Boise’s annual 208 Tattoo Festival is growing in leaps and bounds, this year bringing in over 5,500 attendants for 2015, it’s 3rd year in operation. Tattoo artists and enthusiasts come from all over the country to participate in this edgy, creative event, and a few even traveled from overseas to be here! But if there’s one aspect of the weekend’s festivities that truly embodied the Fest’s creative and edgy spirit, it was Friday night’s SugarSkulls Fashion Show. (Disclaimer: I had a wedding to attend the following day, and thus unfortunately missed Saturday’s fashion show, but I’m sure it was creative and spectacular also!)
When I heard that Boise’s legendary concept photographer and makeup artistry team Rachel Hope and Unique Angeline Irish were collaborating on a fashion show like no other, I knew I had to be there! I teamed up with photographer Virginia Treat of Treats Photography, and headed to Expo Idaho.
The show began, with dark, gritty music thumping through the speakers, the singer eerily entreating listeners to “Hold my hand…” Two young girls wandered out onto the stage, looking freshly-risen from the grave and a little lost – but also a teensy bit terrifying! Like the type you’d meet on a deserted road, and want to help, the poor dears… Until the moment they literally eat your heart out! A dead horse emerged from the curtain behind them, lurching forward to the music, as the girls stared straight ahead into nothingness. But the moment you feared the horse might attack them, they turned instead and began gently stroking their pet on the head and neck. Soon the smallest of the little ladies mounted up to ride in high fashion off the stage. It was a glorious beginning, and set the tone for the remainder of what promised to be boundary-pushing, macabre entertainment, with one consistent thread: beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder!
Next, from behind the curtains emerged a most beautiful mermaid, slowly oozing her way across the stage like she was dancing underwater. She slithered and shimmered in the shadows, a fierce aquatic creature you’d be equally entranced by and terrified of, if you met her in her own domain.After the mermaid departed, more fantastical creatures emerged, one by one, to dance across the stage and mesmerize us with their bold beauty… And terrifying darkness.
Towards the end of the show, one final creature came forth, emitting gasps from the audience. The Phoenix arose, ascending on stilts to the awe of all who watched her! She danced, swaying her wings through the air in a masterful ballet, and everyone held their breath… Later, after the show, ended emcee Dapper Doyle was heard telling her, “I just had several mild heart attacks, watching you do that!” I think nearly everyone did; it was an incredible display of creativity and bravery!
Every character that graced the stage was meticulously styled, from their elaborate makeup to each handmade headpiece, necklace, or dress. Click on the photos and you can zoom in – really close – to check out the incredible detail work that went into each and every aspect of this show. (You can also check out more photos of the rest of the Tattoo Festival, at Treats Photography’s Facebook page, here.)
Rachel Hope, Unique Irish, hair stylist Skyla Dawn, and Tiffany LaRocque outdid themselves for the Sugarskulls Fashion Show. This show would have been right at home in a Portland, L.A., or New York venue, with big-budget lighting and special effects… But thanks to the 208 Tattoo Festival we had the opportunity for a truly epic experience, right here in Boise, and I am so grateful for the chance to see it in person! Fantastic work, to everyone involved – LOVED it!!!