According to her creators, Emily the Strange has become "an internationally known icon for individualism, empowerment and do-it-yourself style," but for many, particularly teen girls, she just looks really cool and dark and different, how many of us feel/felt during adolescence.
The brainchild (literally) of San Francisco graphic artist Rob Reger, Emily was born in 1993, a design for his company Cosmic Debris that took off in unexpected fashion. These days, the black-banged babe's familiar image is seen on clothing and accessories galore, plus comics and soon, teen novels published by HarperTeen, a HarperCollins imprint.
At Royal/T's pop-shop grand opening masquerade ball last night, all of these goodies and more were available for purchase (see Gendy Alimurung's picks for the best stuff in "Emily Strange at Royal/T: 10 Best Items To Spend Your Money On At Her Pop-Up Store") and the retail raging for the exclusively red and black colored merch was amped up by an appearance by Reger himself, plus a live set by cute punkettes from The School of Rock.
Best known for the Jack Black movie of the same name, S.O.R., has branches all around the country, teaching kids from 7-18 every aspect of musicianship. They were on hand to tout their new facility on Wilshire Blvd, opening Nov. 13, and the gals who performed (everything for "Suffragettee City" to "Sheena is a Punk Rocker") couldn't have been a better endorsement. They were tight yet Runaways-raucous. Seriously, if Kim Fowley had been there, he'd have swooped.
We hear there's plans for an Emily the Strange music release with EMI/Virgin Records and a film with Dark Horse Entertainment and Universal Pictures in the works, and we could definitely see any of these talented goth-girlies in the role.
No matter who plays the famed gloomy gal, one thing is for sure, her kitties (names: Nee Chee, Sabbath, Miles and Mystery) better be a big part of the project. It was all about black cat masks last night, and after the bash, our own raven-haired lil one seems as enamored with Em's felines as she is with Hello Kitty, and that's a very big deal.
Interesting shop note: the store still has lots of goodies from another girlie -- though completely incongruous - icon: that pink-loving embodiment of plastic perfection, Barbie, including some groovy Jonathan Adler designed vanity items.
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Royal T's environment has always celebrated both the dark and light of dolly, Fruits, cosplay and Lolita culture, so they pull off the pairing fine. Moody Emily's perky blonde nemesis is at the other end of the shop, however.
Check out the Emily pop-up thru Nov. 11.
See Royal T's "The Warholian" art exhibit and try Emily and Warhol themed bites in the café through January 2011.
Get more Emily immersed at www.emilystrange.com.