture and so thankful to Orchard Corset for selling such amazing corsets perfect for unique costume creations.

Stay tuned for the final reveal…