POSTED ON MARCH 27, 2013:
Christina Fallin begins to accept the spotlight
She didn't think it would be a big deal to do a fashion photo shoot in the family home back in 2011. It didn't occur to her that there might be red-tape involved or official approvals to be voiced. It was intended to be a stylish, yet tasteful glimpse into her life for a spread in Twenty Something magazine. Respectful and well-intended as it may have been, different rules apply when the family residence is the Oklahoma Governor's mansion and your last name happens to be Fallin.
As I walk into the coffee shop where we are to meet, Christina Fallin is a burst of color in a room of monochrome. It's like she's moved on to Technicolor and left everyone else behind. Her clothing is edgy but muted, but it is her bright pink hair and her signature brick red lips that set her apart. And in a shade not found in nature, her hair is initially shocking. And then it just kind of becomes her and you sit there and think as you examine her, "Perhaps you were supposed to have been born with pink hair."
She is inconspicuously dressed in a German designed grey/green jacket she bought in high school (that she describes as "post-apocalyptic" in style) over a Zara t shirt, black slim-legged pants from Target that she's "had for about five years," finished off by Zara black round toe smoking flats with skulls on the toes, and a black Louis Vuitton Epi handbag, personalized with her initials, "CMF."
"I've junked up my LV with an antique Asian charm of an angry face and a cross from Forever 21. You don't need to spend a lot of money on clothes to appear well kept, so I don't pay much attention to brands or labels. I shop everywhere. I shop at Zara, Target, Chanel, a wide range of places. Zara designs in a certain way that I like. I find my tougher-looking biker, futuristic, Blade Runner-type clothes at Zara. I like to invest in certain high quality pieces and then fill in. I've always been a huge fan of Chanel. It's timeless black with elements of the future. Classy. She (Coco Chanel) challenged gender roles by introducing sportswear for women when women were only wearing dresses," Fallin said.
She finds practicality in ditching the skirt and slipping into some slacks. You don't see superheroes in skirts.
"I typically wear more gender neutral clothes. I don't like the expectation that women should always wear a skirt or dress. I move too quickly to wear skirts all the time. Women's clothing is not too functional day to day. I gravitate towards men-styled clothing -- pants, a jacket and flat shoes. But there's a way to style those so that they're feminine by how you do your hair, makeup and jewelry," Fallin said.
"Hair and makeup are the most important aspects of personal style. They're what make an individual so I tend wear black to frame the most individual part about me, my hair and face. The black accentuates them without being distracting. Besides, I just feel like myself in black. I feel comfortable in it. So black is my uniform. Black pants, black jackets and a black or white shirt," she said.
Christina Fallin dress by Stella Thomas
PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRISTINA FALLIN
"I love rosaries and skulls. They symbolize life and death, which are concepts that we all have to consider at some point. I wouldn't consider myself a religious person but I love crosses in particular. I currently have five cross tattoos," she mentions unselfconsciously; "I appreciate the history of them," Fallin said.
As we talk about makeup, it occurs to me that her striking facial features are sort of reminiscent of mid-century uber-glamorous socialite Slim Keith. In fact, it was Slim Keith who, when questioned as to how she became such an iconic fashion trendsetter, said, "It was about good looks, brains, taste, and style ... The only ingredient I brought to this recipe was the recognition that, while you have to be natural, you also have to be different ... "
As a reluctant trendsetter, Fallin is decidedly different. If she wishes to impart a personal style philosophy or set any trends, it's a foundation based on embracing individualism.
"I recommend that you don't follow fashion trends by the season but create a consistent style for yourself. Your style should reflect who you are. I'm an advocate for a timeless style. I like coupling clothing and accessories that are contemporary or even futuristic with something really antiquated. For instance, maybe something medieval juxtaposed against something more modern. I also like to take something high quality and junk it up a bit," said Fallin.
Introspective but not self-involved, she has experienced an enhanced sense of self awareness in recent years and a coming into her own as she finds her place in a public world.
"I try not to be so self-conscious. I want to be as natural and true to myself. It's not always easy to be true to myself but it's all I can really do. I think people can at least appreciate that I'm being authentic even if they don't necessarily identify with how I look. It's not easy to be yourself. People want to you do things that are PC but I'm not a politician," said Fallin, "I feel a responsibility to be a torch carrier for those misunderstood high school kids who are artsy and trying to find not only their style but their identity. People will contact me and say that they're inspired and that it's giving them the courage to be who they are. I'm just living my life but it's cool to see that it positively impacts people. I'm under a lot of scrutiny and sometimes get beat up in the press and on blogs because of my Mom's public position, but it's worth it when I hear that it's helped somebody feel better about themselves or to feel more confident in being who they are," said Fallin.
The antithesis of a Paris Hilton, she is hardly a Chelsea Clinton, either. She is authentically and unapologetically Christina Fallin. Living in a world where conformity is the rule, Fallin is staying true to herself and doing it while dressed in a style all her own.
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