A tribute to : LV The Stylist

For me personal-idol-wise , 2016 has been an extremely heavy year so far. The two people I idolized most , who inspired me in every creative capacity possible ( every shoot I’ve styled or creative directed has some sort of homage to them not to mention all my finals/projects in art school) passed away a little more than two months apart , Vanity & Prince. Their absence left some sort of emptiness inside me , knowing one of the worlds most beautiful VnPwomen and the most creative musician ( and arguably the most beautiful man) are gone forever is something that stings considering who my generation and the generations after mine have for idols now. There is some comfort in their absence at least in the sense they’re somewhere together now forever , at least I believe so . It still hurts and always will though .

Recently I had taken a break from social media , the ego’s , political opinions , the lack of originality , the booking emails , ect it all was getting to me . I needed to clear my mind after wrapping my last styling assignments for a magazine , I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next , my go to photographer is retiring , my main muse is semi over the industry , and the I city currently reside in isn’t exactly a city where you can get consistent paid work or meet a lot of genuine creative people who can still uphold professionalism and deadlines . It was just one of those weeks . I finally logged back into my instagram and started looking at some of my favorite people just to see what I missed for the week , I came across an accessory designer with a familiar picture of her and my favorite stylist as I read the caption my heart literally jumped , it was her tribute to him , he had died . I could not believe what I was reading , I went to his page and the last pic was one I had like before I had deactivated my account but the comments just reinforced the sad reality , he was gone . When Vanity and Prince both died , the losses of course felt personal , I grew up in households that were influenced by them and eventually had my own journey’s of inspiration with them but with this particular news it felt extremely personal , I’ve lost two close friends before and that feeling of being emotionally gutted , speechless , mad , just everything hit again.

Back in 09 I had just started at M.I.U. under their FRM program , there weren’t a lot of us back then , this was right on the cusp before social media ,so I was lucky enough to get a crash course in the fashion industry before all the influx of self proclaimed designers , stylists , models , creative directors , ect . It was just a small group of us who genuinely wanted careers in fashion and went about them through networking and honest ambition. It was something that chose us somewhere along in life and we all ended up there in our journeys. Despite the constant tropical heat Miami offers, I wastumblr_lsmjo7ecrd1qbxkq5o1_500 always in a vintage biker jacket ( I had a blk and a white but endlessly hunted ebay and thrifts for a red at the time ) and patent leather sneakers , and mostly black attire (some things never changed) , at night I kept my oversized vintage shades on , that was just me or so I thought. One day between classes I came across a blog and it changed me forever. There was another kid out there from Queens in oversized shades , patent leather high tops , and vintage biker jackets ( and he had them not just in blk and white but the coveted red & blue too) and he was always rocking them whether shooting , at an industry event, or traveling like I wanted too. I followed his blog and myspace religiously from that point on , then of course on twitter , ect . I saw him create looks for Miguel ( one of my only modern idols) , Usher’s tour , a collaboration with Android Homme , and even his own line. We eventually crossed paths at an event and as intimidated as I was , he quickly made me feel comfortable and equal in his presence although it was brief it felt like we had knew each other already. Whenever I felt discouraged I would always think back to our special moment and think about his words of encouragement and what it meant to me and what it meant to see him grow and always LV The Stylistbe his own person , NEVER conforming to seasons or trends like so many do. Like Prince & Vanity another legend leaves us truly ahead of his time. Devastation is kicking in now but so is motivation and endurance to continue doing what I always wanted to do . Leo Velasquez was / is my hero and his legacy will live on through the many many people he inspired including myself. Always let your creative ambition overpower your insecurities. Inspire The Future.

Lyons Girls ( & Homme’s ) on film

Diana & Britt
Diana & Britt

I’ve been secretly moonlighting or perhaps indulging is a more appropriate word , but nevertheless enjoying the hell out of my fujifilm instax mini 8 instant film camera . I picked one up for the

Tyler
Tyler

hell of it while doing some pulls for a magazine shoot after I seen how clear and awesome the sample pictures were at Urban Outfitters. I decided to test it out on the set of a Mynt Magazine editorial and was hooked, shooting impromptu portraits and good times on and off sets since then. I was lucky to shoot an entire sun glass & accessories editorial for Coeus Magazine’s upcoming September reboot issue and will hopefully get to continue indulging in more shoots for further issues . Here are a few of my favorite shots from different shoots , In my own little crazy and creative world shooting my muses on instant film makes me feel Warhol esque lol .

Scenes from a set : Betty Idol’s PLUTO

This past week recording artist & honorary Lyons Girl , Betty Idol was in town for hosting duties and to shoot the visuals for her single , Pluto . Coming off of the heals of her controversial first season of Love & Hip Hop : Atlanta , I was really happy to see Betty in her true element , making good music and for herself finally . The song is an ethereal & pop synth summer anthem that fuses a number of genres from hiphop , trance , and even a bit of blue grass . For the video , Betty enlisted director Q.Guyton (fresh from his own starring vehicle , Cold Summer) and model, Jason Santore , as her leading man( the Mickey to her Mallory as the video is a unique ode to the Tarantino classic , Natural Born Killers) . I was lucky to be on set through out the day and although the scorching Texas heat and constant Houston traffic got the best of me near the end of the night , I was really impressed at the level of commitment , creativeness , and drive everyone showed to getting this video made ( my vintage skull ring & biker jacket have cameos too lol) . Betty and Jason had amazing chemistry and took Q’s direction in easily one or two takes. Just from the raw footage I seen during playback , I cannot wait to see the finished product . There is something really special about witnessing someone with true talent and ambition see their visions come to fruition , I feel privileged to have been part of #MissionPluto.

Scenes from a set : COEUS Magazine

Dani Nicole
Dani Nicole

This past Friday , the usual troupe of talent and I were back on set for COEUS magazine’s upcoming September issue reboot. I was privileged to not only style & creative direct but also showcase

some of my awesome and talented friends . Each issue will feature profiles / interviews on social media titans and creatives in the entertainment & arts industry,  D&A models latest contract girl , Dani Nicole and music producer Ca$h are kicking it off . I also put the finishing touches on a really

Ca$h
Ca$h

cool concept editorial, featuring pieces from Celine,Fear of god , Jcil WhiteHan Cholo, and Versace.

 

Scenes from a Set : COEUS Magazine’s Summer Issue

This past Friday I was lucky enough to not only style but creative direct an editorial for the summer reboot issue of COEUS Magazine . This was a sunglasses and accessory showcase editorial , we shot both digital and on polaroid . The shoot features my muse Brittany Fague and the latest model to join Neil Hamil‘s roster , Diana V . The models were decked out in frames from Thom Browne , Rayban , and Dolce & Gabana as well as jewelry from Suze Swan , River Island , Versace , and a local designer , Jcil White , whose decadent and rich pieces stole the show . I also pulled from Asos , Nasty Gal , Paul Smith , Hugo Boss , Tom Ford , and Manolo Blahnick for some of the more fashion driven shots. Due to the weather and other crazy circumstances , the male model booked out of LA , Austin Wilson was unable to make the shoot , I really had been looking forward to working with him but the girls killed it and there is always the December issue . This shoot was awesome and everyone really had great chemistry , We are set to shoot the 2nd half of the editorial on the 20th and I can’t wait !

Scenes from a set : Book cover characters come to life

 

This past Sunday we completed shooting the last half of my 2nd book’s ( Midnights in Atlanta Hollywood) cover . Bringing back three of the models from the 1st book cover shoot , two reprising the same characters and the other portraying a totally different

SerenaChristian
SerenaChristian

character than she did on the first one (originally had cast the adult film star who inspired the new featured character  but my publisher at the time wouldn’t approve it so I simply restyled my go to model Brittany as the new character and it worked out fine , besides the character Brittany portrayed on the first cover is officially retired from series story) I kept these character looks minimal with specific details that reflect the character’s growth in this story. All black pieces selected from Nasty Gal , ASOS , Schott NYC , Dolls Kill , and Nudie . The two returning characters have not only grown emotionally and internally in this next story but have also elevated fashion wise . For the character “Mandy” she finds

Mandy
Mandy

herself in Atlanta and at times lonely as her love interest is caught up in his own new story , her party girl ways seemingly behind her , she’s more chic and reserved yet still sexy . The character “Christian” finds himself in Hollywood and in a dark place personally , he needed to be more hardened and a bit more intimidating . Finally the new featured character Serena , (briefly introduced in the first story but now front and center in this one) has an edgy gothic look while still being alluring & sexy ,  her character is enigmatic in that we don’t know really what her true intentions are or who exactly she really is till the conclusion (much like a lot of people you come in contact with in Hollywood lol ). Writing this book was so much fun and seeing these characters return and come back to life is a very surreal experience . Another experience on this shoot was one of nostalgia and feeling bittersweet as this was the last shoot in

Serena
Serena

Crazy Images Studios (my main photographer and collaborator Michael Montoya‘s in home studio) although we will continue working on other projects together they will no longer be there , we had so many fun memories creating so many dope projects together there but like the characters and their looks in the story , things must evolve and change .

Scenes from a set : Book cover characters come to life

Time, it really does fly. Especially when there are deadlines , rewrites , limited availability, and an in demand crew involved . With all those factors the time has come again for the cover of my 2nd book to begin production. Since I had been through this

" Cody Knight "
” Cody Knight “

grueling yet rewarding process once before I was sort of able to take all of the curve balls and chaos and mold them into a more smoother ride when it came to balancing my writing process with the styling & creative direction duties the cover calls for. This time around, the story ( which is a direct follow up to the first book) takes place simultaneously in Atlanta and Hollywood , both cities are notorious for their upkeep in ones appearance and status , so it was important to reflect that on this cover. Two of the new characters certainly represent that to different degrees in the story. For Atlanta , the character is “Raquel Jordan” (a woman briefly introduced on the last page of the first book ) in this story it was really fun to delve deep in developing her character and go a totally new direction with her

Atl meets Hollywood
Atl meets Hollywood

than I had originally planned ( rewrites can be fun at times ) . She’s a hustler and very well connected. She’s created a great life for herself and wants to show one of the protagonist from the first book how to come up in her city , whether her intentions are truly good or if there’s a hidden agenda , you’ll just have to read to find out . I decided to cast the real life woman who inspired the character and selected pieces from Zara and vintage Versace to give off that certain edge, a mix of city glamour and fast life living which she exudes on the pages . The other character , “Cody Knight” comes from the west coast , we meet him in Hollywood but where he actually comes from is an important part of his story arc , so you’ll have to just read to find out but once you do you will get what I mean . This character required more details besides the actual styling , he had to be covered in tattoos and wear eccentric contacts ( again once you read the book , you will get it) , luckily my photographer ( Michael Montoya) is a skilled artist too ( my paper ink transfer with alcohol idea was a bust) and he was able to give the illusion of being covered in tattoos by just drawing them on the models hands . The rest of the model was covered with selected street wear pieces from Stampd , Urban Outfitters , H&M , and micro chain necklaces from Veritas by Design , all brands that represent the west coast street style well . When each model was ready to shoot , I played music from the soundtrack I created for

" Raquel Jordan "
” Raquel Jordan “

the story ( it’s a technique that got me through writing the first and helped a lot on the second , music assigned to a character really allows you to get inside their mind) . Professional by The Weeknd and The Beach by The Neighbourhood played on repeat as we shot the models , helping the models really get into character , at times a little too much lol. Overall the duality of writing & styling / creative directing is at times hectic but both end up balancing each other out and in the end it truly is rewarding. Seeing your characters come to life is very surreal. I’m excited to bring the next new character to life as well as revisiting & enhancing some of the originals from the first book .