Filmmaker Lina Plioplyte has always loved to dress, “not fashionably, but weirdly,” she says. She’s been dubbed one ofTime Out New York‘s “Most Stylish New Yorkers,” and her self-proclaimed “kooky” sense of personal fashion style (she admits to a weakness for “sparkle, preppy collars and lace”) continues to captivate street fashion bloggers and magazine editors here and abroad. It was Plioplyte’s short film onNowness.com (a cinematic love letter to stylish older women) that recently captured our hearts and peeked our curiosity.
Like the subjects of her film, Plioplyte believes that fashion is simply a happy way to get through the day. “Let’s dress up and celebrate life!” she says. “I think that dressing up makes a day better, makes one happier and lets one express oneself better.”
Born in Lithuania, Plioplyte came to the states to study journalism at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and then spent a short time in Southern California, where, “I always felt a little alien,” she says. Seeking creative kinship, she took the advice of countless Americans who directed her to New York, where, upon her arrival in 2007, Plioplyte claims that she instantly “felt at home.”
We talked to Plioplyte about her new project with flamboyant design duo Duckie Brown and discovered that, like her eclectic fashion sense, her artistic influences are equally as dynamic.
You can watch Plioplyte’s video work on herwebsite
The Inside Source: How did growing up in Lithuania influence you as a filmmaker and visual artist?
Lina Plioplyte: Lithuania is a very special place. The woods, the sea, the sun (and the lack of it) as well as my childhood memories are all part of my work and who I am. We grew up reading Greek myths instead of fairy tales, witnessing Soviet kitschy grandeur and watching dark, gritty, realistic movies by Lithuanian and Czech directors. That definitely influenced my sense of humor and need for joy, bright colors and sparkle.
The Inside Source: We fell in love with your Stylish Ladies short on Nowness.com Tell us how that evolved?
Lina Plioplyte: Several years ago I met Ari Cohen, whose blog, Advanced Style, is all about elderly stylish ladies. I always admired him. We became friends and I thought, one day, I would love to film his subjects. We started with a few videos for his blog (you can find them all onteenagepeanut.com, my website), and then realized that these ladies would be amazing for a documentary. They are so inspiring. We hang out with them, visit their homes and go to events with them. My boyfriend laughs that I fit right in with the Advanced Style ladies since I dress like a kooky old lady already!
Lina Plioplyte (all photos byBackyard Bill)
The Inside Source: Was fashion part of your world as a child?
Lina Plioplyte: I always loved to dress-not fashionably-but weirdly. I like to express my mood through clothes and to discover how clothing affects people. My mother got into thrift shopping when second hand stores started opening in Lithuania in the ’90s.They were great outlets for kooky fashions.
The Inside Source: Do you seek inspiration on and off the fashion runway? How important are the streets to you?
Lina Plioplyte: I get inspired looking at textures. Architecture is a great field of inspiration for me. Nature, passers-by, Freddie Mercury, old movie stars, Mods… So many things are inspiring. Looking at things on Facebook can be inspiring. The streets are very important to me! They are definitely more important than the runway, inspiration-wise. Runway fashion shows are great for a rough idea and to admire clothes, but it feels rather unreal and unattainable. Of course, I would love a python Chloe bag, but I would rather find something weird in the Urban Jungle thrift store in the East Village.
The Inside Source: Do you mix new and vintage? Who are your favorite fashion designers?
Lina Plioplyte: I always mix new and vintage. Alexander McQueen is the one and only-the best fashion designer ever. He is a huge inspiration for me. I really like what Duckie Brown does too, especially after filming them. I love when clothes have stories and a deeper meaning, and they really pay attention to that. Even though they design menswear, I would wear every single piece.
The Inside Source: What are five pieces in your wardrobe you couldn’t live without?
Lina Plioplyte: That’s a tough one! I guess I could not live without my wonderful velvet slippers, a sparkly St. John jacket (a $10 find!), an old black nightie that is the most comfortable day dress, my three favorite rings and any scarf that I could make into a turban or any kind of headpiece.
The Inside Source: What project are you working on now?
Lina Plioplyte: I am just finishing a documentary about the designers Duckie Brown and I am very excited about it. I followed Steven and Daniel, the flamboyant designer duo, for half a year. I think it’s a very raw and real story about fashion, survival, life and gender. It’s very exciting because it’s my first documentary!
The Inside Source:Where would we find you on a typical Saturday night?
Lina Plioplyte: Probably editing at home, ha! Or at a friend’s barbeque, riding my bike, or down by Bay Ridge looking to the water… Or maybe Upstate, or at yoga…
The Inside Source: What do you collect?
Lina Plioplyte: Fridge magnets from trips, hippie knick-knacks, vintage teacups and saucers, rocks, random objects found in the street… and I’ve just started on old tin cans and crystals!
The Inside Source: Do you use eBay?
Lina Plioplyte: eBay is the best. I am on it all the time. I just bought this amazing crystal cluster and I saw a great Rod Stewart picture there too, recently. One of my favorite finds is a pair of culottes-beaded evening shorts. It was one of those no-one-noticed-how-amazing-this-is-but-me moments and I got them really cheap. I noticed that when I am stressed out, I can spend hours on eBay, just putting something like “vintage leopard” in the search bar and seeing what pops up. It’s like retail therapy, but very eclectic and unexpected.