Scarlette Saintclair looks uneasy. Photographer Jim Kilgo has climbed a stepladder to get an overhead shot of a model holding vinyl records on a set designed to look like a living room from the 1950s, all while Saintclair hovers cautiously nearby. “I once had a photographer climb up in a tree to take a picture of a model on a Thunderbird,” says the Orlando resident. “So I get nervous.”
This is the Fab Four Squared Shoot for Orlando’s chapter of the Luscious Ladies. And other than this one moment of apprehension, Saintclair is remarkably easygoing with this round-robin photography event that she has organized.
The Luscious Ladies is “a social club of ladies that love the retro lifestyle,” Saintclair, 43, explains. Women from around Florida get together to wear vintage clothes at a variety of events. Car shows, rockabilly concerts, pin-up contests and more draw these gals together.
Full disclosure: My girlfriend is a member of this group.
Today, some of the women are modeling for various professional photographers who will either sell the photos to pin-up lifestyle magazines or use them for promotional materials, all in contracts worked out with the individual models. There are four sets (a backyard barbecue, a kitchen, a living room and a beauty parlor), four shutterbugs and four models sporting dresses and hairstyles from the era of Donna Reed.
“It’s fun to always look different but stunning,” says Millie Michelle, a Luscious Lady for three years.
Saintclair founded the Florida chapter of Luscious Ladies in 2014. (There are 10 chapters around the country.) “Guys have their car clubs,” she says. “I thought, why can’t we have a club?” She compares the group to the Pink Ladies, the heroines of “Grease.”
A native of West Virginia and a vintage buyer most of her life, Saintclair says that there are plenty of estate and second-hand sales around town for collectors of classic garb. “We have a great retro community here,” she says.
Michelle says she originally joined for a confidence boost, but it blossomed into new friendships. “I’ve met some really amazing people.”
Kilgo, a photographer since the ’70s, enjoys the Luscious shoots. “I like the energy they bring and the excitement,” says the 64-year-old. “It’s kinda neat to relive that era.”
Women interested in joining in on the lusciousness can visit thelusciousladies.com for details or email FloridaLusciousLadies@hotmail.com.