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Goth Hanami: Japanese cherry blossoms picnic! Imagine Van Gogh Vancouver review, Ministry of Wings hat, Latokyo.

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Hail Persephone, goddess of spring — and queen of the underworld!

It’s cherry blossom season again, and Vancouver is currently permitting a 10-person bubble to safely gather outdoors (I’ve been following local health guidelines since March 2020). I enjoyed the baby-pink blossoms in my signature way — by attending a Goth girl picnic. 

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Anyone else have wild, extra-long lockdown hair going on? Read on for our sakura flower-viewing photos, along with my Gothic grunge meets e-girl  / pastel kei outfit.

OOTD — Black wool hat with crosses on the brim by Ministry of Wings (give them a follow on Instagram). Long sleeved crop top Latokyo. Purple Goth tartan skirt Ninja Cosmico.  Sunglasses are Chloe Rosie Heart; get them here.

imagine van gogh vancouver convention centre art

And read on for my review of Imagine Van Gogh, the immersive art and music show that is currently in Vancouver. (I attended the media preview; the exhibition has timed limited tickets, mask requirements and other safe practices.)

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I’ve been rather isolated in the past months, so it’s been a treat to see a few trustworthy local friends in recent weeks. The pink and white Japanese cherry blossoms never last for long, so VesperSephony and I went to enjoy the flowers and shoot portraits.

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Travelers from over 150 countries are currently prohibited from visiting Japan as tourists, including Canadians. I miss being in Japan, but at least Vancouver has many parks with cherry bloom trees that remind me of Tokyo.

The pink canopy matches my hair color and pink Skandinavik coat (made from Mongolian sheared lamb fur — no animals were harmed).

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We contrasted the pastel cherry blossoms with Gothic fashion edge! I’m wearing Japanese-style socks, which can be scrunched down Harajuku schoolgirl-style, by Sock Dreams. I’m a long-time fan of their inclusive sizing and wide variety of alternative styles / patterns / colors.

My leather platform heels are these exact Mexique ankle boots by Jeffrey Campbell. Hat by Ministry of Wings, top by Latokyo, skirt Ninja Cosmico. Shop my look with a click below:

big japanese umbrella red inside goth latokyo

This badass umbrella and turtleneck crop top from Latokyo add to the feeling that I’m back in Japan. Latokyo is an indie fashion label that blends Eastern culture with Western apparel, with a dark yet minimal aesthetic.

I am holding their Dead Sky Umbrella, which is a powerhouse: 41 inches, with a sturdy metal frame that will never turn inside-out. The exterior is black, while the interior has an eye-catching red sky print and the LA東京 logo. The parasol comes with a slip bag with a sling, so you can carry it over your shoulder and wield it like a katana!

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I am also wearing Latokyo’s long sleeve crop top, which has the signature stripe logo on the turtleneck, and a cute red label detail at the hem. Love how it pairs well with a variety of wardrobe pieces, including high waisted skirts.

(Pair photos by Joyce Cheung of Ondine Photography. Individual photos of me by VesperSephony.)

latokyo clothing umbrella la tokyo fashion

Latokyo’s umbrella arrived just in time for our Goth spring picnic – it shielded me from the sun and showering petals. I try to do hanami (花見, “flower viewing”) every year; it’s the ancient Japanese tradition of appreciating the sakura blossoms before they quickly fade and fall. We spread out blankets, and enjoyed onigiri (rice balls) and matcha lattes under the pink trees.

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In this bizarre timeline of restrictions and variants, the age-old Japanese concept of “mono no aware”—a wistful recognition of impermanence, as represented by the falling blossoms—hits especially close to home.

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Cherry blossom trees are found worldwide, especially in Japanese gardens. Check your local blossom forecast (桜前線, sakura-zensen) to see the “cherry blossom front,” or blooming predictions. This way, you can see the sakura flowers when they are at their finest.

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My friends managed to have the picnic at the peak time for this species of sakura (there are various cherry blossom types, with colors ranging from deep pink to white). The sun also came out, after months of rain.

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We shot some fashion-walk videos under the trees — see the best cut below and on @lacarmina TikTok. But if you want a laugh, see the “throwing shade” funny outtake here!

@lacarmina

Always dropping shade, even at ##hanami 🌸🌺🇯🇵 – w @spellbound.steph What do you think of my #c#herryblossom picnic outfit? 💞 #s#akura #p#astelgoth

♬ Substitute (Original Mix) – Liquid Gold & Liquid Gold

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Outfit roll call: Chloe Rosie Heart sunglasses, black witchy hat Ministry of Wings, long sleevee top LATokyo, purple black plaid skirt Ninja Cosmico, scrunchable knee socks Sock Dreams. and pink furry coat Skandinavik Fur.

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Have you ever done hanami, or cherry blossom celebrations? Now is the time to see these gorgeous pink flowers before they disappear.

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Vesper and I were fortunate to be able to attend another fantastic local event, Imagine Van Gogh. As you know, I adore seeing art — and this was my first opportunity to walk through an exhibition in over a year.

Imagine Van Goth is an immersive art experience, which is currently in Vancouver until August 29th. The grandiose show pays tribute to the life and work of master painter, Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890).

vancouver Imagine Van Gogh - The Immersive Exhibition

Here’s a sense of the scale — Van Gogh’s distinctive paintings are blown up and projected on multiple towering screens, which fill up a gigantic room at the Vancouver Conference Centre. (Here’s a close-up on one of his self portraits.)

Up close with his thick brushstrokes and bright colors, I felt as if I were part of his expressive works.

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The projections were constantly shifting, illuminating the room with different colors and movements. Classical music accompanied Van Gogh’s imagery, inspiring me to create this video below:

@lacarmina

Van Gogh’s immersive paintings are my new dance floor. ##vangogh exhibition in Vancouver ##imaginevangogh – tickets still available! ##puttinontheritz

♬ Puttin’ on the Ritz – Taco

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The Dutch post-Impressionist is best known for his paintings of sunflowers and starry nights. (And for cutting off his own ear!). At Imagine Van Gogh, we also got to see his lesser-known landscapes and still-lifes, and black-and-white photographs of where he grew up.

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Imagine Van Gogh is also an experience for your ears (or ear, if you only have one like Vincent). The art projections flowed to the sounds of Saint-Saëns, Mozart, Bach, Delibes and Satie.

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A black-and-white moment that matched our Gothic outfits. (My shirt and scarf are by Latokyo.)

immersive van goth art exhibit installation vancouver

The show reminded me of Tokyo’s Teamlab Borderless and Planets exhibit, which I saw in 2018. (See my story and photos about visiting Teamlab in Japan.) Imagine Van Gogh is touring, and will later be in Edmonton, Tacoma Washington, and Boston MA.

photography allowed imagine van goth instagram media preview

My LATokyo scarf and top were fitting for the show, as Vincent Van Gogh was rather inspired by Japanese art. He fervently collected Japanese art prints, and his “Japonisme” works are influenced by the colors, perspectives, and motifs of these Eastern engravings.

Vancouver Art Exhibition: Imagine Van Gogh tour dates 2021

I hope you’ll get a chance to dance through Imagine Van Gogh while it’s in Vancouver (through August 29). The multi-projections and immersive audio added depth to his imagery, and gave me a new appreciation of his vision.

digital orca douglas coupland statue killer whale vancouver convention centre

Bonus photo from outside the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. I’m posing with “Digital Orca,” a 2009 sculpture of a killer whale by Douglas Coupland. My 東京 scarf and shirt are LA Tokyo.

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And here’s a close-up of my comfortable platform sneakers by Anthony Wang Shoes, and hat by Tenth Street Hats.

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This spring, you won’t see me without my new Baphomet jacket, designed by my friends at Long Clothing. With a circular red patch of the Satanic icon on the back, this Baphomet MA1 Patch Jacket is one unholy bomber.

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Here’s a closer look at my stunning hat by startup Australian label, Ministry of Wings. This design is called the Arrow of Time — it’s a classic dipped crown oval boater, with a wide brim to protect from the sun’s rays. Ministry of Wings crafts their luxurious hats from 100% Australian wool, with silk lining inside. The black velvet ribbon and polished gold plated crosses on the outside are one-of-a-kind!

I encourage you to add Ministry of Wings on Instagram to see their other stunning, alternative hat designs.

Ministry of Wings hat Luxury wool felt hats crosses

If you ask me, the crosses spin in the left direction, which makes them upside down!

Wearing a Latokyo t-shirt featuring their Octopus Girl print. As someone who’s lived in Los Angeles and Tokyo, and still visits often (well, in a regular year), their designs are my cup of sake.

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Let’s wrap up with a few of my recent articles and press features. I chatted with Lucien Greaves of The Satanic Temple about his first musical project, Satanic Planet!

In this exclusive interview for Riot Fest, find out what his new Satanic band sounds like (members include drummer Dave Lombardo of Slayer), and learn about the upcoming music videos and album drop on May 28. Lucien Greaves also gives in-depth updates on The Satanic Temple’s activism, including erecting the Baphomet monument, and pursuing lawsuits such as a Texas reproductive rights TRO.

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By now, I’m sure we have all seen the Lil Nas X “Montero” music video where he pole dances down to hell and gives Satan a lap dance. I was interviewed by Unilad about Satanic Panic, and how it’s more urgent than ever to fight conspiracy theories about ritual Satanic abuse. We also discuss The Satanic Temple’s Grey Faction initiative to combat pseudoscience, and their World Congress on Moral Panics conference.

Speaking of the devil, Dr John Skutlin and I chatted with Satanic Study Hall podcast about our 10+ years of researching and writing about Satanism worldwide, particularly in Japan. We also preview our upcoming web TV show, “Satanic Show + Tell,” premiering soon on The Satanic Temple TV… stay tuned for more!

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I’m keeping busy with freelance journalism. I had fun writing about my favorite Japanese gardens for Lonely Planet’s Budget Travel. From a Zen sand garden in Portland, to an Edo-style strolling path in Seattle, here is a guide to the USA’s most beautiful Japanese gardens.

I also did interviews about my work in fashion / travel for Nylon Magazine and The Boston Globe, coming out soon. And I will have travel and design articles published in Time Magazine, Architectural Digest, and House Beautiful. 

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One of my work highlights of 2021 was joining the Sleep.com team. I wrote about how I still travel in my lucid dreams, almost every night! Enjoy my personal essay, and reflections of Tibetan yoga nidra or dream yoga. (Above: my cult-y Osho Zen Tarot cards, and book “The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep” by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.)

lucid dreaming sleep.com writer astral projection tibet dream yoga dreaming

As I quote: “Travel in hell, in the devil’s realm. It is just an idea, you will not actually be participating there. But you will be loosening the constrictions that bind your mind.” (Above, I really was on Easter Island, but the rest is Photoshop.)

See all my Sleep.com articles here, and join me every Sunday on Clubhouse for a chat about sleep and travel! You can ask doctors and experts questions about topics related to getting a good night’s rest. Add me @lacarmina on Clubhouse here so that you won’t miss out. (The “Sunday Scaries” chats happen every Sunday at 7pm PT.)

You can keep up with my latest writings and events on @LaCarmina Twitter, which is now blue-check verified (as is my @lacarmina Instagram and Facebook page.) I’ll do my best to be responsive — thank you for staying in touch.

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Goth Gift Guide: Christmas holidays presents! Gothic bikini, leather smartphone case, Papercraft devil horned masks.

goth bikini swim top bottoms swimwear

I hope you were naughty this year… because Krampus is coming!

As we head into the holiday season, I thought I’d put together some Gothic gift guide ideas for you. If you’re searching for Christmas presents for your favorite dark soul, then I hope this gifting list will provide some inspiration. 

I’ll start with an overview of my favorites, and then delve into the details. For the Beachy Goth in your life, I recommend a Towers Swimwear skeleton bikini, or other alternative swimsuit! 

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For Witchy Goths, conjure up this celestial black and white dress from Too Fast Clothing

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If you’re more of a Disco Goth, then Too Fast also has you covered — with halter tops and spider cobweb bellbottoms.

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What if you’re a Luxe Goth? Then hail to this customized leather cell phone case from Michael Louis.

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And for the Crafty Goths out there… Papercraft World makes Satanic 3D paper masks!

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Keep on reading to see photos and reviews for each of these Goth gift suggestions.

(I paired my Paper Craft gold devil mask with zombie tights by Michelle’s House of the Strange and Unusual, and black leather platform boots by  Jeffrey Campbell.)

towers swimwear dolls kill tower swimsuit

As 2020 comes to a close and the weather grows colder, I’m dreaming of being on the beach… Until then, I can wear my Towers Swimwear skeleton swimsuit at home! The Gothic design is a stand-out, and the long surf sleeves keep you protected from the sun as well. 

gothic swimwear bikinis goth skeleton swim suits

Love the bikini’s medical skeleton illustration, which corresponds to the parts of the body. (Can you see my ribs?) Towers Swimwear makes swim designs for men and children as well — using high-quality UV and sea water resistant fabrics.

satanic pentagram satan swimwear bikini

Towers is an indie company, and their swimwear is 100% made in Colombia. In addition to spooky skull styles, they have other alternative one-piece and bikini designs — I’m eyeing the ones with rainbow tie dye, glow in the dark, and flames. Devil horns to Towers Swimwear — you can see other edgy and rock-inspired swimsuits on their site.

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If you’re shopping for someone who loves 90s witch vibes, then consider this Gothic babydoll dress by Too Fast Clothing!

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Spread a little black magic with their “Xtra Celestial Moon & Suns Lace Slip Dress.” Close-up on their enthralling 1990s Goth night sky fabric — featuring constellations, crescent moons, suns with faces, and stars.  

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I styled Too Fast’s dress with a vintage coat, and Day of the Dead cut-out skull tights by UK Tights. 

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The lace trim at the hem, waist and neckline elevate the dress’ design. I’m all about playing with different textures.

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My two-tone face framing colored hair adds color to the Gothic monochrome. My stylist dyed the front strands on either side of the face with Joico K-Pak Color Intensity. These days, I’m growing out my bangs and doing a middle part. 

gothic celestial stars moon dress too fast clothing

The dress has adjustable spaghetti straps for a perfect fit. Too Fast Clothing carries other devilish designs for men and women — featuring Baphomet, pentagrams, and skulls. 

gothic purple pink dyed hair, e-girl hairstyles tiktok

My hair has grown so much since the last time I cut it (to chin-length) in Feb 2017! 

pentagram stars tights leggings black

Too Fast Clothing makes pentagram mesh leggings that are easy to wear with oversize shirts and sweaters. Their glitter-infused, stretchy, high-waisted black leggings have a pentagram star at the thighs, with a mesh overly. 

purple cobweb pants too fast clothing

As a disco music fanatic, I’ve been getting groovy in Too Fast’s Bats in the Belfry halter top. It has a flattering white outline, and flying bats and stars on one side of the shirt. 

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And I’m weaving a tangled web in Too Fast’s Hellz Bellz Purple Spider Web Flares. It has a fabulous spiders-in-cobweb print, and wide-legged bell bottom design. 

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Ready for a disco party… alone at my apartment. At least I have spooky creatures to keep me company — spot the bats, spiders, skull, and snakeskin (these leather python boots are by Acne).

You can find hundreds of Gothic, Punk and Alternative goods from Too Fast Clothing’s site. In addition to clothing for men and women, they carry original dark housewares, shoes, jewelry, bags, you name it. 

hail satan goth phone case iphone cases

Speaking of skulls… Hail to this outstanding smartphone phone case, by Michael Louis!

Each of their protective phone cases are custom-made and fitted, with genuine lambskin leather for a luxurious finish. These slim phone covers keep your phone protected with shock-absorbing material as well.

michael louis ny leather crocodile python phone case

On Michael Louis New York’s site, you can find phone cases of all sizes (Android, Galaxy, iPhone etc). The covers are lightweight and unobtrusive, with perfect cut-outs for the cameras and buttons. I like how you can see a pop of turquoise from my iPhone 11 underneath.  

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As you can see, these high-end phone cases are head-turners. Michael Louis NY offers a selection of leather colors and finishes, and you get to customize the words and emoji however you like, at no extra charge.

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I chose a gold foil emboss (out of 5 color options), and the cute skull (you can also pick a heart, diamond, star, or other emoji). Then, you can create a custom word or monogram from 6 characters (I went with HAIL). I’m so pleased with the one-of-a-kind result, which suits me to a T.

michael louis new york luxury phone cases

The cases come in various luxury leather finishes (croc, python, pebbled, snake, etc) and colors (pink, green, red, blue, etc).

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Michael Louis’ designer phone cases are functional as well as beautiful. They’re crafted in a shock absorbing rubber/TPU mold, with a raised protective screen edge.

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Michael Louis New York sells other leather accessories as well, including wallets and key holders, which can be personalized. 

michael louis custom emoji words black croco leather phone case

How would you customize your phone case? On their web shop, you can preview the personalization options before checking out. 

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Can’t stop staring at my Michael Louis leather smartphone case. Their phone covers and accessories are brilliant and unique gifts for the X-mas season. 

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Who’s that creeping around and stealing pumpkins?

I spent Halloween raising hell, in my red devil mask by Papercraft World!

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I folded and assembled a gold horned skull mask as well, using a Papercraft World 3D kit. Love how these DIY paper masks turned out. 

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Papercraft World sells a variety of artistic craft kits, which let you fold and glue together a mask, sculpture, wall art, or other paper item. Their Halloween Masks selection include a number of Satanic designs, like the ones I made above.

papercraft world 3d masks instructions folding

Here’s how the kits look — you get sheets of hard colored paper, which you punch out, fold, and piece together by numbers. The “map” at the back shows you how to fold the segments (inward or outward). Then you match the numbers, add white liquid glue, and hold the folds together until they stick.  

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It takes a bit of time and patience, but you soon get the hang of it. I got into the flow of the process, and the result was rewarding — just look at these geometric devilish masks! 

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I’m all about natural and eco-friendly Halloween decor — I feel there’s too much plastic and waste these days. Papercraft lets you put together a mask using 100% recycled materials, creating a Halloween costume that stands out among the rest. 

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Close-up on the round horned skull mask. As you can see, it’s made up from strips of paper, which are placed together like a 3-D jigsaw and held together with glue.  

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Love the geometric polygonal look of the finished mask. Those black goat horns were the most challenging part. 

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Papercraft has many eye-catching mask designs with cut-outs for the eyes, nose, and mouth. These include a werewolf and pumpkin-head, and cute animals like foxes and panda bears.

gold horns mask, metallic devil lucifer masks

This devil one has a luxurious finish, thanks to the gold heavy paper stock. Each mask includes holes and stretchy string, so you wear it over your face with comfort. 

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No need to wait until Halloween — we can wear an occult mask year-round! I styled mine with these exact Jeffrey Campbell Mexique boots. See more styles from this designer below:

 

horned goat mask, horn skull paper craft diy

In addition to costume masks, PaperCraft has kits that let you create wall art, table or floor sculptures, and other three-dimensional works. 

goth gift guide, satan baphomet mask halloween

The kits are fun for families or friends to make together. Patience is key, so set aside at least a few hours, and take your time to make sure everything is properly lined up before gluing. 

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A look at my current hairstyle — face-framing front pieces, dyed light pink to contrast with the dark purple in the back, by my Vancouver stylist BlameChad.

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OOTD: zombie tights by Michelle’s House of the Strange and Unusual, classic monsters fabric face mask by Josie Stevens, and these Jeffrey Campbell Mexique black leather heeled boots.

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These photos were taken around Halloween, before there were more restrictions in Vancouver… Looks like we will be wearing masks for quite a while, so we may as well make them stylish. 

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If you’re looking for an activity to do at home this winter… why not put together a Satanic mask like this? 

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Hail Papercraft World — I had fun tapping into my artistic side, thanks to their paper 3D design kits. 

horned skull paper mask, satan devil diy papercraft polygonal

I hope my Goth Christmas gift guide was helpful to anyone looking for original presents (for others, or yourself). 

influencers pumpkin season fall outfits

Last look at my outfit — glad I was able to enjoy Halloween, despite the state of the world. Green zombies tights by Michelle’s House of the Strange and Unusual, and these JC Mexique platform shoes.

Shop more Jeffrey Campbell styles below:

 

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I got this BOO shirt in Mexico City last year. The ghosts remind me of the Nintendo Boo character, and also appear to be cracked eggs! (Catch up with my Mexico City stories here.)

papercraft world 3d devil mask, e-girl hairstyle

I have more Satanic Panic coming your way, in the form of new projects, magazine shoots and articles… including a fashion interview in the New York Times. Stay tuned to @lacarmina on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok for updates. 

And remember, you can shop my closet (@lacarmina on Depop) — I’m happy to send you a discounted package from my personal collection.

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Stay safe this holiday season… or Krampus will spank you!

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