The Lindy Charm School for Girls

Chrissie Keepence image 1_crop
Chrissy Keepence /© Brooke Orchard Photography

Join us at the final Endless Summer Sunday and last day of ‘California Design 1930–1965: Living in a Modern Way’ on Sunday 9 February from 12 noon to hear from Chrissy Keepence and see her vintage glamour demonstration; get your toes tapping with a performance and lesson from Brisbane-based Empire Swing; hear from Bob McTavish, Australian surf industry pioneer who has been making and shaping surfboards since 1962; and find out about the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, teen idols and surf sounds with Dr Peter Freeman, Associate Lecture, School of Music , The University of Queensland. For full details visit our website.

Sophie Dixon spoke to Chrissy Keepence, founder of the Lindy Charm School for Girls, about reviving the style and philosophy of the golden age of glamour.

Sophie Dixon | How did the Lindy Charm School for Girls come about?

Chrissy Keepence | My eye for vintage fashion and style came from watching Jerry [Lewis] & Dean [Martin] and Elvis movies with my father, but it was when I was introduced to dance that my passion for swing music, and the fashion and lifestyle of the 1930s and 1940s, grew. The Lindy Charm School for Girls was a natural progression from teaching my own dance students how to recreate and style themselves based on the swing era. These home‑based styling days became so popular that I decided to take them on the road and share my knowledge around Australia, New Zealand and more recently the United States. Now, I travel almost every week to a different place from my home here in Queensland. My team has also grown and I now have Mistresses of Style in every state in Australia.

Sophie Dixon | What is the philosophy behind the Lindy Charm School for Girls?

Chrissy Keepence | Everyone starts from a different place but most people who come to my workshops have a bit of an old soul to start with. There is much we can learn from our foremothers and the Lindy Charm School for Girls preserves and imparts only the best of the past to enhance our present. I have always been passionate about empowering girls of all ages to enhance their own natural outer and inner beauty through the best of vintage styling, etiquette and manners. There are no age or beauty barriers when you are in the workshop environment.

Sophie Dixon | How do audiences react to Lindy Charm School events?

Chrissy Keepence | I’ve had the most amazing emails and letters from young ladies, their mothers and even more mature ladies over the past nine years, and the common thread has been how empowered, confident and beautiful the Lindy Charm School made them feel. Hearing stories from women who have turned their lives around and embraced their own beauty and worth after participating in one of our workshops is extremely gratifying.

California DesignEndless Summer Sunday

California DesignEndless Summer Sunday
In under an hour, Headmistress Chrissy Keepence transforms Kate’s look from contemporary every day to pure 1950s elegance / Images © QAGOMA

Sophie Dixon | What do you think is the best thing about the revival in interest in etiquette, old-school charm and the golden age of glamour?

Chrissy Keepence | I believe that vintage fashions, charm, etiquette, manners, poise and posture never really go out of fashion but rather are overshadowed by current trends and commercial viabilities. I think it is the timeless elegance and romantic notions of the past we like to hang on to, as our worlds are so complex, rushed, competitive and shambolic at times.

Sophie Dixon | What about gentlemen?

Chrissy Keepence | In our dance school, Swing On In, at least half of our students are boys and men under the age of 35. With the help of TV shows and films such as Boardwalk Empire and The Great Gatsby, more and more of them want to emulate these classic looks. They love the Suavecito pomade that we sell and pomp do’s we create for them at our Suave School for Gents. What I see more than anything is their use of manners and compliments, and I am really excited about helping to spread this trend and to watch the next generation of men bring back some old-world charm.

Sophie Dixon | Can you give us a tip for staying glamorous in a contemporary world?

Chrissy Keepence | Cutting a great shape in what you are wearing, striking hair with a flower or hat, perfect red lips, and always your winning smile.