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Peer Perspective: Laura Wills, Screaming Mimi’s

Screaming Mimi’s is an iconic spot in Manhattan for costumes and vintage pieces for quite literally any occasion. For forty years, Laura Wills has been at the heart of the shop, carefully curating pieces to fill her clothing racks and diligently designing the shops now-famous window displays.

You can read all about Wills and her shop in our January/February issue here, but we had a few follow-up questions for the vintage clothing mogul.


PHR: What are you busy doing at Screaming Mimi's when you're not preparing for Halloween?  

LW:We are busy all year long dressing our customers for a constant round of parties. It seems that in NYC every party has a theme whether it be 1920s, 1970s or, 1980s. Yesterday, it was 8 degrees and someone came in looking for an outfit for a Winter Wonderland party. She wanted something that looked "icy". We had a beautiful silver and blue cape and silver sequined dress that fit the bill. 

We also work with costume designers who pull clothing for film and TV every season. You can see our clothing in HBO’s "The Deuce," FX’s "Pose," Saturday Night Live and various other productions.

 

PHR: Do you or your staff have a favorite genre or style of items to collect?

LW:We love clothing and costumes from all decades, but the 1970s is always a favorite because the looks for both men and women are so much fun to recreate. Disco, punk, [and] hippie was all happening in the 1970s. 

 

PHR: How do you determine what will be your big window display for Halloween each year? 

LW:Our ideas come from so many sources. It could be from pop culture, a fashion trend, a film. Last year I was inspired by a show at the Museum of Modern Art about a legendary 1980s NYC nightclub, Club 57. It was run by artists and they put on elaborate parties with themes and costumes.

Originally posted Friday, Feb. 1, 2019