Tell Me Something: Katey Cusack has a flair for unforgettable clothes

Fashion designer Katey Cusack lives in Norwich. (Her beloved Princess Ava, shown above, lives there too.)
Fashion designer Katey Cusack lives in Norwich. (Her beloved Princess Ava, shown above, lives there too.) Photo by Joe DiJulio

Katey Cusack is a Norwich-based fashion designer with a passion for pin-up and burlesque styles.

Cusack's company is named MayMac as a nod to her grandmother, Eunice May MacFadden, who taught her how to sew and design clothes.

Currently MayMac offers a line of vintage-inspired, rockabilly and pin-up clothing for all shapes; including corsets, costumes, dresses and lingerie. She is a stitcher at Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam. You can see some great photos on MayMac Design Studio's Facebook page.

Cusack's work was most recently on display as part of Fashion in the Ballroom, a Hygienic Art XXXV event, at the Crocker House Ballroom last week in New London. She will be making an appearance in Las Vegas in April at Viva Las Vegas, the largest rockabilly festival in the world.

Say you have a modern-day high school locker. Whose picture would be hanging in it?

Actually, the same photo I had in high school, Marilyn Monroe.

What's your favorite sandwich?

Buffalo chicken anything.

You're locked in a museum for a night, which one would it be?

The museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. I'd stow away under an elaborate dress worn in the 1800s and study each and every corseted piece in the exhibit. It's a fascinating place.

What's your favorite rockabilly song?

There are so many, and while it's not rockabilly, my favorite song has always been "Fly Me To The Moon" by Frank Sinatra.

What's your favorite word in a language other than English?

"Schmutz."

Push comes to shove, who is your favorite designer?

Bob Mackie. He is so over-the-top. I love it.

Sorry to have to tell you this, but an asteroid is going to wipe all humanity next week. So, what's your last meal and who is coming to dinner?

Buffalo chicken tenders and lots of blue cheese dressing. I would have the wonderful group of artsy small business ladies that I have made great friends with. We might be dying, but we will still be laughing and talking about our future projects! And my dogs and boyfriend of course!

What was the first item of clothing you ever designed?

I made my Furbie a sweater and then my Barbies dresses out of colored cellophane. (It was around Easter time and they had all sorts of fun colors!)

Name an item you can't live without:

My sewing machine. It keeps me sane while driving me insane at the same time.

Item you should live without and keep meaning to get rid of:

My Salvador Dali calendar from five years ago. I don't have the heart to throw it away so I just flip the page when I want to see something new.

You've been invited to the party at the end of the world. What are you wearing?

A leopard print corset, some seriously awesome shoes, probably spectator- styled heels and red lipstick, of course.

If present-day you could give advice to younger you, what would you say?

I would give myself a good smack and say "get it together!" Looking back there are always things I wish I knew - like what signing on the dotted line for student loans really means - but there is plenty I know now, and it's all about going forward.

Which person from history would you have liked to design clothes for?

Marilyn Monroe.

Last book you couldn't put down:

"Skinny Bitch" by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.

You're a DJ at a club. What's the night's last song?

"Love Like This Before" by Fatman Scoop

What's a word you can never spell correctly on the first try:

Ironically, "glamorous," but thanks to Fergie I only have to sing along to remember.

Money no object, what item of clothing would you buy right now?

Custom-made ruby red glitter t-strap pumps x 1,000.

Which is better, coffee or tea?

I am simply addicted to tea.

Blazer and jeans or cardigan and jeans?

I wouldn't be a pinup designer if I didn't say cardigan.

What is your pet peeve?

People who chew with their mouth open or when I can hear someone eating. It drives me absolutely insane

What is your favorite place in Connecticut to recharge and/or find serenity?

Anywhere with a beach.

Whom alive today do you most admire?

My grandmother Agnes. My grandmothers have had a huge influence in my life. They raised me and made me the person I am today. I admire them both for so many reasons.

Catherine Joseph-Pratt models a design by Katey Cusack.
Catherine Joseph-Pratt models a design by Katey Cusack. Courtesy of Katey Cusack
Jessica McComiskey models an original design by Katey Cusack.
Jessica McComiskey models an original design by Katey Cusack. Photo courtesy of Katey Cusack
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