Remembering Lip Service

Hi Mom, see my spikes, studs, and skulls? Sorry, it’s not a phase.

Plaid, PVC, piss off with your normalcy and gimme that blue hair dye and black nail polish while we’re at it.

I wanna be tattooed in a basement, I need to riot against something, anything.

Let’s poke some holes through my face and shove some metal in there.

Scream, swear, wear lace, lipstick, and grommets.


In high school it wasn’t long before I grew tired of Abercrombie and Bullshit and I’d always been drawn towards the goth kids, so I discovered Hot Topic and later, the most badass brand of all brands: Lip Service. Founded in 1985 by 21-year-old musician Drew Bernstein, the clothing company outfitted such bands as Poison and Guns ‘n Roses, and garnered a cult following of goths, punks, rockers, or anyone desiring some edge and glam to their style – whether you were into Gothic, Lolita, Punk, Fetish, Steam Punk, Cyber Punk, and more, there was something for the misfit in all of us. I remember saving up my money and salivating over every new collection that would come out. In late high school I got into alternative modeling and Lip Service never failed to provide me with killer outfits for photo shoots.



Drew Bernstein, aka “Lippy,” founder of Lip Service


Drew died of an apparent suicide in 2014 and since then, nothing new was created that I’m aware of. But fellow blog friend Ramona at Just Keep Brains posted about their return which was announced recently on their Facebook page. That excites my black heart to no end. Below are some of the “best of” photos from my old shoots featuring Lip Service pieces. As you can see I enjoyed changing up my style.



Jacket with faux fur collar from Lip Service


Badass pants from Lip Service








Top from Lip Service



Cyber Lauren!





My “Matrix” phase. 🙂 Trench coat not by Lip Service, just the pants and top.



“You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”




26 thoughts on “Remembering Lip Service

  1. Those ‘leather trousers’ as we say really are amazing. You look edible in them. Just some barbeque sauce or something. You know I dearly loved The Matrix back in summer 99 and onwards. Has there been anything as miles ahead and out of nowhere since? Maybe thats a typical ‘back in my day’ thing.

    • Thank you! They practically melted into my skin they were so tight. 😀 Your BBQ sauce comment made me go out and get some BBQ – I do live in the BBQ Capital of the world, after all. It certainly doesn’t help me fit into pants like those, though.

      When The Matrix came out I was 13 and I remember watching it with my parents. I know, it blew me away, too! I can’t think of any other movies except maybe Inception in a weird, mindfuck kind of way.

      • Bbq capital? Missouri is it? Inception did nothing for me. It was too clever for it’s own good in my opinion. I was 15 that summer and had a two month ‘megapass’ for the cinema. Saw basically every film thst came out with two of my little schoolfriends. 99 is actually said to be one of the greatest years for film. That whole pre-millennial tension surely added some zip to things! Shame about the shit sequels tho. But goddamn- The Matrix, what a movie. Thoroughly enjoyed Bound btw, which I saw for the first time recently. Stylistically exactly the same as The Matrix.

      • Yes, Kansas City to be exact. I forgive you on the apostrophe, and appreciate you went back and corrected it! That’s a good lad.
        Inception had its thrilling moments for me, but what I really enjoyed was a spoof of that movie on an episode of Rick and Morty. Here’s a very short clip to give you an idea, but the whole episode takes it to a ridiculous and hilarious level:

        It’s funny looking back and thinking about how worked up people got right before 2000 hit. Stocking up on food, preparing for the impending doom. My parents were calm and “whatever” about the whole thing, and I was probably whining about how we needed more ice-cream just in case. I’m trying to think of a sequel now that was even worth watching…for anything. Scratching my head, here.

        Thanks for the Bound recommendation – I added it to my list of movies to check out.

      • The show looks amusing. I don’t think anyone around me was seriously worried about the y2k bug or anything, but it was a bit momentus all the same. Can’t think of any good sequels off the top of my head myself. Before Sunset was a quality follow up to Before Sunrise. Toy Story 3 was a solid watch. But fuck Toy Story, really.

      • It’s made me laugh hard enough to cry a few times. I haven’t watched all the episodes but there’s been a few fantastic ones. Before Sunrise? I looked that up. Uh oh…sometimes I have strong urges to watch romantic movies so I’m adding these to my list as well. As for Toy Story 3, that movie made me cry a little bit. Yeah, it was pretty good, actually. 🙂 I almost forgot about those. Fuck Toy Story? Fuck whatever is keeping you from blogging! I miss your amusing posts.

  2. Oh wow Lauren, you look absolutely stunning – you sure know how to look fantastic! I really dig all that PVC and leather, its my thing, gives me jelly legs right nerdy – I’d be your wimp!! LOL 😀 😀 XXO

    • Thanks dear, I’ve done my share of playing dress up! And these aren’t what I would consider my best work necessarily. Some of them crack of me up! There’s only so many times I can hold on to the rim of my hat and pretend to look edgy. I do love me some PVC, latex, and leather. ❤

      • They do have the Yee-Haw cowgirl look to them – its good to have these things in the bank tho 🙂 I remember when I had my mohawk, some old pensioner guy said “I wish I’d done something like that when I was younger” (I should have said “Never too late old man!” LOL

        What about the one in the pink, with the weird alien intruder thing on the cover? That looks like a good session! I wonder where the outfit came from, and what the ideas were behind it? It looks really far out, I love the strangeness of it! 🙂 ❤

      • I come from the Midwest so the cowgirl thang is always going to be a part of me. Ugh, too true. It’s never too late, that’s what I tell people who say they “wish they could have the colorful hair.” Leaving the doc’s office the other day, I was in the public restroom. I came out of the stall and saw an old lady with rainbow hair. Just like a clown wig, but real! We gave each other a knowing smile.

        Oh, the alien cyber series. Thank you! I was just into futuristic cyber fashion at the time, and fell in love with that dress from Dane of London. Hands down, the coolest dress I ever owned. I got it on Ebay a long time ago and sold it back on Ebay later on. It’s very rare to come across that brand now. I kinda wish I could see whoever has it at this very moment! I traveled 3 hours to shoot with that photographer who was known for doing special photo shop effects and what not. I had a couple other outfits for that shoot like a fairy and a punk chick thing. It was nerve-wracking working with that guy and his team of people (they won’t work with models unless you wear fake nails and shave the peach fuzz off your face – super picky rules!). I was terribly sick with a sinus infection at the time and they had this strict cancellation policy so most of the other shots were rubbish. I did use the dress again for another shoot and for a shoot I shot by myself. Maybe sometime I’ll post the cyber-themed stuff.

      • Tis a very cool dress indeed, colour, fabric and symbols all add up! I like the alien hair too, sort of reminiscent of Predator!

        Every look has a message, I never had you down as a former cowgirl! I’m quite surprised, I imagined you had always been from the city – I come from a rural village myself, I don’t really like that part of myself – bit kind of provincial or whatever, I”m really into crazy stuff, but only venture out and run back with secrets. I was reading this thing earlier someone said everyone has a hole in the chest, its a bit bonkers, maybe the link will work!! 😀

      • Awe, well I feel foolish for selling it. Ah well. The hair was tubular crinoline, fun stuff!
        I’m from the Midwest – farming territory here in the US, though I can’t call myself a real cowgirl and never lived on a farm. I’ve been living in the suburbs for the most part, and it takes maybe 10-15 minutes to get downtown. Now I live in an artsy part of town much closer to the big city. I couldn’t totally live in the city, though. I need to hear the sounds of nature and see the greenery. If I had it my way, I’d live in a cabin in the woods. ❤ Love the hole in the chest comic thing! Has some truth to it, and funny to boot.

  3. All of these pictures are absolutely stunning. I’m jealous of that Matrix coat! I’ve been trying to find a proper leather trench coat for years. I either don’t have the money or when I do, I can’t find one I want. Nothing is ever simple hehe.

    • You’re too kind! I miss playing dress up but those years I worked with photographers also made my self-esteem fluctuate too much. Many positive experiences but also some rotten people working in the industry. I wish I could tell you where the Matrix coat was from, but it wasn’t mine. The photographer had a rack of random costume stuff and I don’t even remember the brand. 😦 Maybe you could find one on Ebay at some point.

      • I can imagine how difficult that must’ve been! My self-esteem was crappy pretty much all of my life, and it’s only now as a mid-thirty year old that I’m actually pretty okay. It’s even funnier because I’m the fattest I’ve ever been hehe. I think I just came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to let some of the more messed up ideas of what’s “beautiful” define me anymore, but I also know how tenuous that is in the face of constant assault. I hope you’re in a better place now, and I’ll reiterate how kick ass those pictures are.

        I’ll find one one day!

      • I’m glad to hear things have improved for you in that respect. With age comes wisdom and less f*cks to give! I’m happy to see that beauty industry standards are changing, at least a little bit. I also work in the fitness industry where appearance is everything to some people. I focus on the health aspect of it.

        One particular photographer comes to mind. He kept telling me to suck in my stomach fat and stretch my neck out as far as it could go to get rid of the double chin. I knew I looked ridiculous trying to do the neck thing, like some kind of crazy chicken. The worst thing was, there was a super long and lean typical runway type model there with me at the same time. We took turns with our shoots. He was in awe of everything she did. He didn’t even send me the photos from my shoot, so that felt wonderful. At least it was trade work so I didn’t shell out any cash, but I did shell out my time and effort. Anyway! Yes, in a much better place now and thanks again for the kind words.

  4. Absolutely magnificent, Lauren! I didn’t know you modeled in alternative styles in the past. I thought you did a masterful job of presenting yourself in different scenarios. You have a wide range from the backbone melting death stare to knee slapping humor. I always knew you were a Dragon at heart. Now the Dragon Master thinks you are deserving of an Empress title. Let’s see now… what should it be? 😉

    • Oh yes, I did for many years so there’s a ton more than just these few. I did share a lot more of the photos a couple years back or so, but deleted the post. Just made me feel vain and this blog is more for writing than sharing photos of myself, however fierce they may be! Thank you so much, I tried to be as versatile as I could within the alternative realm. Funny, my first modeling “name” was Leigh Dragonfire, Leigh being my middle name.

      • The Dragons can always sense another Dragon and your Dragon is quite powerful. You do seem to have a strong connection to the Dragons of old. An ancient Dragon soul, no doubt. I have this weird reaction any time I see a picture of myself and mirrors are to be avoided. It traumatizes me, children, and small animals. I’m wondering if there isn’t just a wee bit of vampire in my ancestry. I do have a good load of Romanian genes and old Vlad did get around down town a lot when he wasn’t busy impaling enemies. Consequently, I go very light on the selfies. Did we meet back in Constanta near the Black see once in 1658? Just wondering. I seem to recall a Dragon Princess in waiting that had a stunning black leather outfit with dragon scale armor and a very cool sword. 😍

      • Interesting how dragons are portrayed between Asian and European civilizations. Evil treasure-guarders vs. benevolent, wise creatures associated with luck. Dragons breathe fire and I’m an Aries/fire sign after all! And yes, that could very well have been me at the Black Sea. I think a poem needs to be written about that occasion. Alright, Count Hyperion. It’s a shame we don’t have more selfies, but I understand.

      • Most definitely a Dragon with a very cool sense of fashion. Hmmmmm, Empress Dragon of Style? Poem. That’s a good idea. I feel an epic coming on. I’ll study up on my E. A. Poe so I can get it right. I’m working on the selfie thing. It’s just I’m really self conscious about the scales and tail. 😲 🐉

    • Thanks for stopping by! After creeping around your blog for a bit I see that you write about some dark, intriguing topics. Is your book going to be self-published or what’s the story on that?

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