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We had so much fun doing this shoot together!
Written By Jenn Kwashnak, Marquee Ball Event Planner
On a chilly day in January, I nervously walked up Harford Road in Lauraville to ask a simple question of two very cool humans—we’re putting on this crazy party at Creative Alliance, will you style a photoshoot for us? My nerves were quickly calmed as I walked into Milk & Ice Vintage, greeted by best friends and owners, Angie Gavin and Kate Schultz. Milk & Ice, previously in Hampden, re-opened in Lauraville in 2022. The shop is pristine and beautifully curated, with a staggering inventory of wearable vintage spanning decades. Angie and Kate’s enthusiasm is palpable and their reverence of vintage clothing is almost religious, but they do not take themselves too seriously, which makes hanging out in the shop with them a delight. Perhaps needless to say, they were totally on board with styling our photoshoot, and within minutes we were brainstorming, taking notes, getting measurements, and pulling pieces off the racks. They both share an enviable and admirable ability to think outside the box of typical vintage styling, combining seemingly disparate pieces from several eras to seamlessly pull together an Instagram-worthy look in mere moments.
The theme for Creative Alliance’s 2023 Marquee Ball is Creature Feature, inspired by Universal Studios monsters to include The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Frankenstein, and The Mummy, to name a few. Our goal with Milk & Ice was to recreate these monsters in an approachable way to show that anyone can find these pieces without spending hundreds of dollars or having to buy some cheap Halloween costume that they’re never going to wear again. We also wanted to encourage people to play with the looks in ways to suggest the character without being an exact copy of a movie poster.
For the photoshoot, we wanted to portray a few classic monsters to give party-goers a range of ideas to play around with. Heather Keating, our Marketing Director, definitely wanted The Creature from the Black Lagoon, with lots of shades of green and hints of swampy plant-life. I thought adding in a couple monsters who wear black and white would really make the Creature pop, creating a dynamic image for marketing. And so, our weird family portrait was born! Heather also happens to be an incredible photographer, so she volunteered to take the photos. We used her impeccably styled property, The Fox Den, as our studio for the day. Heather spent the pandemic as many of us did, collecting and caring for plants…so she styled the shoot using lots of greenery, evoking serious lagoon vibes.
Heather reached out to Earl Orrin of Earl Orrin Productions, creator of Chocolate Covered Rocky Horror (which hit Creative Alliance and Center Stage last October and will be back this October! Stay tuned!). We know Earl as Rocky but had a really good feeling he would be the perfect Creature. At over 6 feet tall but with the kindest smile and soul, he brought a softness and light to the Creature that we weren’t expecting—mischievous, with a twinkle in his eye…a big benevolent Creature. Lula Lioness, a drag performer in Baltimore and DC, who also happens to be one of our beloved Event Managers and Marketing Assistants, was a dead ringer for Vampira. Also super tall and you know…vampy…she embodied Vampira as a queer femme goth goddess with whom you want to sip a cocktail and also maybe plan a murder or two. I also happen to be a burlesque performer in addition to working at Creative Alliance as an Event Manager, Marketing Assistant, and the Event Planner for the Marquee Ball, and this whole photoshoot concept is right up my alley, so I cast myself as the Bride of Frankenstein. My biggest challenge was to figure out how to represent the Bride’s signature white hair streaks. I assure you I felt like a genius when I settled on pin curls. When Earl hired burlesque-star-drag-queen-scenic-designer-seamstress-is-there-anything-this-gal-can’t-do Betty O’Hellno to do his Creature make-up, we knew we had a dream team assembled!
Vampira and Bride of Frankenstein become fast friends over cocktails. Vintage 1960s brass and glass candleabras courtesy of Milk & Ice.
Angie and Kate worked quickly over two weeks to pull looks for each of the monsters, schedule fittings, and consult with us about hair, make-up, and accessories. On the day of the shoot, they arrived with an enticing pile of vintage, some giant candelabras, a box of sparkly brooches, and perhaps the most hilarious pièce de résistance, demonstrating so much dedication to this photoshoot—a giant Halloween spiderweb decoration found abandoned (or maybe properly stored) in Angie’s attic and hand-dyed green to complete the Creature’s boggy look. C’mon!
Betty O’Hellno designed gills out of craft foam and glitter for the Creature—one of Betty’s many magical talents, making something cheap look unachievably lush and glamorous! While Lula and I did our own make-up and hair, Betty applied the Creature’s make-up in what felt like 15 minutes. Maybe it was. She really is magical. Every once in a while, we’d glance up to see a step in the process. Fishnet stretched across the face. A cloud of green spray paint. Then *poof* Earl was transformed!
Betty O’Hellno transforms Earl into the Creature.
Below are unintentionally PERFECT side-by-sides showing Hollywood versions of the monsters and Angie and Kate’s vintage styling! Read on to see what elements came together to get these incredible looks.
Earl is wearing a 1930s black linen ruffled shawl, 1980s bronze corset top, 1950s green swing coat with mink collar accented with scraps from a gold 1920s gown and green hand-dyed Halloween store cobweb, and a 1960s rhinestone costume brooch courtesy of Parisian Flea. Glittery gills and make-up by Betty O’Hellno.
Lula is wearing a 1990s black slinky Grecian inspired gown, accented with gloves and jewelry from her own collection. She did her make-up and hair.
Jenn is wearing a 1940s cream silk nightgown and a 1970s stage costume collar, accented by 1950s Weiss earrings and bracelet and a green gemstone ring from her own collection. She did her make-up and styled her wig.
If you want to see more of this monster family or create your own, be sure to get your tickets to the 2023 Marquee Ball, featuring Super City, Beach Creeper, decor by Betty O. Scenic & Events, pop-up performances by Earl Orrin Productions, and hopefully many more monsters (i.e., YOU) styled by Milk & Ice Vintage! You can schedule a styling appointment with Milk & Ice via Instagram or stop in during open hours to get your look together for the Marquee Ball!
Milk & Ice is located at 4801 Harford Rd Suite H3, Baltimore, MD 21214. It is owned, operated, and sourced by long-time best friends Angie Gavin and Kate Schultz. Both proprietors bear over 20 years of experience in vintage and antiquities with a strong background in brokering, estate liquidations, and in auction house settings. Their retail shop offers vintage clothing from the turn of the century up to the 1990s as well as a curated collection of antique collectibles and art. Be sure to stop in during open hours or set up and appointment with them when you are ready to get your Creature Feature look together! And stay tuned for their next big event The Baltimore Vintage Expo on Sunday, June 4, 2023 at Union Collective!
The Marquee Ball is Creative Alliance’s annual fundraiser gala that includes a VIP dinner, live and silent auctions, open studios, and a wild dance party that honors The Patterson’s history as a movie palace. The movie theme inspires party decor and costumes with eye-popping results! Baltimore’s wildest party supports Creative Alliance’s free youth education and community arts programs!
All photographs courtesy of Heather Keating.