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How Trashy Lingerie stoked L.A.’s love affair with sexy Halloween costumes


Los Angeles’ hottest non-public members membership — with its annual payment of $2 and at occasions nudity — hides in plain sight on La Cienega Boulevard because the modest birthplace of Halloween’s sexy-costume-industrial advanced.

You recognize the one.

The pink storefront of Trashy Lingerie, with mannequins in various types of lingerie and costumes

The Trashy Lingerie storefront, with a window show for Halloween.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Occasions)

Violent pink façade. Come-hither model window show. Cheeky wood pinup whose derriere reads, “Park in Rear.”

It’s Trashy Lingerie, the bawdy boutique that’s outlined a Los Angeles aesthetic with its tailored lingerie and costumes and, in doing so, has seized a fierce commerce loyalty. In April, Trashy will have a good time 50 years at its unique location, owned and run by the identical household, with its items designed and handmade in-house for the reason that starting. Because of social media, a brand new crop of Halloween consumers, like fast-fashion-averse Zoomers, are driving gross sales.

“There’s a particular feeling while you stroll in there,” stated model-actress Carmen Electra. “You’re feeling like, ‘Wow, that is Hollywood,’ you understand?”

She was an aspiring singer and dancer and new to Los Angeles within the early ’90s. Prince, her then-mentor, had his bodyguard take her purchasing. They went to Trashy however didn’t know in regards to the members-only coverage, which is a formality to make consumers really feel extra comfy. She crammed out a one-page software and paid the worth of admission. It grew to become her favourite retailer. She’s misplaced rely of the occasions she’s enlisted Trashy onstage, throughout photograph shoots and on film units, however she nonetheless has each costume.

“I keep in mind being within the dressing room and Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian can be within the different,” Electra stated. “Otherwise you’d stroll out and Courtney Love is leaving out the again with an enormous bag, and that’s simply how Trashy Lingerie is.”

A blue western-themed costume on a mannequin.

A blue western-themed quantity, on a model at Trashy Lingerie.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Occasions)

The shop has constructed its status on its high-quality, unique merchandise with rigorous customer support to match, making it a haven not only for VIPs but in addition for wardrobe stylists and costume designers. Trashy has made some of popular culture’s most iconic seems to be, just like the bunny fits for Reese Witherspoon in “Legally Blonde” and Renée Zellweger in “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” The shop additionally has made seems to be for Pamela Anderson in “Barb Wire,” Emma Stone in “Straightforward A” and the Fembots in “Austin Powers,” in addition to Madonna, Cher, Stevie Nicks, Ariana Grande and Teyana Taylor.

Buying (or window purchasing) for Halloween at Trashy is a ceremony of passage for a lot of Angelenos. October can account for 60% of the yr’s gross sales, with the bulk coming within the 10 days main as much as the vacation.

Trashy’s value level is summed up in a single phrase: “If you understand, you understand,” stated Randy Shrier, who runs the shop as of late. “And if you need to ask why it’s this value after attempting it on, then you definitely’ll by no means know.” In different phrases, it prices some huge cash to look this trashy, to paraphrase one other longtime buyer, Dolly Parton.

Well-liked ready-to-wear getups like flappers, cowgirls, fairies and nurses can vary from $250 to $1,500; the frilly three-piece Marie Antoinette gown, a pièce de résistance made from brocade silk dripping with pearls and satin bows, prices $1,315. Customized Halloween costumes can fetch as much as $4,000 and should be ordered by July.

The start of the ‘horny Halloween business’

“The horny Halloween business was primarily based on all our stuff,” stated Shrier, who took over after his mother and father retired. Mitchell and Tracy Shrier opened the storefront in 1973 as a shoe store. They named it after considered one of Mitchell’s slingback designs, “the Trashy,” which was taken from a British slang time period to imply trendy or tart.

Mitchell selected the situation for 2 causes: It was already a former shoe retailer, and the block had built-in foot visitors. A yr in and the Shriers began fielding requests for hosiery to go together with heels, so that they hand-dyed stockings in vivid colorways.

Mannequins in a sexy Marie Antoinette costume and a short black sequined dress.

A Marie Antoinette costume, full with brocade silk dripping with pearls and satin bows, and an identical masquerade masks.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Occasions)

“After I was a bit of child, our complete yard was crammed with nylon stockings blowing within the breeze in all the colours of a rainbow,” Shrier recalled. Clients wanted garter belts to carry up the stockings, so that they made these too, working their method up the physique with underwear and bras till they’d a complete lingerie line. By 1979, they’d gotten rid of the shoe rack and taken over subsequent door. They maintained a leg up by sticking with one location, paying expert employees aggressive wages and adapting to 6 generations of consumers.

With its good climate, showbiz our bodies and bikini seashores, post-sexual revolution L.A. was the pure hotbed of the underwear-as-outerwear pattern. A Trashy bustier worn by Madonna on her 1987 Who’s That Woman world tour offered for a report $72,000 in 2011. Playboy and Penthouse used Trashy’s merchandise for centerfold shoots, whereas the Runaways wore Trashy onstage, and the Go-Go’s featured the shop within the music video for “Our Lips Are Sealed.

A vintage newspaper clipping shows an advertisement for Trashy Lingerie.

A classic newspaper clipping promoting Trashy Lingerie.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Occasions)

A man stands between his parents, surrounded by costumed mannequins and other items.

Mitchell, left, and Tracy Shrier flank their son, Randy, who now runs Trashy Lingerie. The couple opened the shop 40 years in the past.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Occasions)

Then got here the ’90s and breast implants, one other place for Trashy’s belongings to shine. Till the corporate went on-line in 1998, it was Tinseltown’s best-kept secret. Paris Hilton has been purchasing on the retailer since she was 15. By the early 2000s, actuality TV and a relentless paparazzi tradition had launched the world to Trashy.

Shrier stated the shop was like a clubhouse on the time, particularly for Playmates, who ran across the retailer bare seeking outfits for Halloween or Playboy’s annual Midsummer Evening’s Dream occasion. On E!’s “The Women Subsequent Door,” Hugh Hefner’s three girlfriends frequently designed bespoke ensembles at Trashy, however Bridget Marquardt was their resident Halloweenist. A couple of months in the past she purchased a customized robe to host in her new Elvira-style present, “Bridget’s Hollywood Horror Evening.” “They only actually know find out how to kind the feminine physique,” she stated.

Three costumes from Trashy Lingerie hang on a wall against a red velvet curtain.

Elaborately adorned clothes on the market at Trashy Lingerie.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Occasions)

Trashy is iconic (and so are its corsets)

The corset is the spine of the Shriers’ 10,000-square-foot operation; it stays their bestseller, specialty and signature look. “A corset will at all times promote a dressing up,” Shrier stated. As soon as an emblem of constraint, the garment right this moment harnesses a subversive assertion. When Caitlyn Jenner debuted her new gender id on the 2015 cowl of Self-importance Truthful, she did it carrying Trashy’s 36D “Edy” corset.

Corset-making requires technical perfection. A six-panel waist and three-paneled cups should do two issues without delay: suck you in whereas lifting you up. It needs to be livable, but in addition not too livable.

“It’s like attempting to maintain two canines in a bath,” stated Penelope Gibbs, designer and Trashy’s latest rent. She works facet by facet with Mitchell Shrier at his and Tracy’s home, a block from the shop.

Working with Gibbs has “undoubtedly saved my life, offers me one thing to do day by day,” stated Mitchell, who retired two years in the past as a result of well being issues. He’s 85 and lives with an oxygen tank; she’s 21 and graduated final yr from the Trend Institute of Design & Merchandising. They study from one another day by day whereas collaborating on Trashy’s upcoming assortment.

A pair of shiny car racing-themed costume pieces hanging on hangers against a wall.

A pair of Trashy racing staff costumes cling collectively in opposition to a wall at Trashy Lingerie.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Occasions)

Social media is reviving Trashy’s heyday and introducing Gen Z to the model. “This was yall????? Iconic af,” goes a typical remark about popular culture costumes. However it additionally has resurrected outdated costumes that relied on racist stereotypes, particularly these of oppressed teams. Native American apparel was nonetheless on the web site underneath “Wild West till this month. The Shriers stated they don’t make or promote these costumes anymore.

Probably problematic costumes aren’t price making to attraction to some clients when it could exclude or damage others, Gibbs stated.

“It reveals the difference of Trashy,” Gibbs stated. “Even with one thing you possibly can’t anticipate — not only a totally different pattern however a unique world.”

Trashy has expanded and contracted over its 5 a long time, however right this moment it resembles the leaner early years. For Randy Shrier, who first began working within the store at age 16, it’s a brand new period marked by much less stress. He was in a position to eliminate legacy debt because of a fast pivot to mask-making within the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a mortgage from the Paycheck Safety Program and the federal worker retention credit score program.

“One thing stunning is occurring this yr. We’re getting a complete new crowd of younger folks.”

— Mitchell Shrier

“Ever since I used to be a child, we’ve at all times had debt,” he stated. “It’s the primary time the place this firm has not had that.” Final yr was Trashy’s most worthwhile Halloween season on report.

A woman wearing a black fabric horned headband smiles at a man standing amid lingerie for sale in a store.

Vanessa Posada, left, and Shant Charekian store at Trashy Lingerie on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Occasions)

A woman looks at a purple costume dress hanging on a rack at a store.

A girl seems to be at a purple costume gown hanging on a rack at a retailer.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Occasions)

“One thing stunning is occurring this yr,” Mitchell Shrier stated. “We’re getting a complete new crowd of younger folks.”

Jake DuPree had lived and labored in L.A. for 11 years as a burlesque dancer, however till they got here out as nonbinary in 2020, visiting Trashy Lingerie had remained an unfulfilled fantasy.

“I anticipated it to be catered to those like skinny, blond, white girls, to be sincere,” they stated of the wonder beliefs that dominated Y2K style. As a substitute, they discovered a solicitous workers able to make them really feel good and have enjoyable, DuPree stated, an expertise that stood for reclamation and empowerment. They purchased a bunny outfit in black stretch satin, a bedazzled purple one and a horny Dorothy costume.

“It was the primary time I allowed myself to just accept myself and to be the total model of me,” DuPree stated. “These outfits imply lots to me in that method.”


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