Someone once said to Michelle Michael, a recent transplant from San Francisco, that she's so cute she'd even look good in a burlap sack. She put that theory to the test by procuring a $10 burlap bag from a store in the Pike Place Market and turning it into haute couture with some scissors and ribbon. "I chose [the marijuana bag] because it says Humboldt County on the bottom. Humboldt is the weed-market back door to San Francisco, it really is. But there's a lot of culture there, too, and I have a lot of friends there. And because I smoke a lot of weed."
She cut out the bottom of the sack, laced it up the back with some ribbon to make it fitted ("I still wanted to look cute!"), and then she wore it out for a night of dancing at the War Room. "There were so many girls in the club who were all, 'I can't believe she's wearing a burlap sack!'" says Michael. "But the guys were like, 'Oh yeah!'"
GOLD HOOP EARRINGS, $4.50 from an L.A. boutique she can't remember the name of.
According to a 2005 study published in Pediatrics Vol. 115 No. 5, keloids—flesh-colored, firm, and sometimes painful tumors that form within scar tissue—"are more likely to develop in the ears when ears are pierced after age 11 than before age 11." They're also more prevalent in the black population. There are a number of treatments for keloids, though none of them are 100 percent effective. They include surgery, laser and radiation therapy, steroid injections, and/or a combination of steroids and anticancer drugs.
DRESS from a $10 burlap sack, one of a kind, designed by Michael.
The scrapes on her knees are not part of the outfit—Michael got those when she decided to climb onto a Dumpster to vogue for the camera. What you can't see in the photo are the slices on her hands from grabbing the razor wire behind her. "I was drunk," Michael admitted, before going on to observe that, "barbed wire really does hurt."
Indeed. According to Wikipedia and other dubious sources, barbed wire was the first wire technology capable of restraining cattle. Joseph F. Glidden patented it in 1874, though Louis Jannin, a Frenchman, actually invented it in 1865. While the material was designed as a cheaper alternative to other kinds of late-19th-century fencing, barbed wire has also been used as a torture device. During the weeks of conflict before Zimbabwe's 2002 presidential election, torture victims were reportedly beaten and whipped with lengths of barbed wire, resulting in deep and painful gashes on their flesh. For a reason that no one has ever been able to satisfactorily explain, "arm-band" style tattoos with barbed-wire motifs were popular among gay men in the early part of the last decade of the millennium immediately proceeding the millennium in which Michael cut her hands on some razor wire.
BIKINI TOP, $16, bought six years ago somewhere in Redondo Beach, California.
The mayor of Redondo Beach is Mike Gin, a graduate of the University of Southern California who enjoys snow skiing, working out, and playing the piano in his spare time. The average modern piano has 88 keys—52 white ones and 36 black ones.
YELLOW LEATHER HEELS by Kenneth Cole, $170 at Kenneth Cole (520 Pike St, 382-1680).
"Hell on high heels/My baby, the way you walk it, talk it/Town calls ya/Hell on high heels/My honey, it's how ya makin' money/Boys call ya/Hell on high heels." —Mötley Crüe, "Hell on High Heels"