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Category Archive for Alternative Canada

Snowman New York designer puffer coats, Underground England boots. Off to South America with LATAM!

snowman ny alex city snow coat

If the Ice Age arrives, I’m ready to face the cold in style.

Introducing my sweet Snowman New York coat in a photoshoot by the beach (Spanish Banks in Vancouver, BC).

And I’m thrilled to announce my next destination, which I’ve been dreaming about for years…

easter island head statues

Hail, stone heads! Soon, I’ll be on this alien-like island that looks like a level from Mario World.

Read on to see where I’m heading this spring, on a dream journey with LATAM Airlines!

slim fitted designer luxury puffer

First, some photos from home. I’m always on the search for stylish coats that keep me warm. Down-filled puffer jackets are the most functional option, but they tend to be bulky and unflattering.

What a relief to discover Snowman New York. (I’m wearing this exact coat.) The NY-based indie brand creates luxury outerwear with slim, flattering lines and fashion-forward detailing. At the same time, these coats are filled with 90/10 premium down that will keep you feeling toasty.

snowman new york luxury outerwear

I’m wearing theAlex City Snow” by Snowman NY. The 3/4 length coat is animal-friendly, and comes in both black and white. I adore the knit sleeve hems and large collar, which I can wrap around my face and secure with a snap button.

designer winter down coats

Close-up on their cute logo, which looks like an abstract snowman! The coat shell is made from water-resistant nylon, with a low feather shed and both zipper and snap button closures.

snowman new york winter coat

I’m glad to finally find a puffer with an hourglass waist and modern detailing, and no added bulk. Snowman’s edgy designs also go well with street-style and Gothic outfits. It’s amazing that I can wear a t-shirt underneath, and not feel cold.

See more designs from Snowman New York here. 

japanese post punk tshirt top

I styled my jacket with round, minimalist sunglasses by Edwardson Eyewear. They’re a French-Swiss independent brand that creates high-end glasses.

My hat and skirt are by Long Clothing. If you can read katakana, you’ll know my top says “Post Punk” in Japanese. It’s by Underground England — I’m also wearing their shoes…

underground boots petrol patent dogstar

Underground’s petrol patent Dogstar Jungle boots are my current favorites! I can’t get enough of the iridescent, oil slick look. At the same time, these stomper ankle boots are easy to walk around in, and match all types of outfits.

The Jungle collection comes in a variety of skins, including silver, white, and vegan. I have the Petrol Patents; as you can see in my Instagram video, the light reflects different rainbow colors! 

underground england goth shoes boots

Underground Shoes was established in Manchester, UK in 1981. Their designs are influenced by the thriving local subcultures and music — particularly punk, post punk, Gothic and New Romantic.

To this day, they produce eye-catching alternative footwear like creepers, platform sneakers, steel caps, winklepickers. Underground England also makes apparel, and can customize shoes with special finishes.

underground shoes patent leather creepers

These boots are part of Underground’s “soundwave” collection, inspired by the oscillation of musical patterns. This visualization comes across in the shape of the sole, with a signature oversize cleat and tread.

Fancy a pair of shoes from this company? Find out more below:

rainbow goth fashion dolls kill

Since we’re on the subject of alt fashion, I thought I’d share some of my favorite new designs for spring. As the sun comes out, it’s a great time to refresh your wardrobe with rainbow colors. Wouldn’t these be perfect for a fairy kei, pastel Goth or kawaii decora look?

1 – Rainbow cardigan (these links lead to where you can get them!)
2 – Sugar Thrillz metallic moto jacket
3 – Pastel furry coat – vegan friendly!
4 – Colorful platforms – sneakers with a colorful heel.

Plus more below; just click the thumbnails to see:

demonia trinity rave gothic boots pink yellow

Also, a public service announcement: these Demonia Trinity platform boots just got released! With a 5.5 inch platform heel and buckle straps all along the front, these are the OG of Goth footwear. Which would you wear — candy rave or classic Gothic?

1 – I want the pink platform boots
2 – Yellow Demonias for me
3- Can’t go wrong with black knee high boots

nintendo fashion boo ghost shirt

Finally… it’s-ah me, Mario! I’m a life-long Nintendo fan, so this new collection is giving me life.

1 – Boo ghost top (this is my favorite character)
2 – Power-up mushrooms shirt
3 – Princess Peach purse (love the pixel design)
4 – Yoshi egg cap

easter island moai stone statues

And now, I’m off on possibly the most epic trip of my lifetime. Believe it or not, I’ve never been to South America, and I’ve said a million times that my dream destination is Easter Island.

This April, it’s happening! I’m partnering with LATAM Airlines to bring you travel stories from Argentina, Brazil, and Chile — including the isle of the mysterious moai statues. (Cue the Easter Island emoji 🗿 )

rio spaceship building museum brazil

South America has been on my radar for a long time. I’m curious about the futuristic architecture of Rio and Sao Paulo (above, the Niteroi contemporary art museum designed by Oscar Niemeyer… or extraterrestrials). I can’t wait to discover the street art and youth culture of Santiago, Valparaiso, and Buenos Aires.

And how crazy will it be to stand in front of the stone faces of Easter Island? (Above photos via Wikicommons.)

elizabeth wurtzel writer author cancer

I’m looking forward to traveling in Brazil with my long-time friend, Elizabeth Wurtzel. Can’t wait to catch up and explore.

(If you haven’t read her works, check out her latest book Creatocracy, as well as the bestsellers Prozac Nation, Bitch, and More, Now, Again.)

silver goth dress gold lipstick

If you have travel tips for us, please let us know in the comments. I’ll be sharing daily updates from my LATAM South American journey on Instagram stories; add me here @lacarmina for the first look. Til then, adiós!

(Photos above from my Auxiliary Magazine cover shoot. Thank you to photographer Patrick Parenteau, makeup artist Jennifer Little, hair stylist Stephanie Hoy; dress by Iron Fist.)

Finally, I updated my travel TV show hosting reel — see it above or here. My TV host / presenter / production demo clips include NHK Japan (Kawaii TV, NY Wave), Discovery (Oddities), National Geographic (Taboo, Roam), Food Network (World’s Weirdest Restaurants), Travel Channel (Bizarre Foods, No Reservations promo, Could I Live There), “CBS The Doctors,” “NBC Today Show,” “CNN”, “ABC Nightline” and international networks (Canal Plus, Pro Sieben, Norway TV).

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Takashi Murakami: Japanese kawaii exhibit at Vancouver Art Gallery! Hello Kitty Taipei airport lounge & gift shop.

Takashi Murakami vancouver art gallery flowers

When one of your favorite Japanese artists is in town… It’s time to get trippy!

If you love manga, anime and “kawaii” Japanese pop culture, then head down the rabbit hole to Takashi Murakami’s exhibit at Vancouver Art Gallery.

octopus tentacles japanese art murakami

For the first time, Murakami’s major works have come to Canada. Over 50 pieces spanning three decades are currently on display at VAG (from Feb 2 to May 6, 2018).

The retrospective is titled “The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg,” so get ready to dive into a world of tentacles.

taiwan sanrio terminal lounge

Read on to the end of this story, where I’ll also share photos of the Hello Kitty airport lounge in Taipei (since we’re on the topic of Japanese pop-cute). It’s definitely the world’s weirdest airline lounge, featuring Sanrio characters!

takashipom octopus eats own leg exhibit

Murakami Takashi (村上 隆) is one of Japan’s most intriguing contemporary artists. You might recognize his smiling flowers and cartoon bears, which were on the cover of a Kanye West album and Louis Vuitton purses.

However, as I found out from this exhibit, Murakami’s artistic tentacles reach far deeper than pop commentary on consumer culture. The exhibition’s title, “The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg,” refers to a Japanese parable where the creature survives by sacrificing parts of himself. In this way, “Takashipom” consumes his native history and spirituality, transforming them into colorful new visions. 

vancouver art gallery murakami exhibition

The Vancouver Art Gallery went all-out to welcome Murakami. Each window is plastered with happy flower decals, and the rotunda looks like it’s been attacked by a pink and blue cephalopod, Godzilla-style. The artist himself came here for the opening, dressed in a tentacles-hat for the occasion.

rainbow candy raver kawaii decora

The Murakami exhibition is already an immense success, drawing in queues of visitors. Instead of spending time in line, I recommend that you purchase a ticket in advance from the Vancouver Art Gallery website (it lets you choose the specific date of your visit.) You may also want to aim for a weekday visit, since the space was packed over the weekend.

The Japanese artist is known for his eccentric outfits. I was pleased to see that a few visitors dressed up for the occasion; I loved this girl’s Harajuku decora candy style.

murakami octopus paintings sculpture

During the grey winter months, it’s a joy to wander among giant neon paintings with friends.

Murakami’s best-known works are influenced by Japanese “kawaii’ (big-eyed, round cuteness), with nods to anime, manga and otaku culture. However, these critters always have a deadly or bizarre twist

japanese kawaii weird murakami sculptures

The exhibition spans several huge rooms, and includes wall-sized works and ceiling-high sculptures. Many feature Mr. Dob, his cute character who is a bit like Hello Kitty meets Mickey Mouse.

In his 3D work “DOB in The Strange Forest,” Murakami surrounds the innocent mouse-bear with seeing-eyed mushrooms. In the back, he’s become an unhinged monster spewing vomit (the painting is called “Tan Tan Bo Puking.”)

murakami colorful art bears

The mutant Mr. Dob reflects on how icons can run amok, hiding sharp fang beneath inviting surfaces. Despite this commentary on consumerism, Mr. Dob has (ironically? purposefully?) become a popular design on Louis Vuitton bags and other branded designer goods.

(Click the images below to see Murakami’s art x commerce collaborations):

smiling happy rainbow flowers murakami

Anyone can take photos inside the exhibition, which makes it highly Instagrammable. One of the most popular selfie-spots is in front of this happy floral wall. Murakami once described these flowers as making him “feel almost physically sick, and at the same time I found them very cute.”

smiling flowers flower ball murakami painting

We’re mesmerized by “Flower Ball.” As Ben mused, “Where does art end, and wallpaper begin?”

superflat mr dob anime art murakami

Murakami is best known for his “Superflat” high-meets-low, 2D pop imagery. However, he explores many other facets of Japanese culture in other works, often with a darker vibe.

red demon sculpture takashi murakami

One of the most powerful rooms held towering red and blue demon totems (Embodiment of “A” and Embodiment of “Um”). These statues imagine a present-day belief system, built on ancient myths and folklore.

famous contemporary modern japan artist

Murakami was devastated by the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. The tragedy inspired a new direction in his art: he drew upon Japan’s cultural heritage to create spiritual narratives.

murakami 500 arhats buddhist artwork

One of these masterpieces from this era is on display: a 10-panel painting called “The 100 Arhats.” It was painstakingly made by layering hundreds of silk screens, and depicts Buddhist monks who roamed Japan and helped enlighten people.

murakami lions skulls painting

Many of Murakami’s works are inspired by “Nihonga,” the late 19th century fusion of Western and Japanese artistic techniques. In the above work, “Of Chinese Lions, Peonies, Skulls and Fountains”, he illustrates the legend of the lion who guards Buddhist temples. The cute baby cub and rainbow stream of skulls made it one of my favorites.

takashi murakami rare works blue dragon

Murakami’s works are big, in terms of both size and concept. This is “Dragon in Clouds – Indigo Blue”, a re-imagining of a 1763 Japanese fantasy painting by Soga Shohaku.

japanese tentacles octopus statue

Takashi Murakami is often compared to Andy Warhol. The Japanese artist is better received outside of his homeland, where some deride him for being too commercial/marketing oriented. Personally, I think these detractors are only skimming the surface; both artists made provocative works that went far deeper than soup cans and smiley flowers.

vancouver canada murakami takashi gallery

Intrigued? I encourage you to come out to Vancouver Art Gallery to see Murakami’s works in person. There’s no other way to get a full sense of his scale and impact.

murakami octopus stuffed toy plush

Exit through the gift store... There’s a selection of pins, toys, prints and more. This demented octopus plush caught our eye. Looks like something that Charles Manson might embrace.

smiling flower pillow murakami decor

Have you heard of Takashi Murakami? Are you also a fan of his work? (You can browse his fashion designs below:)

mary wyatt london, edwardson eyewear sunglasses

A final close-up of Murakami’s flowers (note the tiny faces), and my outfit of the day. My red 90s beret and Domination top are by Mary Wyatt London. My round minimalist sunglasses are Edwardson Eyewear.

bulgari serpenti silver leather wrap bracelet jewelry

I’m also loving my new Bulgari Serpenti metallic leather bracelet, which matches my snake plant! I only wear jewelry with edge; the ring is Alex Streeter. (More Blvgari bracelets below):

hello kitty airport lounge

Since we’re on the subject of “kawaii” culture… I thought I’d end with photos I took during a stopover, at Taipei’s Taoyuan Airport. If you go to Terminal 2, gate C3… you’ll discover a Hello Kitty airport lounge! 

hello kitty playground, kids park

Although Hello Kitty is from Japan, the mouth-less cat is popular all over Asia. Taiwan loves her so much that they have an airport lounge in her name. The large waiting area has plenty of seats, a kid’s play area, and a nursing station featuring images of baby Kitty and Daniel.

hello kitty themed airport

Taiwan’s Eva Air even launched a Hello Kitty jet, which mainly flies routes to Japan. Everything about the flight is in her likeness: the tickets, staff outfits, food, and art on the side of the airplane. (The Hello Kitty plane was so popular that EVA Airlines now also has Pokemon and Gudetama themed flights.)

taoyuan airport taiwan hello kitty

In Taipei’s airport lounge, Hello Kitty is depicted as a world traveller. We see her wearing pilot goggles, and toting a suitcase behind her with a wink. The murals show the cat flying on her pink airplane to Sydney, India, New York, Rome and Paris.

hello kitty airport gate, nursing room

These pictures are pretty accurate if you think of it… Since Sanrio launched her in 1974, Hello Kitty has taken over the world. I see merchandise with her face on it everywhere I travel.

eva air hello kitty airplane

I filmed an Instagram video here that shows you more of the pink, ridiculous terminal. Is this Hello Kitty heaven… or hell? That’s all up to you.

Hello Kitty Dream World store

Right next door is the ultimate gift store, aptly named Hello Kitty Dream World. Taiwan Taoyuan airport has a few Sanrio shops, and they’re open from early morning to late evening.

taipei airport hello kitty shop

“I like to stop at the duty free shop!” Especially when it’s filled with rare Hello Kitty and Sanrio character goods. I was tempted to get stationery, stuffed toys, jewelry, backpacks, kitchen items…

taiwan sanrio stores souvenirs

Hello Kitty isn’t just for children. Sanrio has released multiple designer fashion and jewelry collaborations. I’m eyeing this Hello Kitty sequin dress, cashmere sweater and more below…

taiwan taoyuan airport sanrio

Over the years, Sanrio has added more adorable animals to the family. Above is Bad Badtz Maru, Pompompurin, Cinnamon Roll and My Melody.

hello kitty airport store shop

Some of the character items are on the weird side. I need a Hello Kitty robot cleaner in my life…

taipei airport hello kitty

If you’re planning a trip to Taipei or doing a layover, look out for the Hello Kitty lounge in Taoyuan Airport (Terminal 2, section C3).

plush toys hello kitty dolls

I grew up with Hello Kitty, so I’ll always have a soft spot for her. How about you?

And what do you think of Takashi Murakami’s mind-bending exhibit?

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Twin Peaks themed bar & restaurant, The Black Lodge Vancouver! Strathberry East/West crossbody handbag.

the black lodge twin peaks restaurant

Twin Peaks fans, this one’s for you. Did you know there’s a restaurant and bar in Vancouver… inspired by David Lynch’s cult TV series?

It’s called The Black Lodge, and as you’ll see, it deserves a whole lot of thumbs up.

Read on for photos of inside the Twin Peaks theme restaurant including a Red Room, cocktails named after show characters, and of course — damn fine coffee with cherry pie. 

strathberry black leather crossbody purse

Since many of you loved my Instagram preview, I’ll also unveil my new East/West crossbody beauty from Strathberry. They’re my favorite handbag designer for obvious reasons: clean, minimal, handcrafted perfection! More about these purses below:

laura palmer book, twin peaks cocktails

The Black Lodge has been a hidden gem in my hometown (Vancouver) for some time. After the success of their first location, the owners set up a second, larger restaurant on Broadway near Main Street, which I visited on David Lynch’s birthday.

My friends and I are fans of Twin Peaks, the 1990-1991 mystery TV series that returned for a season last year. It’s a favorite among Goth / horror fans, and one of director Lynch’s most celebrated works. The plot opens with the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer, and spirals into an addictive web of camp, surrealism, drama and the supernatural.

Broadway Black Lodge address: 317 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC, Canada. The old location is also open, at 630 Kingsway.

red room twin peaks theme bar restaurant

In the story, special agent Dale Cooper learns that the Ghostwood Forest holds the entrance to two extra-dimensional realms: The Black Lodge (a place of evil) and White Lodge (a place of goodness). Rob and I love how the restaurant is named after the dark, Gothic dimension.

The TV show’s lodges are connected by a room with zigzag black and white floors, red curtains, and bright spotlights. As you can see, the restaurant’s bathroom and hallway look just like the Twin Peaks Red Room!

black lodge broadway vancouver bc canada

The Black Lodge’s owners, Brad MacKinnon and Claire Wyrostok, are independent business owners who truly put their passion into their restaurants. Brad and Claire adore Twin Peaks, and when they got city approval for the restaurant’s name, the theme took on a life of its own.

Today, Peakers (hardcore fans) even make Lynchian pilgrimages up from California, to see the show’s Pacific Northwest shooting locations and visit this bar.

entrance logo sign black lodge twin peaks

Outside the new location, you can see The Black Lodge sign beckoning mysteriously.

The atmosphere recalls the words of Deputy Hawk: “There is a legend of a place called the Black Lodge… every spirit must pass through there on the way to perfection. There, you will meet your own shadow self… But it is said, if you confront the Black Lodge with imperfect courage, it will utterly annihilate your soul.”

black lodge vancouver menu food

Rob was amply prepared to cross the dark threshold, with his custom ring and tattoos featuring the Twin Peaks sigil! He’s also wearing a t-shirt based on the series, which you can see in the image below.

The Black Lodge has an extensive food and drinks menu. We eyed the list of over a dozen special cocktails, all named after Twin Peaks references. 

Above, Rob is holding a “Blue Rose” mixed with Beefeater gin, curacao and Aquafava. On the left is Ben’s “Double R” — coffee infused genever and sherry. Indeed, it was a “damn good coffee,” “black as midnight on a moonless night!”

twin peaks themed restaurant drinks

I prefer drinks on the smokier, not-sweet, “old man” side. My personal favorites were the “Fire in the Mill” (rosemary gin, scotch, ginger, lemon, bitters), “Wally Brando” (brandy, chartreuse and grenadine), and “Ghostwood Forest” (infused gin and tonic with muddled rosemary).

For something on the sweeter side, try the outstanding Lynch-burg Lemonade on the left (triple sec, Jack Daniel’s and mint).

vancouver black lodge, vegetarian restaurant

The Black Lodge serves hearty comfort food, all of it vegan or vegetarian. I tried the B.A.L.T sandwich, and it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The “bacon” is house-made with coconut, and I couldn’t tell it from the real deal. Paired with avocado, sprouts, tomato, cheddar, dijon and garlic aioli… it was creamy crunchy heaven.

twin peaks garmonbozia recipe dish

There are many indulgent dishes that you can share, including curry poutine, nachos, vegan drumsticks.

In Twin Peaks, inhabitants of the Lodge feasted on garmonbozia — which looks like creamed corn, but is made up of pain and sorrow. While this isn’t on the menu, a similar-looking “Tot-Chos” is available (above): spuds smothered in corn, beans, salsa, jalapenos, sour cream and cheddar. We ate it up like it was the nectar of the undead!

peakers, twin peak fans travel

If you’re in Vancouver, Canada, there’s no better place to spend a spooky night with friends than The Black Lodge. (All photos by Ben and La Carmina.)

My black cut-away top is by Michi; more from this avantgarde activewear label below:

rose jrock gothic lolita styling

That night, we made a toast in memory of our friend Rose (June 26 1988- January 11 2017). Can’t believe it has almost been a year since we went to her memorial in Sechelt.

Rob introduced Rose to the original Twin Peaks, and she devoured each episode. She always had a blast dressing up and going to underground, off-the-beaten path places with us. Rose would have adored The Black Lodge (I even had old photos of her in what look like a Red Room), and it certainly felt like she was there with us. 

We’ll try to keep the tradition going and meet up every year around this time, to celebrate her life.

the black lodge kingsway broadway cafe

The Black Lodge fills up fast on weekends, so I encourage you to come early and nab one of the peaked booths. Weekdays are no problem.

Even if you know nothing about Twin Peaks, the restaurant / bar has a warm, easygoing, Canadian cabin feeling that anyone can enjoy.

twin peaks cherry pie ice cream

As detective Dale Cooper would say, “If you ever get up this way, that cherry pie is worth a stop.” The Black Lodge’s “Damn Fine Cherry Pie” is a fresh-baked slice filled with tart fruit, served warm and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Two thumbs up!

black lodge lager, twin peaks beer

The bar has a large selection of spirits, and various beers on tap. Go for the Black Lodge Lager, an amber-style Baltic brew. (Note that the restaurant’s font and logo are reminiscent of the one on the Twin Peaks map.)

twin peaks collectibles, memorabilia

The owners Claire and Brad are lovely, and put genuine care into the service and decor. I smiled when I saw a VHS Twin Peaks collection, guarded by owls. Below, there’s as tribute to Canadiana kitsch; those “Cheezies” are our national version of Cheetos.

twin peaks travel guide restaurant bar

The Black Lodge restaurant gets an earnest thumbs up from all of us! If you’re in Vancouver, Canada, do check out their newly established Broadway location.

My outfit details: Spiked boots by Tripp NYC, Wolford hold-up socks from UK Tights, purse by Strathberry.

owl statues twin peaks black lodge

“The Owls are not what they seem…” But “Where we’re from, the birds sing a pretty song, and there’s always music in the air.” (Twin Peaks quotes)

For more info, check out the The Black Lodge website that includes opening hours, menus, addresses etc.

david lynch theme bar diner

I dressed a bit like Audrey Horne for our Twin Peaks dinner. Played by Sherilyn Fenn, she’s the daughter of a wealthy businessman and enamored with FBI Special Agent Cooper. I wore red lipstick, a plaid skirt and deadly heels in her honor.

OOTD: Thigh high socks from UK Tights; they’re these Wolford Velvet De Luxe Holdups. My top is by Michi and I’m wearing a plaid skirt similar to this. Boots by Tripp NYC.

strathberry east west purse bag

I completed the outfit with my new Strathberry purse. They just released this East/West – Black with Edge bag… isn’t it a beauty? It arrived in a beautiful black box with gold font, and matching dust bag.

The 2018 East/West has the brand’s signature structured silhouette, branded hardware, and bar closure.

minimal modern luxury cross body purse

Strathberry’s East / West dual-length strap is an ingenious design. You can extend one end and wear it cross-body… or double it up, and sling it over your shoulder! The gold chain is beautiful quality and easy to adjust, yet the bag is lightweight.

strathberry east/west white edge handbag

All of their handbags are made in Spain with the finest calf leather, and lined with a suede-like microfiber. The flap has an easy yet secure closure: you slip it under the horizontal bar, and it secures magnetically.

I also have the Strathberry midi tote, from their original collection. You can find this style below:

strathberry fashion blogger bags

I’m quite choosy about handbags, and the popular luxury labels don’t appeal to me (no monograms please!).

On the other hand, Strathberry is an independent, artisan company based in Edinburgh. Their purses have clean lines and exquisite luxury detailing, which appeal to my love of minimalism, and increasing focus on “slow fashion” over mass production.

minimalist designer handbags purses

Here’s a peek inside my East/West White Edge purse. There are two compartments with one interior pocket, and the accordion-style sides can expand. It’s the perfect size for me: compact, yet spacious enough to hold all my necessities.

strathberry bar shoulder bag 2018

Strathberry just released multiple new designs for 2018, and I couldn’t be happier with their East/West crossbody meets shoulder bag! The purse comes in various colors and combinations, and there’s a mini size as well.

Are you loving Strathberry as much as I am? I hope you enjoyed these photos, and the tour of the Twin Peaks themed diner.

(PS: see below for more about this sweet bag.)

 

 

Dance with the Dead: synthwave band tour review! Auxiliary Magazine cover model, Switzerland Chillon castle.

auxiliary magazine cover goth style icon

Now that I’m back from Europe, it’s time for one of those “catch up” posts… featuring a magazine cover, winter outfit ideas, and a synthwave show! 

First, I’m honored to be on the cover of Auxiliary Magazine. Thank you to the brilliant team that made this “pink hair and panning for gold” look come to life. It’s fun to play around with dramatic styles for magazine modeling. (Photography by Patrick Parenteau, makeup by Jennifer Little, hair by Stephanie Hoy.)

Auxiliary Magazine’s Fall 2017 issue is available here now, in both print and digital publications. There’s a full editorial and interview with me inside, as well as plenty of alternative music, fashion and lifestyle stories that I think you’ll find inspiring.

sorel after hours no tongue boots

Now, let’s chat about what to wear in winter. I have a few new cold-weather clothes that I’m excited about.

Knee-high leather boots are perfect for the season, as they give any outfit a bit of edge. I’m going to live in my new lace-up boots by Sorel Footwear (this style comes in both redwood and black.)

Sorel’s After Hours No-Tongue tall boots are made from supple yet waterproof leather. There’s a cute wedge heel that is comfortable for walking, and the sole has a strong tread.

(My silver geometric barrettes are Hair DesignAccess by Sylvain Le Hen, designer of luxury and avantgarde hair accessories.)

sorel winter tall leather boots

I’m wearing these dark red boots from Sorel Footwear’s latest collection. They have “no tongue” down the middle for a peek-a-boo effect; I like to emphasize the cut-outs with fishnets or patterned / colored stockings.

Sorel’s shoes are stylish and modern, yet made to withstand winter conditions. I’m a fan of the romantic lacing all the way up the front, for a ballerina or corset effect. (There’s also a zipper on the side, so you can easily slip the boots on or off without unlacing them.)

The designer also makes an After Hours ankle boot, and a tall black boots style. Click below for more styles:

sorel footwear luxury red knee boots

I’m a fan of Sorel, as they deliver both form and function — I walked through rainy streets and danced all night in these shoes! My After Hours tall boots come in both redwood and black here.

I paired them with a Joy Division skirt, black fishnets, and a sweatshirt by Akade Wear (many more photos further down).

dance with dead gost north america tour

I wore this outfit to see Dance with the Dead, one of my favorite retrowave / synthwave artists. They’re currently on tour in North American with GosT (another fav, who sadly didn’t make it to the Vancouver concert).

The show at The Venue began with two impressive opening acts. My friends and I found ourselves moving to the synthy melodies of Oceanside85, and DJ Black Ultra / Amduscia. 

dance with the dead live concert

Headliners Dance with the Dead (DWTD) are known for incorporating spooky visuals in their shows. The background lit up with a slightly creepy clip of four women singing Mr Sandman (The Chordettes, from 1958).

Then, Justin Pointer and Tony Kim strutted on-stage and launched into deadly guitar riffs — accompanied by projections of ghouls with flickering eyes!

dance with the dead band performing

Dance with the Dead is synth-wave with a retro-horror bent. Think head-banging metal meets dance melodies, wrapped in the electronics of the 1980s… If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, then you’ll instantly recognize the sound of “outrun.”

The band performs with high energy, switching between guitars and synthesizers. The audience jumped around with DWTD, and even formed a moshpit in the front-center.

retrowave synthwave concerts tour

Dance with the Dead thrilled us with upbeat tracks from their albums, “Near Dark” and “The Shape.” The set list included remixed versions of “Andromeda” and “Invader,” and a cover of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.”

I put together a few video clips from the show, so you can see and hear the group for yourself.

outrun retro wave dance with dead gost show

Between songs, DWTD broadcast clips from old movies that influenced their sound and vision. I spotted Bride of Frankenstein, Psycho, Legend, and 1980s sci-fi and horror films.

As I mentioned in my Perturbator show review, synthwave has gotten me excited about concerts again. The “future-80s” sound is fresh, and the acts are spectacular live. Can’t wait to see more of these bands soon.

silver puffer jacket coat

Here’s a second version of this “winter outfit of the day,” which I wore in Switzerland. This time, I paired my rocket-ship sweatshirt with leggings (both are by Akade Wear, a label inspired by synthwave — hence the pink-blue 80s vibe.) My black Goth beanie / skullcap is by Long Clothing.

I’m all about metallics right now, and love the look of a silver puffer jacket. I got mine in Romania (it’s by Cato, and not available outside the country) — but you can shop similar puffers below.

chillon castle chateau montreux switzerland

After my press trip with Experience Bucharest, photographer Joey Wong and I took a weekend jaunt to Switzerland. We flew to Geneva, then traveled by train on a First Class Swiss Travel Pass from Switzerland Tourism.

These passes let you take unlimited trains, buses and boats throughout the country, so we were keen to see as much as we could. We traveled about 1.5 hours to the fairy-tale Château de Chillon, located on an island in Lake Geneva between Montreux and Villeneuve.

cyberdog mini rave light up backpack

I need to wear sunglasses (by Balenciaga) to look at my bag… because it lights up with LED rainbow patterns! 

This rave-tastic backpack is by Cyberdog, the futuristic clubwear brand that I recently visited in London.

iridescent holographic backpack bag

Cyberdog’s mini backpack features several light-up modes (you can display various colors and patterns at the click of a button inside). This little satchel is perfect for clubbing and festivals, and charges up with a USB cable. The backpack comes in three semi-sheer colors; I have the iridescent holographic one. 

I posted an Instagram video of my Cyberdog backpack, and it went viral with over 550,000 views… talk about the future of fashion!

silver winter puff coat jacket

The backpack was ideal for a day-trip to Chillon Castle. We took the train from Geneva to Montreux, and then hopped on a bus for a quick ride to the chateau.

From the pier, you can take in the beauty of the Alps, the mountain range that crosses through Switzerland.

synthwave retrowave outfit clothes

Europe is famous for its fairytale castles, and Chateau de Chillon is one of the most lovely. With our Swiss Travel Passes, we had access to hundreds of museums and historical sites — meaning we could walk straight in and explore.

So shiny, so chrome. I love the space-age look of a metallic puffer jacket! I’ve rounded up my favorite silver coats below; click the thumbnails to learn more.

chateeau de chillon, montreux swiss castle

Chateau de Chillon is an ancient fortress, with the first written record dating back to the year 1005. In the 16th century, the Savoy rulers used the castle to house prisoners. The dungeon inspired Lord Byron to write his famous poem, “The Prisoner of Chillon.”

synth outrun fashion akade wear

Chillon Castle consists of 25 buildings and three courtyards, protected by two circular walls. If you’re a history buff, it’s well worth coming here for a day (and also enjoying Montreux, the nearby resort town.)

Switzerland fashion blogger outfit

Mary Shelley was inspired to write “Frankenstein” during her stay at Chillon castle — so there’s a Goth horror side to it too!

Can’t get enough of the Swiss mountain landscapes, and Lake Geneva’s clear waters.

synthwave vaporwave top shirt spaceship

Close-up on my 1980s-style spaceship Horizon top by Akade Wear, and my silver winter jacket.

montreux switzerland lake geneva tourism

What do you think of my synthwave / retrowave inspired winter clothing? I hope these outfits give you some ideas for ways to stay warm while rocking a retro-future aesthetic.

hotel n'vy geneva room

Back to Geneva, and time to chill out at Hotel N’vY. Part of the Manotel group, N’vY is in a convenient central location (a quick walk from Geneva Station, which is only a seven min ride from the airport).

I always gravitate towards art / design boutique hotels, as they are local-run and have a quirky personality. You won’t find an inspiring room like this one in a standard chain brand.

geneva 4 star boutique hotel balcony

Hotel N’vY hosted us in a special suite on the top floor, which required a private elevator with a key-card to access. We had a huge balcony with a view of the rooftops, and could even see the top triangle of the Jet D’Eau (Geneva’s high-spouting fountain).

boutique art design hotel geneva

The hotel staff spoiled us with gifts of Swiss chocolates and Sephora spa products. I made myself at home, cozying up with my laptop and fiddling with the Philips Hue color wheel (which changes the mood lighting).

heart shape lights long exposure

The rooftop terrace gave us a chance to play around with long-exposure photography. I created a heart shape using my light-up Cyberdog backpack! 

geneva cool hip hotels nvy

Hotel N’vY’s name is a play on “envy,” since your friends will be jealous once they see photos of this hip hotel. The lobby’s decor is a tribute to music with portraits of Jimi Hendrix and The Doors, and a wall of electric guitars.

music themed hotel geneva switzerland

Walking around, you feel as if you’re in a pop-art exhibition. The sculptures add to the trendy, bold design of the bar and lounge area.

hotel n'vy design geneve suisse

Ouch, that cactus-chair looks like it hurts! Hotel N’vY is a great fit for millennial and design-loving travelers.

manotel switzerland geneva hotels

My futuristic outfit matched David Cintract’s “Pop Libre” mannequins: women in helmets and heavy makeup, holding glowing synth-sticks.

hotel n'vy restaurant trilby menu

Time for dinner at the hotel’s Restaurant Trilbynamed after the fedora hat worn by many artists. I began with the limited-edition fall cocktail, a bowl of warm spices like cinnamon and cloves.

To start, we ate up every bite of the salmon tartar with mango, and scallops and leeks ravioli. The European fine-dining menu included steaks and sole meuniere, paired with outstanding French wines. We finished up with chocolate fondant and pear chocolate tart, two superbly made desserts.

Jet d'Eau giant geneva fountain

We walked off the meal with a stroll around Lake Geneva. It’s impossible to miss the Jet d’Eau. First installed in 1886, the fountain launches 500 liters of water per second, to the height of 140 meters (460 feet).

geneva historic fountains

Geneva is filled with stately fountains and classic architecture. We enjoyed strolling through this park on the way to St Pierre Cathedral.

club fashion burning man backpack light up

I leave you with a final glowing shot of my Cyberdog backpack. Merci Hotel N’vY for the arty, cozy, trendy stay in the heart of Genève.

How about you; what do you have in your winter wardrobe? Don’t forget to take a minute to watch my footage from the Dance with the Dead concert, and the Cyberdog video that went viral.

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