A lot of people tell you to follow your passion and pursue the things you love. But what if you can’t actually figure out what the heck that is?
I pondered that question a couple months ago while searching for pictures of “bad” prom dresses for a Dos and Don’ts of Prom article I was assigned to write while interning for a stylist in NY (ooh, doesn’t that sound all fancy?). When the article was done I went back and removed my name from the byline, preferring it just be credited to some enigmatic ghost blogger, as opposed to me. I’m the girl who’s supposed to be the almighty cheerleader of alternative fashion, and firmly believes that fashion “don’ts” dont actually exist. Afterward I pushed my computer aside and took a moment to ask myself What are you doing? Like seriously, what are you doing?
I haven’t been updating enough lately, I know. I’m gearing up for a move so I’ve been spending the last few weeks doing fun things like sorting through all my crap, finding good homes for my unwanted stuff (I needed to make sure my tutus and spiked bras found homes with fabulous people), and trying to consolidate my large costume and prop collection so it can be moved with little to no hassle.
Those boring details aside, I have been up to other stuff. One of the things I’ve been doing, besides not updating the blog, is practicing with the band Astorian Stigmata, since I signed on as their live show keyboardist a couple of months back. You’ve seen the dudes before–they pop up in a lot of posts and photoshoots, so you might already be familiar with the fact that their general aesthetic is sort of like…dark Neo-Victorian gone mad…or maybe romantic goth meets visual kei. Either way, when they asked me to be part of a lyric video for their song “Twilight Lullaby” I rolled with those general ideas. I had just a day to put an outfit together so I blasted some Emilie Autumn, gathered every bit of black, red, and tattered fabric I could find, and got to work.
These are casual outfit shots we took prior to filming, as opposed to a preplanned thematic photo set, but I think there is a cool, kind of chaotic quality to them [Photos by Dennis Condusta]. The outfit somewhat resembles what I wore for this previous shoot, but way more amped up and crazed.
The hat comes from FanplusFriend Garden, the corset Heavy Red, and the boots Dr. Martens. The wig comes from my go-to shop, Gothic Lolita Wigs, the gloves are from Hot Topic, and the lipstick is Lime Crime.
It’s hard to know where to start. I’m almost tempted to say “what happens at AnimeNext, stays at AnimeNext,” or “the first rule of anime conventions: don’t talk about anime conventions.” But I won’t cop out, especially since I took so many pics of my adventures. Though even with a full con recap, there are still some things that can’t truly be explained, and you just had to see for yourself. For example, watching Link and Hello Kitty have a krump-off while two young vocaloids squeeled with glee from the sidelines is the kind of stuff dreams are made of. And cosplay burlesque–I definitely didn’t expect to see Richter Belmont whipping the clothes off of sexy vampires, or April O’ Neil gyrating in turtle pasties…
Atmosphere, Events, and Antics
I take it for granted that people reading this already know what an anime con is, but if not, it’s basically a convention for all things relating to Japanese animation, manga (Japanese comics), gaming, and even branching out to include Japanese music, fashion, and some Korean pop culture. I’ve been to regular comic conventions in the past, but this is not the same, with the glaring difference being the amount of cosplay. If you don’t show up in costume, you’re in the minority.
The Black Diamond Bridge is pretty much visual perfection, so I was glad to finally utilize it in a shoot where I was behind the camera. This may have been one of my favorite shoots. There wasn’t too much pre-planning; people showed up, I threw some wardrobe options all over the floor, we winged the makeup and the only concrete plan was “we’ll shoot on the bridge,” which I think was to our benefit. I’m starting to realize there can definitely be such a thing as too much planning, and sometimes there’s a sense of satisfaction that comes with figuring things out along the way.
I’ve talked about dress up dolls before, but that was about a year ago, when I was still in the midst of my addiction. Some people have cigarettes, other people social networking, and I had an incessant desire to play dress up games. And it’s not even like you win anything, I just had an insatiable compulsion to style. But whatever, it happens (does it?), and I’ve since faced my problem and cut down my dress-up gaming to maybe once or twice a month. I’ve become substantially more discerning as well–no more spending precious free time all too thoughtfully trying to decide what kind of shirt to place on Tracey Morgan (yes, even Tracey Morgan has his own fashion game).
One of the best things about playing these games is seeing some of the bigger sites try to seem “in the know” in terms of alternative styles, which results in cringe-worthy choices at times–like a Pink Floyd tee appearing in a street punk dress up game (yes, street punk dress up games exist as well) or the distracting fact that a large majority of dress up sites have an “Emo” style category. Is that really still a thing? Didn’t the stylized emo culture just morph into some murky thing involving dubstep and bronies? I don’t, maybe for another blog post entirely…
2012 was all about running around putting makeup on boys, styling shoots, working with new photographers, throwing theme parties, and fiiinally stepping behind the camera. There were so many pics taken this year I couldn’t possibly post them all, but before moving on to the new projects of 2013, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite candids, “oops” moments, unused images, as well as pics from my mysterious first ever photoshoot that never saw the light of day (due to a stupid ass minor error on my part).
It’s that time of year again–time for my hand-picked gift guide, which I hope will help you as you rack your brain figuring out what to buy for all your friends with wicked style (yes, this is just catered to people with wicked style–for help buying gifts for everyone else, go look at someone else’s gift guide). And okay, I couldn’t cover every base. If I had more time I’d find giftspiration for burlesque chicks, visual kei kids, otakus, etc…but c’mon, it’s already December 5th, and you/me/we don’t have all damn day! So just check out what I’ve got for ya…
For the Accessories Whore: Tough Love Clutch by Nasty Gal
For the Sexy Nerdo: Star Wars Bralette and Knicker Set by Licorice and Cream
Have you picked your Halloween costume yet? I don’t really have one big costume planned–I’ll probably be Lydia Deetz on Halloween, a dead Victorian a few days before, and since I just picked up a set of custom-fitted fangs, I assume I’ll be transforming into a vampire throughout October and beyond…
Dia De Los Muertos costumes… I guess that’s getting to be kind of overdone by now, but that doesn’t make this wig by Candy Crypt any less awesome.
Even though I’m already settled on my plans, I realize not everyone makes their Halloween plans as far in advance as I do. I collected a few of my favorite looks, and for those of you who’ve been putting things off to the last minute, hopefully these will offer you a bit of inspiration.
The inspiration for every shoot starts with a single piece. I picked up a three-tiered bustle burlesque skirt at an epic shop in Chicago–brimming with corsets, top hats, wigs, theatrical makeup–that I sadly can’t recall the name of. But as soon as I picked up the skirt, I knew I wanted to create a duo of dark, circus-y traveling goth performers.
This shoot was a bit more work than ones I’ve done in the past. Besides handling the styling for two people, I made the accessories and props, and it was my first time working with a new photographer–my long-time friend, Cassie McDonald. The weather was pretty uncooperatively rainy and goth that day, but despite that, we came out with some great results.