Eyepatch Party!

Eyepatches have long been a staple of alt fashion. From visual kei to burlesque, the eyepatch has been used to accentuate elements of romanticism, glamour, and mystique throughout the ages.

Advertising giant David Ogilvy knew this in 1951 when he created “the man in the Hathaway shirt,” a campaign that put a tiny company on the map by featuring a distinguished-looking man with a mysterious eyepatch in a series of ads that continued to run for over 25 years and inspired dozens of copycats.

David “Wear the Eyepatch” Bowie knew this in 1972 when he popularized the patch during his Ziggy Stardust era, influencing everyone from Peter Burns to Rihanna. And of course, film directors know that an eyepatch can create the character, from Quentin Tarantino’s Elle Driver to John Carpenter’s Snake Plissen. It can be said that the most (come to think of it, the only) memorable thing from Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow was the sight of Angie with an eyepatch.

Of course, stylish eyepatches aren’t just for show. For centuries, people with eye ailments have incorporated the patch into their personal style. The first chic eyepatch-wearer may have been Spanish princess Doña Ana de Mendoza y de la Cerda. Around 1545, young Ana lost her eye in an accident during a playfight with one of her guards. Donning an eyepatch only fueled her popularity at the court, and it is said that she had a bejeweled eyepatch for every dress she owned.

Film director Fritz Lang’s eye problems started in 1916, the same year he stumbled into film. While recuperating from war wounds that would eventually cost him his eye, he began to write scripts and took up acting. In his younger years, he wore a monocle over his injured eye; later in life, an eyepatch under dark glasses. Knowing the director’s struggle towards monocular vision, Maria’s lingering robot wink in Metropolis somehow feels much more significant. Other fabulous/functional eyepatch-wearers include Slick Rick, James Joyce and Momus.

I never thought I’d have to wear an eyepatch for any reason other than a fashion shoot or a fancy night out. But following some recent eye problems, I have to wear one for at least a portion of each day, for at least a little while. Thus began my trawl through Tumblr, Flickr, and fashion blogs in search for the perfect patch. The search uncovered dozens of beautiful images from Coilhouse friends and family. After the jump, an epic collection of over 60 eyepatches featuring Mother of London, Salvador Dali, PUREVILE!, James Dean, Amelia Arsenic, Chad Michael Ward, Shien Lee, Antiseptic, Jane Doe, Alyz Tale, Atsuko Kudo and many others. I suspect that many of you have eyepatch photos as well. If you’ve got one, post it in the comments!

“Athena’s Curse, Medusa’s Fate” — Created by Jessica Rowell, Nina Pak, and Elizabeth Maiden

Sometimes, when creative and inspired people get together to collaborate on making imagery in a specific vein that no one’s attempted before, a special kind of magic happens. Case in point, this elaborate photo series independently produced by Jessica Rowell of J-Chan Designs and photographer Nina Pak in cahoots with model Elizabeth Maiden:

Κατάρα της Αθηνάς, η μοίρα της Μέδουσας
Αθηνάς: Elizabeth Maiden
Μέδουσας: Jessica Rowell of J-Chan’s Designs
Photography: Nina Pak
Costume Design & Styling: J-Chan’s Designs
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Ancient Greek lore and steampunk culture clash, titan style, in a sumptuous mythos-meets-modernity photo series depicting the Goddess Athena (Elizabeth Maiden) and the Gorgon Medusa (Jessica Rowell).

According to legend, the once ravishing Medusa was cursed with a monstrous appearance after “seducing” Poseidon, Lord of the Sea, under the roof of Athena’s sacred temple. Hence, this series title (which, translated into English, means) “Athena’s curse, Medusa’s fate.”

Rowell pulled “inspiration from Desmond Davis’ 1981 film Clash of the Titans, then put an atemporal spin on things by incorporating several contemporary ingredients that “also felt industrial and familiar to alternative culture.”

Jiz – A Very Special Drug Episode

Hot off the presses, a brand-new episode of Jiz: the bizarre, hilarious, raunchily dubbed version of 80s cartoon Jem and the Holograms. Where the original theme song was “Exciting adventures, fashion and fame / Once you’re a Jem girl, you’re never the same,” the Jiz refrain goes something like: “Trannies and drag queens doing cocaine / Once you’re a Jiz whore you’re never the same.” And that about sums it up.

So here it is: the Jiz drug special. “I know what you’re thinking,” writes Jiz creator Sienna D’Enema. “Isn’t every episode a drug episode? Seriously though, Jiz gets cut off from her Electronic Drug Dealer. Witness her descent into madness.”

If this is your first exposure to Jiz, check out some of the older episodes, starting with the canonical Abortion Episode, in which Jiz is pro-choice. Really, really pro-choice:

Teen Goth

Coilhouse contibutor Angeliska Polacheck hosts a monthly new wave/old school goth night called Exquisite Corpse, in Austin, Texas. She originally posted this exposition into her errant youth as inspiration for this month’s theme: TEEN GOTH. The original posts can be seen in their entirety here and here

This is Cinamon. I remember seeing her on the very same day, though I didn’t take this photograph of her. I was probably 12 at the time, and as I passed by her on The Drag down by Sound Exchange, the trajectory of my life changed forever. I was completely mesmerized by this vision in black tatters, a gorgeous alien-wraith who seemed like an apparition drifting down a banal sidewalk in the bright Texas sun. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. I stopped and told her how amazing I thought she was, and she was so sweet to me. I’ve held this photo dear for years, a treasured gift from a mutual friend. She was such a huge influence on not only my style, but also for scores of others, (maybe even yours!)Cinamon was the original inspiration for Neil Gaiman’s Death character from the Sandman series. Her friend Mike Dringenberg drew her years before, and by an odd twist of chance (or fate), this woman unwittingly helped shape the style of scads of wee gothlings. Cheers to you, Cinamon – you continue to inspire and astound!

This was me at maybe 15 or 16? It was for a fashion show at the old Club 404, a legendary big gay bar from back in the day here in Austin. I was total monster-child jail bait, who spent most of my time scampering around in the woods on drugs wishing I wasn’t human, poring over Elfquest and Sandman comics and Storm Constantine’s Wraeththu trilogy. I made my outfit in five minutes out of electrical tape, eyeliner, wire and black tulle. Oh, and a thong. Heaven forbid that should I ever spawn a girl-child as naughty as I was! With any luck, I’ll end up with a Saffy.


(photo by Monte McCarter)

At the tender age of barely 17, I became the armed spokesmodel for FringeWare Review’s book catalogue. This involved posing in my underpants and various getups made of rubber and dollparts with books and guns. Real guns. That’s totally an actual Uzi or Tech-9 or whatever the hell, too. I was super blessed to be part of FringeWare when it was around – it was a strange and magical era.

Cyber Industrial Dance Tutorial: The Definitive Edition

For those of who who have always wondered how to master this arcane dance art, a helpful tutorial is included above.

For further cheering-up, see below. It’s like watching a dozen adorable Tamagothis hatch and grow in full-color, right before your very eyes:

Creative Hairstyles from NAHA 2011


Ericka Brannon from the Make-up Artist of the Year Category

The 2011 North American Hairstyling Awards were recently announced, and this year the nominees are bigger and poofier than ever. Another year brings another crop of robot girls, aliens, future flappers, mod androgynes, and obligatory hair-basket motifs.

Previously on Coilhouse:


Jacke Thompson, Avant-Garde Category

Albín Brunovský

Before finding these illustrations I had never heard of the Slovak illustrator, Albín Brunovský. It was unsuprising to learn that he was quite well-known, and well-regarded, in his own country. This series of women with fantastical heads pieces, some of them growing out of their owners’s heads, features a perfectly surreal juxtaposition of the absurd and macabre.

Saxy George Michael Prankster

Oof. The world continues to feel like an extra brutal place this week. We’re all finding it a bit difficult to concentrate over here, for many reasons. Also, by now, many of you will have noticed that Coilhouse is experiencing technical difficulties due to some sort of EPIC HOSTING FAIL that’s not in our immediate control. Big thanks to those of you who have kindly told us “psst… your slip is showing, honey!” Queries have been logged. Hopefully it will get fixed soon.

Meantime, I’m gonna go ahead and live vicariously through this guy:

The MegaMen are MegaRad

Via DJ Dead Billy comes this live 1983 performance of “Designed for Living” by an obscure Brisbane, AU band called The MegaMen. Watch, listen and rejoice as three elegant new romantics take the Bandaged Bear Telethon by storm.


Singer: Xhian Behm. Keyboardist: Mark Love. Duct-taped snare drum tamer: Lance Leopard. [via]

Billy professes to being nonplussed by certain aspects of the performance, namely The MegaMen’s mega-bitchy lyrics. Your mileage may vary: personally, I find their immaculate Nagelesque coifs, perfected sneers and lissome, synchronized dance moves impossible to resist. And really, when you think about it, don’t lines like “I see your pain and find it funny / You gave me love and I took your money” go together with disdainful high-kicks [2:39] and queenly mic-cord flips [2:42] like ebony eyeliner and ivory skin foundation? RAWR. Love.

Kim Boekbinder: The Impossible Girl

The Impossible Girl is the glorious solo debut of Kim Boekbinder (previously of the duo, Vermillion Lies). Kim’s a quirky, funny, bravely vulnerable, electrifying lightning rod of a woman. Her music tends to reflect these traits in a most endearing fashion.


Video for “Impossible Girl #2” by Jim Batt. Song inspired by Kate Rannells.

She recorded the 18 tracks of her record in increments earlier this year at studios in Maine and Boston with Sean Slade (Radiohead, Dresden Dolls) and Benny Grotto (Aerosmith) and an assortment of talented session players. She’s also been traveling internationally on a shoestring budget, bringing her songs of love, loss, self-discovery, sex, drugs, and nuclear physics to audiences in Berlin, Melbourne, and New York City.


Photo by Heike Schneider-Matzigkeit.

The Impossible Girl is yet another wonderful example of how crowdsourcing hubs like Kickstarter are enabling creative people to self-produce art that would otherwise be very difficult for them to afford. It’s a brave new world full of, ya know… POSSIBILITY. And community. And rainbows. And unicorns. Yay!

Kim’s album drops today. You can buy a copy in MP3 or CD format (the packaging for which features an exquisite portrait of The Impossible Girl by longtime Coilhouse fave, Travis Louie), and she’s offering all kinds of fancy package deals that include posters, limited edition eye makeup kits by Sweet Libertine, and an Impossible Girl paper doll by (yet another beloved Coilhouse comrade) Molly Crabapple.