To kick off the return of Tio Trash, I wanted to pay homage to the film that launched all of my creative juices in the fashion world. Those of you who know Tio Trash, know that the film I am referring to is, Spun (see History of Tio Trash).
The gritty glam fashion featured in the film created visual beauty while portraying one of the ugliest addictions in this world. There is nothing beautiful or glamourous about meth use or a meth addiction, but to be able to tell a story about something so hideous and make it visually beautiful, is an art that I live to create.
Please understand that I am not promoting or condoning meth use or drug addiction of any kind. I am using fabulous fashions, gorgeous girls, talented make up artist, Betty Guevara, and the colors, textures and energy of our natural surroundings to tell a story of the decent into drug addiction.
And the story goes like this …
Returning Tio Trash models, Jasmine and Satanas, took on the role of best friends on a Spring Break road trip to Miami. Although the journey begins innocently enough, the girls get caught up in the fast train to Hell that goes along with crystal meth use.
Nothing beats the freedom you feel when you set out on the road to a vacation where the possibilities that await you are endless. You arrive feeling alive and like nothing wrong could ever happen. The air is different, the sun even feels different, and the only thing on your mind is careless fun and escape.
Chicago is a long ways from Miami but we staged our shoot at the campy, trampy O’Hare Motel and Kitchenette, the closest we could get to a kitschy South Beach Motel.
Miami is a place where the height of the wealthy and the bottom of the impoverished coexist in one wild, tropical paradise. Old retired businessmen in their gold Mercedes Benz cruise down the South Beach Streets with wives clad in gaudy goodness: leopard prints, tropical prints, loud gold jewelry, “Jewish Aunt” sunglasses.
Not far from the gated play pens of the rich and famous, crime life runs the Miami streets. Cadillac pimps and their fiending females trying to get by in the hustle life. Neon lights, sea side motels, teals, flamingo pinks, and colors of a Florida sunset paint the vibrant world for all of the beautiful creatures to play. Cocaine and drugs pass through hands as heavily as Chicago snow falls. Even in the filthiest crevices of Miami life, there is something so beautiful and warm, because its existence is a part of the rhythm that plays its’ sultry song.
When creating the looks to tell this story, I wanted to draw elements from the stereotypical old money South Beach kings and queens and combine them with elements from the Miami urban street life, all while keeping the colors, flavors and nature of the Floridian sea side.
In this “Welcome to Miami” look, I styled the outfits around the tie up blouses. The blatant display of Floridian “wild life” in the parrot print and flamingo print tops set the tone for a vacation adventure. The gaudy leopard, neon solids, and vintage accessories completed a wearable translation of a kitschy sea side motel.
Satanas’ “Welcome to Miami” Look:
Leopard Print Skirt: Basic stretch skirt available at – Charlotte Russe, H&M, Forever 21
Parrot Blouse: $12 – Ragstock Chicago, IL
Floral Cat Eye Shades: $10 – LoveMelrose.com
Thrift Store Scores: Vintage suitcase, clip on gold earrings
Jasmine’s “Welcome to Miami” Look:
Solid Neon Mini Skirt: Available at H&M
Flamingo Blouse: $22.80 – Forever 21
Large Round Sunglasses: $10 – LoveMelrose.com
Vintage Sea Shell Purse: $12.50 – Carson Cate’s Etsy Shop (Lot’s of great vintage treasures!)
As the girls party it up on Spring Break, they become used to the local tropical flavor, the sleepless wild nights, and the electricity of the Miami sun. With all of that adventure, even a spring breaking party girl needs some down time.
Nothing welcomes you to a tropical get away like a fresh, juicy pineapple, also the symbol for (Southern) hospitality. Pineapple prints are popping up in lots of this summers’ fashion finds.
Whether your vacation destination be fancy or low key, packing some comfy choices for R&R time is a must. I styled a simple “Miley inspired” lounge look with nothing but leggings, a crop top, and slippers. Browsing custom jewelry shops, such as Etsy always leads me to the perfect jewelry for any look. Lucky for me, I stumbled across jewelry designer, Courtney Thompson and her shop, Feisty Kitty Jewelry (unique, handmade, retro inspired jewelry). Her perfect pair of pineapple earrings were just the little pop I needed to add some life to this lounge look.
Hot pants and slippers are how every trailer park trophy wife stays comfy. Add a ruffly pineapple print tank and it you are one fine Miami motel mama!
Satanas’ Lounge Look:
White Crop Top: $12 – Forever 21
Flip Flop Slippers: $7 – Walmart
Pineapple Leggings: $20 – LoveMelrose.com
Pineapple Earrings: $15 – FeistyKittyJewelry – Etsy Shop
Jasmine’s Lounge Look:
Stretchy Denim Hot Pants: $20 – Lovers Lane
Pineapple Ruffle Tank: $20 – LoveMelrose.com
Flip Flop Slippers: $7 – Walmart
Assorted jewelry: Atomic Lace lightening bolt earrings, OMG necklace – Beatnix Chicago.
…. It looks like the girls had too much down time. As they say, idle hands are the devil’s work shop …
This might look like an asinine America’s Next Top Model challenge shoot, but unfortunately it is our young starlets, sliding down the black hole of crystal meth. No drug destroys a beautiful soul, mind and face as drastically and quickly as crystal meth.
Even though meth is usually cooked with a combination of cold meds, battery acid, drain cleaner, lantern fuel and antifreeze, the physical effects of methamphetamines still seem to shock people. This intake of deadly chemicals might make the user feel powerful, fearless and immortal, but the physical effects suggest the opposites. Crystal meth destroys tissues and blood flow to the skin, acne, slow healing sores, loss of skin elasticity, tooth decay, and a large number of other complications that destroy thousands of beautiful faces with every use.
Because the physical damages caused by meth use are a fast progression, I wanted to show this progression in our story. Crazy-talented Chicago make up artist, Betty Guevara, started our models out with fresh glam faces of 60’s style make up. As the “meth use” begins and progresses in the photos, Betty transformed these beauties into the shocking, walking horrors of tweaker life. In this look, she began the transcendence into “Meth Face”, and the progressive transformation she created is jarringly life like.
A tweaker never seems to sleep and the blackened eyes are a beginning sign of the crystal downfall.
Body suits are a tricky pull off, but increasingly popular in current trends. In consistency with the colors and elements for my looks, I wanted to choose pieces with bold neon colors, like the downtown city lights at night. This Forever 21 body suit captures a retro vibe and the neon lights of a Miami Spring Break from the somebody’s favorite memories. Paired with an acid washed denim skater skirt, leopard platforms, and flavorful jewelry, this outfit highlights a wide array of lives from the local scene.
It’s almost cruel to pair the adorable jewelry creations from Feisty Kitty Jewelry with a crystal meth themed shoot, but if you must tweak, at least stay chic. That flamingo ring is all kinds of cute!
I am not much of a fan of American Apparel; too much money, not enough life. However, I cannot pass up on a good basic staple piece when I am in a bind, and this leopard body suit is perfection.
In real life, a cardinal rule of fashion and design is to never mix floral and animal prints. But in Miami, when you strive for that gaudy South Beach swag, leopard and floral is a MUST. A fitted floral skirt, sea foam teal + vintage accessories, and a stark white pair of stripper stilettos create a look fabulous enough for Miss Miami herself.
Foiled and Spoiled.
Satanas’ “Tweaker Chic” Look:
Neon Body Suit: $8 – Forever 21
Acid Wash Skater Skirt – UrbanOG.com
Leopard Platforms: Target
Assorted Jewelry: Flamingo Ring by Feisty Kitty Jewelry, Gold Hoops Beatnix Chicago
Jasmine’s “Tweaker Chic” Look:
Leopard Body Suit: American Apparel
Floral Skirt: $10 – LoveMelrose.com
Red Cat Eye Shades: $12 – Target
Seahorse Earrings: $12 – FeistyKittyJewelry – Etsy Shop
When addiction sets in, the only thing that matters is getting more. More. MORE. One will go to any lengths necessary to get that fix.
Workin’ the street, platforms on their feet. Pulling tricks to get a fix.
The prices go down and the bets go up in that crystal world.
Wanting ice, at any price.
Crop tops and bralets are an adorable summer look. They are perfect for the beach, the club, or an afternoon in the sun. I was in search of a floral / tropical print bralet, when unforeseen luck at Ragstock (Chicago, IL) gifted me with this flamingo/palm tree/Miami skyline printed top for $7. I couldn’t dream up a print more apropos. The pink accessories and pink flamingo earrings from Forever 21 amped up the cuteness factor to which I balanced with hot pants and layers of ghetto gold. I wanted this look to say, “I’m adorable, but I will still do unspeakable acts for less than $20.”
Workin’ it like a motel mistress.
In an outfit fit for a South Beach tennis court princess, she’s willing to sell her soul and all her gold. No Mercedes for these ladies.
When there’s nothing left, gold can be sold.
Stark white fabrics on tan skin and toned bodies is a Miami signature look for any walk of life. The preppy white skater skirt and gold Mercedes earrings steal a glimpse of that old retired couple made of millions. The Forever 21 “South Beach” crop top, another perfect find, brings in the vintage sea side kitsch, and the ice cold ghetto gold brings the thug life to the over all look.
Satanas’ “Geekin’ for Gold” Look:
Flamingo / Miami Bralet: $7 – Ragstock Chicago, IL
Flamingo Earrings: $8.50 – Forever 21
Misc. Gold Jewelry: Beatnix Chicago, Forever 21, Charlotte Russe
Jasmine’s “Geekin’ for Gold” look:
South Beach Crop Top: $12 – Forever 21
Stark White Skater Skirt: $7.50 – LoveMelrose.com
Mercedes Earrings/Dollar Sign Chain: Beatnix Chicago
Gold Stilettos: DSW
Don’t do meth. EVER.
This project was one I had “cooking” in my mind for a long time and it was probably the most fun I have EVER had on a shoot!
HUGE infinite thank you’s to the lovely ladies involved, aka my “dream team”, this shoot would never have happened without their creative talents, visions, trust and amazing attitudes!
I was thrilled to be able to feature the beautiful models, Jasmine and Satanas, both returning models to Tio Trash. Not only did these ladies kick ass at modeling, but they brought the shoot to life with their ideas and liveliness. Only these two could make a tore up tweaker face look sexy and fierce!
I was also so lucky and thankful to be introduced to hair and make up artist, Betty Guevara. Starting with perfect pinup hair do’s and faces, she slowly transformed these classic beauties into unrecognizable monsters of meth. This was her first time ever being asked to do a “meth face”, and she nailed it beyond reality! I still get goosebumps looking at the photos of the faces she created! Not only did Betty tweak out the team, she brought so much positive energy, creative vision and brilliant styling to each shot. (More info on Betty coming soon!)
This was a shoot that was about more than just creating hot, unique looks. This shoot told a story that is very controversial and difficult to look at. Meth addiction and the horrific problems that accompany it are not anything to glamorize or be taken lightly. To create art using the darkest and the most hideous parts of life and force them into visions using beauty, color, and light, we can get a result that forces us to acknowledge the grit in life and the beauty that still lives within the broken.
I am so excited for another great Tio Trash summer and I will never forget this incredible shoot!