There are few things creepier than an old (antique) porcelain doll; death frozen on her face, secrets sealed behind her glassy eyes. Strange and beautiful, this little creature remains as cold as death, but seems to have a life of it’s own …
Inspired by a combination of “Lolita” style dresses, lace, little lost ghost girls, and looks by Lana Del Rey, I created a chilling look for October, the month where the veil between our world and the other world is the thinnest. Follow these simple ideas to create a “deathly doll” look that will linger with every step you take.
Lively Tio Trash model, Jasmine, underwent a ghostly make over to become a perfect deathly doll. To get this ghostly complexion, I powdered her face in white and used “mauvey” eyeshadows to contour. For her deep set eyes, I recreated an exaggerated version of Lana Del Rey’s haunting signature eye make up; nude base, dark crease, thick liner, and long lashes.
White is always a ghostly color, by adding vintage style “pearl” cross necklace and earrings (from Forever 21), you can add a timeless touch to any simple frock.
To begin our adventure, I wanted to select the perfect cemetery to conduct this shoot. In my very own neighborhood, we found the famous Graceland Cemetery. This 190 acre cemetery was established in 1860 and is now the home of many Chicago legends, as well as wandering souls. After learning that Graceland cemetery is named one of the top haunted locations of Chicago, we wanted to be as respectful as we could be during our shoot, but I wasn’t surprised to stir up some activity. We thank the Graceland Cemetery, and it’s “residents” for hosting Tio Trash, on this sinister shoot.
For very interesting history and information on the Graceland Cemetery, CLICK HERE.
In a soft pink baby doll dress from H&M, Jasmine prances through the Graceland Cemetery, looking like a lost little girl, playing between two worlds. Baby doll dresses are appearing in all colors, but you should dig from a dim and neutral palette to achieve ghostly glamour; cream, beige, ivory, light pink, etc.
Cameos, pearls and rusty gold make the best accessories for a haunting look. If you do not have access to any old antiques or vintage jewelry of your own, all of your modern day jewelry suppliers, like Forever 21 and Charming Charlie’s are keeping cameos and other old favorites alive.
I chose to pair this dress with brown combat boots, fully laced up to add an “eternal youth” to the look, rather than an adult sophistication that heels would bring. The laced up boots make the appearance more “doll like”. To dress this up, ankle boots with small heels or Mary Janes with small heels would add the timeless and youthful elements to this ghostly get up.
Because Chicago Octobers can have weather that flip flops between summer and winter temps, wool tights or knee socks are the choice way to warm up this dress for the chilliest October nights.
Jasmine poses, like a wavering spirit atop a beautiful mausoleum deep inside Graceland Cemetery.
One of the most iconic dolls of death, is the beloved Wednesday Adams character. I wanted to created a playful innocent look, a sort of Catholic “School Ghoul” (hahaha). For the school girl look, knee socks will always to the trick.
This black and white shift dress, which I fondly refer to as my “nun dress”, was an amazing Target find. If you don’t care for the shapeless cut, do the ol’ belt trick to add the desired waist line. I chose to use a white belt in order to create a pop, while keeping color to a minimum.
I adore the plainness and simplicity of the dress, only because it allows me to dress it up myself. A co-worker of mine brought me back this exquisite spiked “collar necklace” from a trip to Hungary, but you can find this trend almost anywhere. The collar necklace is perfect for a plain shapeless dress like this one to bring it to life ( … no pun intended).
To accessorize, I paired the dress with my spiked shoes (a Buffalo Exchange find), a spiked cuff, a cameo ring, black rose earrings (all from Forever 21), the adorable “Game Over” ring from the fabulous, Atomic Lace and the most deliciously creepy human molar ring from Etsy (purchased so long ago, I no lover know the shop name).
While posing next to this beautiful ivy covered stone, Jasmine could not get comfortable for a shot. Getting goosebumbs and an uneasy feeling, we gave up on capturing this strange stone. It wasn’t until I loaded the photos that her reactions made sense to me! Below the obvious lens flare, two little orbs are making a Tio Trash debut. We don’t know the story of this plot, or whether or not we were welcomed, but it’s clear that we stirred up some life throughout the day, and the orbs made great models!
Obviously, Jasmine was a better model, especially for being such a good sport about all of these creepy interactions with the plots!
The dearly departed, J.K. Steward hosted the photos for our last look at his grand and strong mausoleum, a sign of importance and wealth.
This delicate ivory lace dress is actually a 2 piece vintage wedding dress. Little lace dresses are easy to find right now thanks in part to Lana Del Rey; I have found several at H&M this season. If you can get your hands on some antique or vintage lace, it is all the better. The color and the ruffled collar were deathly perfection for putting together a porcelain doll look.
I stifled the richness of the lace and the silk with harsh and stiff black pieces; the vest and the combat boots. Although the dress is beautiful on its’ own, I did not want to create a “zombie bride” look, but rather a structured outfit that belongs to no era in particular.
Because of the busy textures and layering, not a lot of jewelry was needed for this. As morbid as the outfit is, I added a stroke of humor and irony in the plastic clock ring (Buffalo Exchange) and the S&M necklace from Miss May’s Creations (Etsy).
And what do we have in the top left corner of the mausoleum? Bad lighting? Fog? Or perhaps, J.K. Stewart himself … ?
Millions of thank you’s to the beautiful, Jasmine, for delivering another amazing shoot! You know this girl can pull it all off when she can make death look so stunning and elegant. Not to mention, I almost got her locked in the cemetery all night … yes, we had quite the adventure!
Visit Jasmine’s “Meet the Models” profile for more information!
Styling, Hair, Make Up: Beth Hillstrom – ME!
Photography/Editing: Beth Hillstrom
Location: Graceland Cemetery (Chicago, IL)
Keep coming back for more harrowing Halloween glam ALL MONTH LONG!
Stay trashy, stay alive!