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From Trash Can Annie's to Hollywood

Laura Heath

A collector of vintage clothing in Davenport has close ties to Hollywood.

Laura Heath is co-owner of Trash Can Annie’s 418 E. 2 nd  St., Davenport, which has been closed to the public since last year’s historic flooding. But her 40-year passion for fashion and experience working in theater and film led her to a high-profile project last year – supplying clothes for the hit Netflix mini-series “Hollywood,” which debuted May 1st.

The Ryan Murphy-led production, which has been lauded for its glamorous, pitch-perfect costuming, is set in the 1940s, postwar Tinseltown, and creates a revisionist social history of the era. Heath – who’s run her downtown business for 22 years – has worked for shows on Broadway, Juilliard in New York, Chicago’s Steppenwolf and Goodman theaters, and provided hundreds of garments for the 1997 blockbuster film “Titanic.”

Like most of these productions, “Hollywood” came about from word of mouth - a costumer in New York City, who had been in her shop, called last July and recommended Heath to costume designer Sarah Evelyn Bram in Los Angeles. Heath loves how the authentic Netflix series looks.

“The clothing is impeccable; she did a phenomenal job. It’s interesting for me, as I watch the scenes, I remember her calling me and she didn’t use anyone’s names, she just said we need these kind of pieces for this kind of scene and this sort of thing is going on, so what kind of thing do you have that would look appropriate?”
"It was a lot of work. But since I’ve done this thing before, I understand what’s going on and how it’s done. It was just a little topsy-turvy with what was going on with the flood, and my life had basically been turned upside down.”

“The style is impeccable; it’s a nostalgic look that I love, people love. It just looks great. People are connected to it because I think a lot of people romanticize that time. If they lived it, they might not think the same.”

A Cedar Rapids native, Heath started shopping at Trash Can Annie’s when she was 14, and the store was on Brady Street. She’d visit twice a year and buy 10 to 20 pieces each time. Her favorite time periods are turn of the  20th century, late 1930s and ‘40s, and the ‘60s.

“I always had a love for textiles and early on, with my parents’ clothing and my grandparents’ clothing, I would wear their pieces. They said you can continue to wear it, as long as you take good care of it. I’ve always been that way with my clothing.”

Providing 1912-era immigrants’ clothes and undergarments for “Titanic” helped earn the James Cameron movie one of its 11 Oscars, for Best Costume Design. Heath’s name, however, never appears on screen and she doesn’t mind.

“The reasoning for me that’s not such an important thing is, the credits go by so quickly anyway, the fact of the matter for me is, I’d like our name out there so other costumers know us, through other customers. not by seeing it in credits.”

“It’s just like anything – word of mouth is the best thing.”

Trash Can Annie’s, which saved most of its inventory before the worst of last year’s flood, is looking for a new location and Heath is starting a business as a consulting stylist, helping people find the best wardrobe for them. You can find Trash Can Annie’s on Facebook and Instagram.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.