Vampires

The idea of vampires is one of the most popular genres to date when it comes to the media. While the term ‘vampire’ started in the early 18th century, the description of these creatures existed long before the word itself. Those resembling what we would call vampires could be found in history dating as far back as prehistoric. Cultures such as Ancient Greek, Roman, African, Asian and Mesopotamian had tales of their about entities and spirits that drained the blood of living beings.

In those times these beings were among many stories often told to scare people and were revered as legends of old. Nowadays, a person can find books, movies, television series and comics that usually glamorize the myth that is vampires.

There are varying interpretations about these vampires even to this day. In some stories they cannot go out in the sun for fear that they will burn alive while in others they can. Holy relics can be used to ward them off in some; Others can be fought off with the use of garlic. Each and every interpretation will vary which often leads to heavy debates and discussion as to what really is a vampire.

For most however the definitive definition of the vampire is based on the novel by Bram Stoker entitled “Dracula” that he had written in 1897. This book alone introduced the world to the most infamous, most iconic vampire known to history, Count Dracula. The Count has been featured in over 200 films alone, along with countless novels and short stories.

Even now a person cannot go into a book or video store without seeing an entire section dedicated to these mythical beings. “The Vampire Chronicles” written by Anne Rice remains as large staple in vampire lore like that of “Dracula”. And today the idea of the vampire has been over-romanticized in teen and young adult fiction, with the most well-known example being “Twilight” by Stephanie Meyer. But there are still horror stories that continue with the fear-inducing ideas that frighten people.

Whether or not vampires actually exist is still a debate that goes on even now. But whether they are fiction or not, one fact remains: the idea of vampires will be forever immortalized by humans without the requirement of feeding on the blood of another living being. As long as we continue to read those books, watch those movies, dress in their fashion and bare our fake fangs, the legend will continue to live on for always.

Goths

While often bullied and ridiculed in high school, Goths actually represent a very vibrant subculture that has its root in the late 70s, early 80s punk rock scene. In fact, Goths have outlived many other subcultures that sprang from the same source and continue to endure today. Furthermore, Goth influences have filtered down into mainstream culture and influenced a wide array of artists, musicians and directors.

However, what started the Goths and where do their roots begin? The early 80s, in both the UK and the US, was a time of experimentation in music. The initial wave of punk rock had altered the music scene and a second wave of musicians, all with differing aesthetics and styles, broke onto the scene, adding further diversity. This brought about bands like The Cure and Bauhaus, early contributors to the Goth scene.

The music tended to be partly heavy and industrial but with an emphasis on darkness and emotions. Nevertheless, while music influenced the Goths, their scene is much broader. Appearances and style are perhaps the hallmarks of the Goth subculture. Neoclassical and neo medieval Germanic iconography are important as well.

Dark clothing that stands in contrast to pale, light colored skin is often the first tenant of Goth style. However, as the movement has diversified, this has altered to embrace more and more differing appearances. Leather is big for Goths as is influences from BDSM culture. Metal buckles and studs along with straps, heavy boots and form fitting leather clothing are another major part of Goth design. Finally, outlandish hairstyles, typically long hair that is styled into thin strands or turned upwards, are prominent as are numerous piercings and eye makeup.

Nevertheless, Goths are more than just a subculture. If you look at the work of Tim Burton you can see a definite melding of Goth influences. Furthermore, Goth design has been instrumental to many sci-fi films with the development of dark, industrial looking spaceships and locations. Ridley Scott’s Alien has echoes of Goth design in the claustrophobic, dank, steam work setting.

Goths continue to endure until this day because the culture has such a robust following. Goths are particularly popular in Germany where large international festivals are held yearly for Goths to get together and celebrate their lifestyle.

Zombies

The dead have been frequently walking the Earth lately. No, it isn’t a sign of the end times but it is a sign that a whole culture is being constructed around these shambling corpses. Nevertheless, why do people opt to dress up in pancake makeup and fake blood and simulate the movements of the walking dead?

There isn’t a clear answer to why other than it is a trend that is becoming more and more pronounced in popular culture. For those who don’t know, zombies are walking dead people. The typical zombie costume, or appearance if you are unlucky enough to encounter a real life one, can vary greatly. The most common grab for a zombie is any article of clothing a person may wear. This means, t-shirts and jeans, business suits, dresses, all of it is apropos.

However, the real zombie costume isn’t just clothing. A lot of makeup is required to simulate the complexion and appearance of a walking dead body. Makeup that gives the skin a lifeless tone, fake blood for injury and bite marks and, if you’re feeling really ambitious, prosthetics that mimic the appearance of broken or torn off limbs.

Most zombies will crop up around Halloween. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, the intense makeup can easily run in hot conditions so cool autumn weather is ideal. Secondly, Halloween is a time for zombies due to the focus on horror movies. Zombies, after all, have shambled off the silver screen and right into the hearts, or brains, of audiences. Typically zombies appear the same time mummies, vampires and ghosts appear because they all fall under the same genre umbrella.

Now, the question needs to be addressed about zombies being real. The term zombie comes from voodoo magic and it focused more on turning a living person into a mindless, still breathing, servant rather than animating a dead corpse to walk around and terrorize people. Hollywood adapted the term for its own use, giving us the modern day cinematic zombie.

However, as zombies have increased in popularity, classes, courses and literature about zombies and how to combat zombies have cropped up. Often seen as harmless fun, some people can get a little overzealous about this hobby, even going to the point of carrying zombie hunting weapons around with them. It’s all fun until someone loses an eye.

Horror Movies: Then and Now

Why do we seek out things that scare us? Since the beginning of the film era we have gravitated toward movies with monsters and villains that make our blood run cold and keep us up at night. Maybe it’s the adrenaline rush; or maybe it’s to prove to ourselves we are brave enough to handle the terrifying creatures our collective imaginations have cooked up. Whatever the reason, the genre seems to have evolved with us through the decades.

Film makers began producing horror movies when the movie business was still in its infancy. Early horror saw the rise of the golden age of monster movies, such as classic characters like Dracula (1931), a vampire Count who drank the blood of his victims, and the monster that Dr. Frankenstein created (1931), who was the reanimated remains of many men stitched together. The Mummy (1932) is another tale of the dead coming back to torment the living, after archeologists dig up the cursed tomb of an ancient pharaoh. Other popular films from that era included King Kong (1933), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), and The Wolf Man (1941).

The horror films made during the 1950’s reflected the fears of invasion felt by many during that time. The rise of the nuclear age also provided inspiration for many mutant-monsters. A giant lizard type creature storms through downtown Tokyo in the classic Godzilla (1954). Even creatures that wouldn’t normally be scary become terrifying once a mad scientist enters the picture, like in The Fly (1958)

Social revolution during the 1960’s led to the production of more edgy films, often featuring increasingly controversial levels of violence. Legendary horror movies from the mind of Alfred Hitchcock, who gave us Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963), were popular with not only then but even now. Zombie movies also came into their own during this time, with the cult classic Night of the Living Dead (1968).

The 1970’s pushed the envelope even further, upping the shock factor, and breaching previously taboo subject matter with films like The Exorcist (1973) about demonic possession. Increasingly sophisticated special effects also made their way into horror films of this period, making movies like Jaws (1975) possible, and with it a whole generation of swimmers who would never look at the ocean quite the same way again.

Slasher movies became very popular in the early 1980’s, with A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) sending its serial killer villain Freddy Krueger into the dreams of many terrified viewers. Even toys got into the slasher action; Chucky from Child’s Play (1988) made even dolls something to be afraid of. Despite some hits later in the decade, like Hellraiser (1987) which spawned numerous sequels, 80’s horror movies did less well at the box office than in prior years.

Suspenseful thrillers like The Silence of the Lambs (1991) were a big hit during the 1990’s, although not many truly innovative horror flicks were released during this decade. Many of the horror movies released were remakes of past hits. One original however was the very successful Scream (1996), which was a runaway success that spawned not only sequels but a spate of copycats and parodies.

Most recently violence even more graphic than in previous decades has been popular. Better special effects made possible by advances in CGI make torture flicks like Saw (2004), Final Destination (2000), and Hostel (2005) incredibly gory. Another recent trend is movies featuring multiple villains, as in Freddy vs. Jason (2003). Villains from different movies sharing the screen together have become common as filmmakers look to capitalize on well-known characters from past hits.

The question of where the horror genre is heading is almost impossible to answer. Movies have evolved with our culture throughout the years, reflecting whatever scares us most at the time. That trend shows no signs of stopping now. The only limit to how terrifying these stories will be is our imagination. Now that’s a scary thought.

Vampiress Costume

Now, if there was any genre of costume that has been done so often over the decades, the award would more than likely go to the vampires. Every other year or so some new hype comes along to remind us just what fascinates us so much about these undead creatures.

Going as far back as the original novel of “Dracula” by Bram Stoker in 1897, or even further still with “The Vampyre” in 1819 by John Polidori, the subject of these creatures have continued to mesmerize humans with their legends and mysteries. Today these novels are still being read along with popular titles such as “The Vampire Chronicles” by Anne Rice or “The Cirque du Freak” novels by Darren Shan. Television and movies are no exception to the rule either with their countless Hollywood movies and television shows, like “Buffy” and “True Blood”.

The popular assumption with vampires is that, especially with the earlier ones, the style itself was more of the Victorian Era. With the Vampiress by Sunnywood, the elegant glamor of this dress is matched by the modern touches of an older style. This form-fitting dress is mostly black with red trimming and red patterned fabric down the center. Across the chest area there is black mesh and black ribbons that is woven down not unlike a corset. With the sleeves hanging off the shoulders two straps are in place to keep the dress in place. And starting from the middle of the forearm, delicate patterned lace veils your wrists and hands. With the ruffled bottom and thin over-skirt of chiffon, this is one Lady Vampire who is bound to turn heads at any late night gathering!

A design made exclusively for plus-size costume wearers this dress is available in three sizes. I myself found myself most comfortable in the largest size available, the 3X, which measures out to being a dress size average of 22 to 24. The fabric is light and the material draping from the arms does not cause my skin to itch as one would guess. Whether you are a long-time fan of vampire lore or someone who just likes to read the occasional comic or watch a movie from time to time, the Vampiress costume is a beautiful design for all to enjoy.

So much glamor! So little time!

Only 86 days left!

Time to plan and practice your own unique look. Come on over to Frankel’s and try on something. Get some ideas. Find just the right accessories. Get everything just so.

Practice your makeup. Get a professional consultation and learn to do it right. At Frankel’s we have everything you need. Four different lines of cosmetics. Hollywood quality. One line is made special for us and can be found only at Frankel’s. Air brush equipment and products are stocked as well.

You should see what creative makeup can do for the living dead…scary. Bullet holes. Magnificent death wounds. And blood? So many different kinds and so real I needed a transfusion just walking through that aisle.

Clown makeup with all the noses, ears, gags. Any character can be made into a clown with the right touch. Cheerleader clown? Nurse clown? Nerd clown? Or a Julia Childs clown with a dead chicken and a bottomless glass of wine? Or any other clown you can imagine, we can bring to life.

And teeth? Vampire teeth, gold and silver, some with bling. And we’ll show you the best way to wear them. And then there’s Toothfairy teeth—so malformed your Orthodontist would faint at the very sight.

Temporary tattoos of every variety—for every body part. Hearts and flowers. Mom in every configuration. Celtic. Motorcycle babe. Dragons. Snakes.

Wigs—curly, straggly, long or short. Even bald. Every color of the rainbow—neon, pastel, unbelievable.

Or maybe you want to be a star! Michael? We have the glove! And the costume. A little makeup and a good voice. Hope you can sing and dance.

Dolly? So much glamour, so little time. Not much is real so almost anyone can do a version of Dolly.

Elvis? Have you seen all those wannabee Elvises? You could be that good…or better. A little swagger and a sneer. Start practicing. We’ve got the makeup. We’ve got the jumpsuits. We’ve got the bling. If you’ve got the nerve to try it.

Marilyn? You can do this. The makeup. The costume. The little girl voice. A blonde wig. A bombshell dress. A beauty spot just so. With a fan placed just so, swirling your skirt higher and higher. Fantasies are made of this.

This is the time to play out your fantasies. Live your dreams! If not now, when? I came home as Cher last night and Johnny couldn’t keep his hands to himself….More later!

Your personal shopper,
Frankie

You Salsa Devil, You

Only 88 days left! Who are you going to be?

Let that naughty girl out!

Like to salsa? You could be the Salsa Devil. It’s a costume worthy of Dancing with the Stars. Glamorous, flirty, bare enough. Lots of red, sequins, filmy chiffon floating over a bare midriff. Fun for dancing. Sequined horns on a headband. Red pitchfork earrings.

What kind of party are you going to? Go salsa dancing and take some friends. Maybe dressed as Devil Babe in a jumpsuit with attached tail. Headband horns. Real looking pitchfork. Salsa moves and this costume are made for each other.

Devil by Night is also a possibility. Flame print with a tall face framing collar. Very flattering. Matching headband horns. Long gloves. Blood red earrings.

Or Devilicious—short and sassy miniskirt. Possibly with red fishnet tights. With a fire-red wig. And a horned red mask. Long gloves to take off provocatively one finger at a time. It will drive him crazy.

It’s all about the fantasy. Wouldn’t you like to let your inner devil out to play?

And the guys have fabulous choices, too. Lucifer De Luxe. Devil Lord. Bare chests with jeans under the robes, medallions, pitchforks, and fabulous twitching tails. Makeup to light up those mischievous eyes.

If the guys don’t have the six-pack to show off, we can help with that too. Without the workouts! Shortcuts include makeup or prosthetics. If a guy doesn’t look HOT after coming to Frankel’s . . .

You can be the man of her dreams. You can make it happen. What’s holding you back? Come on, it’s Halloween. What better time to play? And who knows what could happen. Playing with fire can be dangerous and FUN!

So pick your salsa club. Make your reservations. You are all gonna look so HOT. It’s not too late to take salsa lessons. Get your moves on.

Your personal shopper,
Frankie

Which Witch?

Ninety days to Halloween and already rumors are flying? Parties are being planned. Costumes are in the design stage. Hosts and hostesses are getting their brooms in a row.

The personal shopper hotline is buzzing with rumors of a witches-only party—with their dates, of course. So, if you’re dating a witch, you should be on the lookout for your own costume. Or come to Frankel’s, we’ll help you knock their warts off. Maybe you want to be a cross dressing witch yourself or find a more manly costume showing that gorgeous six pack—or not. We have it all at Frankel’s.

One group of girlfriends, planning to go together to the witches’ party came looking for costumes that would win the door prize for originality—just any old witch would NOT do. We shopped for a while and we talked to the closet mistress. The choices were amazing–and that’s just the choices for witches. We could probably dress hundreds of witches without duplicating. The girls are going to look amazing. Letting out their inner-witches, each one shows individuality, humor and sass.

Plus Mama chose red sequins for a bustier and FM shoes under her black robes with a spanking broom and black spider jewelry. The sweet honey-blond chose a short sexy costume—Pin-Up Witch with tall boots and a witch hat with bling. The others are still trying to decide but I think the redhead will become the Pixie Witch with green makeup and stick on warts. And the older one of the group is leaning toward Elegant classic witch—with her own cat and cauldron, cute little Victorian ankle boots and her magic book of spells. Maybe a wig of long white scraggly witch locks and skull jewelry.

As you can see, accessories make the costumes work better. A cauldron with real looking fire. Skull earrings. Red venom spider earrings. Blood and diamonds. The titillating spanking broom. Wild and witchy socks. Cute Victorian ankle boots. A peaked witch hat complete with owl. You could use boas of almost any coordinating color—long or short.

Accessories can change the whole mood. Which witch are you? Elegant? Sexy? Funny? Flirty? Irresistible? Irrepressible? Suggestive? Get your patter ready. Party’s on!

And to get everyone in the mood, a set of wicked witch prop legs hanging out of your trunk? Do you dare?

Your personal shopper,
Frankie

A Hundred Days Till HALLOWEEN!

The countdown begins NOW!

A hundred days to Halloween! New costumes are arriving daily—how many UPS and FedEx drivers can there be, and all going to Frankel’s.  So many costumes, so little time. More than 57,000 rental costumes live at Frankel’s year round. Maybe it’s time to do a little dress-up. Come on down and try something on. If you can’t find a rental you must have, we have almost as many different costumes for sale.

Let your imagination run wild! Who do you want to be this year? Britney? Marilyn? Elvis, Michael or Beyoncé? Anything is possible. The staff is trained to make it happen. Within limits, of course. Making a supermodel out of an 800 pound gorilla is going to be a little difficult.  But the closet mistress has been known to work miracles and magic before. Maybe she will do it for you.

Sometimes the smallest accessory makes all the difference. Where would the French maid be without her little feather duster? Or a senorita without her black lace fan? The movies have an impact on our imagination—do you have an inner star that’s screaming to come out? Let it shine! You could be the Mad Hatter (we have several versions, all worthy of Johnny Depp) or you could be the Red Queen. We might even be able to find you a pig. Or cover it all up entirely and be the White Rabbit complete with a large ticking pocket watch. C’mon Alice, you’ll be late. Come to the tea party as whoever YOU wanna be.  And check out our tea party display coming soon at 2801 Polk. Check the website for directions.

Being a pirate might be fun–carry your own personal bottle of rum, what’s your favorite—how about the only rum made in Texas. The parrot might be a little messy, though, unless he gets his ration of rum.

Sumo wrestler?   Geisha?   Dance hall girl?   John Wayne?   Or if you’ve got the right curves, maybe you could be an avatar. A bit of a challenge, but remember, whatever you can dream, Frankel’s can dress you for the part.

Seriously, put some thought into this. Don’t wait till October 29, there will be lines around the block waiting their turn for a dressing room.  You have ONE HUNDRED DAYS starting today. Find something outrageous—creative—FUN!  I’m looking forward to hearing about your ideas. Let me hear from you. I’ll answer as many questions as I can. And come on down to the store for inspiration!

Toga Tour

The closet mistress gave me the grand tour today. Seeing the store through her eyes gave me a totally different perspective.

Where I saw a Roman soldier, she saw a hottie of a customer transformed by her magic. After costume, accessories and makeup, he was so real I expected him to open his mouth and speak a dead language. His sandals were authentic down to the last mid calf strap. His sword and helmet were polished so bright, they shone like glass in the desert. A little spray tan . . . and he could have been in the Roman army all his life.

The sweetie by his side was also changed in a flash—into a goddess! The toga draped so fluttering, I mean flatteringly. The sandals, the jewelry, even the wig, Vestal virgin? Or Goddess Diana ready for the hunt?

That toga was no bed sheet! It clung to all the right places and draped enticingly over the right curves. When he saw her in that costume . . . and when she saw him. Something wonderful ignited. I wouldn’t have been surprised to be surrounded by torchlight in ancient Rome. The air around them was simply sizzling. Somehow I doubt these costumes will wait for October 31. Maybe she should try on the Cleopatra outfits too. She would look amazing in that exotic eye makeup and a serpent wrapped around her upper arm.

It’s surprising how many costumes are actually timeless, good year round for fun-loving couples. Wonder if my Johnny would like this toga thing . . . maybe a breakaway version.

The closet mistress turned away to take care of another customer, but not before I caught the twinkle in her eye. She knew I was hooked, too. Like she could read my mind, almost. I suspect she really loves her job. Seems like everyone at Frankel’s loves being there. And they are almost ready for another great Halloween. As the new displays go up, I’ll let you know what’s hot this year.