August 23 2014

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Meet The Muse: Alia Penner


Girl-about-town Natalie Joos spends her days casting for shows like ADAM and Yigal Azrouël and editorials for the likes of Mario Sorrenti and Mariano Vivanco, but her passion is vintage clothing. Joos’ blog, Tales of Endearment spotlights her “Muses,” impeccably styled girls and guys who share her secondhand obsession. In a new partnership with, Tales of Endearment’s subjects discuss their shoots right here on Style File.

L.A.-based artist Alia Penner is a total dress girl; she wears frocks, imprinted with her collages, day and night, but that hasn’t always been the case. “I rode horses competitively for ten years growing up,” she tells “You would have never caught me in a dress, just my boots and riding pants.” These days, you’ll find her in long, flowing numbers, the main ingredient being ample doses of color and pattern. “If I had my way, all my clothes would just be dripping crazy color,” she confesses. Here, the latest Joos muse unfolds her wardrobe, sharing everything from what inspires her color obsession to her signature, attention-getting piece of jewelry.

What projects are you working on right now and what projects do you have coming up?
After being in Paris all summer for the [David Mushegain photo] show at Colette and then going to New York fashion week to paint a giant Victorian dollhouse set, I have finally gotten back into the swing of things in my studio. Everything is in its place and I am working on new paintings and designing a deck of cards.

How does your work as an artist influence your personal style?
Now, more then ever, my work is my style. Since creating dresses for a show this summer at Colette in Paris, I have been wearing my original artwork. I had two dresses made; they are very representative of night and day so I just switch off wearing them.

What inspires you these days?
Movies are always a really big inspiration. The colors in Suspiria, the clothes that Betty Grable wears in Moon Over Miami, the record label office in Phantom of the Paradise—I watch a lot of movies.

Do you have a signature item (or two) that you always wear?
I have a giant ring from Afghanistan that almost looks like a silver grenade. It jingles like a rattle so it’s good for getting the attention of animals and babies or clapping in a quiet room.

Do you collect certain kinds of vintage pieces?
Just dresses, I have a million dresses! No shoes or purses. You would think I would want to have nice shoes to wear with an evening gown, but I would be all right going barefoot as long as I had the dress.

Who do you count as a style icon?
Princess Ozma of Oz.

Spring ’12 must-have items?
I would love to have a pair of Peggy Guggenheim sunglasses.

Finish this thought: What’s old is new again when….?
You make it your own. There was a man that I met once in the desert that had painted his Chevrolet bus so wonderfully and built out the whole inside with beautiful wood and velvet curtains. He had touched or changed something about everything around him and truly made it his own. I always keep that in mind.

For more from Alia’s shoot, visit Tales of Endearment .

Photo: Natalie Joos

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