I can say without a doubt that the following shoot was the most death defying to date… and that’s including the time we shot in a haunted antiques warehouse in the bowels of the most crime-ridden neighborhood in Oakland!
After we were forced to abandon our original plan of shooting on top of nearby Mount Lemmon because of severe fire conditions (didn’t think it would be cool to be running a smoke machine up there – we prefer to prevent mass hysteria when possible), we drove wayyyy out into the desert in search of a few trees.
Following several miles of meandering dirt roads we came upon this ominous cracked crater of a pond bed surrounded by sparse mesquite trees in the middle of a known smuggling corridor and thought, “Well it’s no forest, but it’ll do.” Amongst the storm of gunshots we kept hearing with disturbing consistency, this location afforded some pretty amazing captures. David Olsen, the editor of Zocalo, seemed to like it too, he made the first one the cover shot for the June issue! Worth it? You tell me…
Summer’s Hottest Trends, Adapted for Life in the Desert
By Amber Mortensen, Painfully Hip
Photos by Ryan Mihalyi
Wardrobe Styling and Art Direction by Amber Mortensen and Bradley Rhea
Hair by Raul Mendoza at Fringe Salon (4861 E Grant Rd #111)
Model: Jessaca Marie Haag
Special thanks to Abraham Cooper and Jonathan Saupe
It’s June in the desert. The sun is relentless, cicadas are celebrating, and temperatures are rising, but what’s this? Hemlines are descending, modesty is rampant, and …black is the new black? Well, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but pretty much every trend you’ve come to associate with summer (sundresses, shorts, mini skirts, color, color, and more color) have been sent to trial by fire this year. So how do Tucsonans keep cool when fashion publications are telling us that long sleeves, trousers, ankle length hemlines, and black are haute stuff this season? Anything loose and floaty has risen to the top of my wish list. Especially chiffon, the textile equivalent of whipped cream. It’s cool, breathable, and just plain sumptuous. American Apparel (988 E University Ave) offers loads of the stuff. Maxi skirts, cropped blouses, long-sleeved button-ups and even pants in delicious sheer chiffon.
As far as these allegedly low hemlines go, skirts are especially versatile this season. I recommend the high-waisted variety, paired with a fluttery, cropped top or a fitted tank. I love a billowy maxi skirt as a swimsuit cover-up (as seen at the TYP/TFG runway show last month at the Fox Theater), but really anything below the knee is hip for summer. Just don’t forget to add an airy pair of gypsy-esque trousers to your closet while you’re at it.
Black is in, but so is nude. Now with this list of trends, it would be understandable to just decide to translated this to streaking, but first let me explain. Nudity (as far as I know), is still illegal in downtown Tucson, but anything wearable from light peach to pinky beige to tan is so hot, it’s barely legal. All the way down to your toe nail polish, nude is the new black, at least for us desert-dwellers.
And of course there is always room for color on my spectrum, especially for accessories like skinny leather belts and hats. Mindlessly pairing saturated blues, greens, purples and turquoise with your nude, black and otherwise neutral separates will make you appear as though you’ve got this color-blocking trend on lockdown. The point however, is to take whatever trends you’re into this season and make them your own somehow. That’s something we Tucsonans are best at.
Couldn’t resist including this hotness in conclusion (Abraham was the best fog wrangler in tarnation):