Something Old, Something Eew | What Are You Wearing? | Chicago Reader

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Something Old, Something Eew


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Martha Mulholland, 22, grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, and works as a cataloguer for M. Klein Auctions.

Liz Armstrong: What is that around your shoulders?

Martha Mulholland: A Victorian silk collar.

LA: Where'd you get it?

MM: There used to be an old store in Kentucky called Just Fabu run by two gay guys. Every time I went home they would let me root through the back room. I also have little jackets and hoop skirts from this little shop.

LA: What's with the Victoriana?

MM: I'm a hoarder and I collect things. I collect antique clothing and antique furniture and taxidermy animals--I want to keep them for posterity. I'll get really dressed up in period costumes sometimes.

LA: Just for yourself?

MM: Yeah. It's interesting to see yourself taken out of context, to suddenly look at yourself and you're somebody else. It's why I collect mirrors too. I like to think about who used to wear this, how many faces have looked in this throughout history and who's been reflected back.

LA: How do tight jeans fit into this picture?

MM: I thrifted these in Los Angeles. They have the 14-inch rise that makes it virtually impossible to move. I feel like all my organs are being rearranged.

LA: That's very Victorian, actually. What's your belt buckle?

MM: This is from when my dad went out of the horse business. He bred horses, and business in general was bad for a while, but he was so attached to this equestrian ideal that he opened a hoity-toity riding shop. It was full of fox and hound belt buckles and stuff. This is a greyhound. I remember it was sitting in my mother's dresser for years and I was always petrified of it.

LA: You seem drawn to things that are creepy.

MM: I don't know where that comes from. I like juxtaposing pretty with macabre, but I don't think I like "creepy."

LA: What about the taxidermy?

MM: I grew up in the country around animals and now in the city I'm not really around wildlife. So I'm bringing it into my home. People ask how I can have stuffed animals in my house around living animals, my cats. I say it's OK because they would've been well dead anyway. I named them all--the pheasant is Ferdinand, the squirrel is Fievel. They keep me and the cats company.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Saverio Truglia.

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