Rebecca Seven is the delightfully wicked creator of the salaciously stunning line of haute couture clothing fittingly called Viva Rebecca Clothing! She specializes in one-of-a-kind fantasy design, and she has outfitted many celebrities, including rock stars and movie stars from Motley Crue’s guitarist Mick Mars to Hollywood legend Raquel Welch.
By G.L. Giles
No stranger to wearing striking apparel herself, she has been known for expressing herself in wonderfully unforgettable ways since her days in the ‘80s as a guitarist for the groundbreaking fem-core band Frightwig. You can view more of her captivating and unique designs at www.vivarebecca.com.
You’re known as Rebecca Seven in the fashion world, but what name did you go by when you were singing with the fem-core band Frightwig?
When I played guitar for Frightwig I went by Rebecca Tucker. I am a guitar player that got roped into part time vocals. I am not a singer, even though Yoko Ono sent a fan letter. I covered “Sister Oh Sisters” on a Tater Tot album.
You were designing your own clothes for Frightwig shows, even in the ‘80s, but did you design any of your other bandmates’ clothes back then, too? Is designing band-wear more or less challenging than designing regular street clothes?
The other females had their own style, Janis Joplin, hippy mama or vintage thrift store dresses. I was the flashy one. I like fetish style, loved loud colors, leather; I even wore a neon pink toilet seat cover as a top! I also wore chicken bones. Towards the end of the band, I got less support for my stage wear, and they tried to tone my style down. I prefer fantasy, but it has to be made well. No hot glue or staples, it needs to be constructed. I am guilty of having more party wear than everyday clothes. People can go to a mall to get street wear; I want to give excitement!
Speaking of designing great band-wear, you have designed iconic clothing for Motley Crue guitarist Mick Mars and for Jason Hook of the Alice Cooper Band, etc. Where did your inspiration come from in creating those and others?
I usually meet with a client, and I listen and take notes. I know if I meet with a drummer to focus on the top of his body and give a lot of thought to his movement. A guitar player won’t need a lot of detail where the guitar is covering his pants. I like to collaborate and then add my touches. Fit is always important. I am also fussy about the fabric. I have been a music fan for so long that I always think about the clothes worn on stage and how I reacted. Debby Harry wore a Zebra dress and big glasses on stage. I saw the Glitter Band on television and obsessed about shiny lame pants, Iggy’s silver leather pants, safety pins and fishnets. I also love mod clothes. Rudi Gernreich and Paco Rabanne are my favorites. I love their use of color and unconventional materials. I like to be inspired but also try and give my own slant.
Plus, you are known for your awesome accessories, like the long red gloves made for the legendary Julie Newmar. What other accessories are you the most proud of fabricating?
I love making gloves. I have and collect nice leather gloves. I love bags, containers, pouches, purses and eye glass cases. I think the eye glass cases came from my collection of over-sized glasses. They needed a home, and then I got customers. I also like the studded guitar straps that I made for Paul Stanley: over the top studded and all set by hand.
In addition, you’ve designed for comedians like Margaret Cho. Are there any funny stories from your working with comedians as a whole and/or others that you’d like to share with Target Audience Magazine readers?
I worked on a shoot with Sarah Silverman; I was asked to set up the props for her set. I found flowers, bottles, robes and a few other items you see in a backstage dressing room and, last but not least, a large framed photo of Ed Begley, Jr., and I hung it on the wall. She was so excited to see the photo and confessed she had a huge crush on him. I did not expect that reaction. The shoot was Sarah posing with two Penthouse pets. She was supposed to get hair, makeup and a gown to look like a “Pet,” but she refused to wear a gown and posed in jeans.
I fit Phil Hartman for a commercial, not long before he was killed. That was very creepy. He was very nice to work with.
Margaret Cho bought a few bags I made using naked guys playing cards. She was very excited to tell me she bought the biggest one. That was cool!
I met Howie Mandel while I was doing an emergency fitting with Sharon Osbourne at “America’s Got Talent.” He was more excited talking to me about Kiss than himself.
Do you think that a love of textiles, problem- solving and machines (sewing and other) is a prerequisite for those who want to make a career out of being a fashion designer/creator?
YES! If you want to last in the business. If you want to be a reality show TV star, then all you need is a massive ego.
It’s great that you can work with a variety of materials, so even those who want only organic and/or vegan items can put in a specialty order with you, too. How did you get the idea for your Vegan Yoga Bags? Is it true that you used tree tap and hemp to make them?
I was approached with the vegan yoga bags. Usually the people who want vegan know where to order, and they bring it to me. I like sewing hemp; it’s like heavy linen and breathed like tropical wool. Tree tap was a trip! It’s a woven fabric covered with tinted rubber. Like spilling rubber cement glue on a pair of jeans. I am hoping the color selection gets revved up. I am not a huge earth tone fan.
Where do you see fashion heading, as a whole, going into 2013? Where do you plan on taking Viva Rebecca Clothing, in particular in 2013? And beyond that?
I like seeing shoes getting higher and more ridiculous than ever. They are becoming art, not wearable.
I think clothes are going to become more utilitarian and conservative. Less hardware, zippers, nice details. The economy is very bad right now. I feel that a lot of people would rather have a fancy cell phone over a fancy piece of clothing—and not want to dress up. It is depressing to go to a party, a funeral, or a wedding where everyone is in jeans and Hawaiian shirts.
I hope people want to dress like they are going to perform, then I will have a chance to make a statement. I am more a costume designer who likes to build with a high fashion polish, than a designer for the masses. I can’t see me making board shorts or Hawaiian shirts, and I won’t get excited over flannel and poplin. I don’t see a symmetrical skirt hem changing the world, and I hate baby blue paired with beige.