Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The King of Melrose

This post was inspired by my fortutious discovery of the new boutique "King" by costumer Terri King on Melrose.  Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, BB King, Billy Idol, Bon Jovi, Chicago, The Cranberries, David Bowie, Enya, Grace Jones, Guns n' Roses, Gloria Estefan, INXS, Marilyn Manson, Metallica, Natalie Imbruglia, Nine Inch Nails,  Ozzy Osbourne, Sharon Osbourne, Peter Gabriel, Ringo Starr, Will Smith, and The Rolling Stones are among some of the many celebrities who have called Terri King their costumer.  Now she is bringing her sexy rock star clothes to Melrose.

Terri's clothes are unusual, one might even say, poetic, and I have been wanting to focus more on the amazing fashion scene in LA.  I decided to do a shoot exploring the dark glamor and sensuality of her clothes.  Working as stylist and creative director, I pulled my favorite pieces from her store, and brought them to the studio of Johanna Siegmann, a photographer whose iconoclastic portrait style has earned her comparisons to Annie Leibovitz.  Together, we collaborated during one long afternoon in Los Feliz on a magical shoot.  Photographer Johanna captured us beautifully, as you can see in all these great photos.  It was our first time working together, but she read my mind about the vision I had for this shoot, and brought her own considerable creativity and inspiration.  The models in the photos are me and dear friend and fellow model Arlene Sara.  Arlene and I have done a couple runway shows together, and I asked her to model with me because I knew that her exotic, feline looks and sweet soul would be perfect for the shoot.  Mario, Angel, and Angel's assistant all did hair + makeup wizardry on us.  I loved my huge curls and dramatic eyes and lips.  
I'm wearing the V-Moda trench dress, which is convertible using its zippers into gloves, a waist-cincher, a bolero, a skirt, a jacket and more.  Currently on sale $575.  V-Moda is a lifestyle brand that Terri designs for, in addition to her own eponymous Terri King line.  She carries both lines in her store.  This piece has a great sheen and fit that I loved.  Like many of Terri's pieces, it has an element of conservatism mixed with a sexy silhouette.  Terri cites Gaultier and European tailoring as a big influence in pieces like this.  I am wearing my own Charles David boots.
You can see the convertible trench's lovely corset detailing in this shot from behind.  Terri loves doing convertible pieces that can change into other things with a woman's mood and occasion.  Terri: "I love designing bridal gowns and do it on a custom basis only. My favorite one was made from 30 yards of silk taffeta. It was worn as a ballgown for the ceremony and converted into a mermaid silhouette for the reception. "
Arlene is wearing a few incredible pieces here.  The bustier is made from Italian prada leather.  It looks like an armored breastplate, but the metallic details are actually recycled V-Moda headphones!  The skirt is made with the same metallic shrunken leather and has a removable peplum with pockets.  The "wings" are a piece she calls "the butterfly bolero."  Commissioned by Genlux magazine for a sculptural shoot, these wings have become a cult favorite.  They are made of airy tulle and come in multiple colors.  Corset: $1750.  Skirt: $450.  Butterfly bolero: $300.  Like Arlene, designer Terri loves bright lipstick, saying that she couldn't live without Mac Russian Red and Ruby Woo lipstick.
Another great shot of Arlene wearing the metallic silver corset and skirt.  Terri King has a very diverse clientele, making clothing for everyone from business executives to musicians and athletes. When I was in the store, several people came in purchasing pieces for the Grammy's.  She  frequently creates custom pieces for her clients, which are made in her  loft in the Brewery in downtown Los Angeles, and all her clothes are made by local contractors in LA.  Terri on her craft: "I love everything about it. I love sketching, fitting the client, and finding the right fabric for each piece. I love seeing my projects go from a concept and sketch to fruition, and my favorite part is seeing the clients face when they try their custom piece on for the first time."
We had a lot of fun with this sultry, playful look.  The purple shorts are high-waisted and made from Italian leather.  The corset is made of embroidered Chinese silk and has flexible spiral boning.  Terri studied ballerina costumes to find a way to make a corset that would still allow the wearer to breathe and dance.  Spandex on the sides gives everyone an hourglass silhouette.  The necklace is fashioned by King's mother, Sandra King.  Sandra is a visual artist as well as a jewelry designer.  She sifts through thrift stores, estate sales, yard sales, and antique stores for vintage jewelry treasures that she re-fashions into something more fresh.  She and her daughter share a certain fashion sensibility, and even though she didn't plan to orient her jewelry collection around Terri's pieces, they fit naturally and gorgeously together.   Necklace: $145.  Corset: $325.  Shorts: $375.

Here I am wearing a pinstriped dress that comes with its own detachable shrug, inspired by the film Beetlejuice.  It's an hourglass, princess-seamed dress, something you can imagine Sophia Loren wearing.  Terri's styled philosophy is simple: "Think less about trends and dress for your body. Always make sure what you are wearing speaks for who you are as a person."  I find that her pieces tend to flatter female curves and have a certain timeless, iconic quality.   Dress: $225.  Butterfly bolero: $300.  Vintage art deco pendant by Sandra King: $45.
Another great shot of the "Beetlejuice" pinstriped dress.  Designer and costumer Terri King has been working in the industry for many years, and had this to share with my readers as advice for those breaking into the industry: "My best advise is to become educated and perfect your craft. Be tenacious and never give up, even when the road isn't smooth."  A woman after my own heart!

Credits for the shoot.  Clothes: "King" boutique by Terri King 7218 Melrose Avenue Los Angeles and phone 323 271 8372.   Jewelry: Sandra King, carried by "King" boutique.  You can explore her visual art at: http://sandrakingart.com. Photographer: Johanna Siegmann http://www.johannasiegmann.com/.  Arlene's hair and makeup: Mario Llamas.  Contact me for his info.  My hair and makeup: Angel V Prado and assistant.  http://www.angelvprado.com/.  Models: Arlene Sara http://www.arlenesara.com/.  Special thanks to Sugano, Johanna, and Debbie Rankin.  I had lots of fun playing the many roles of model, fashion stylist, and creative director of the shoot: Amanda Callas, www.amandacallas.com, www.amandalive.com, and www.glamorandsoul.com.  Thanks for tuning in to my blog!