Tish and Snooky Bellomo

meet manic panic's sister act

If you've been paying attention to the runways lately, you know colored hair streaks are huge. But before there were Proenza Schouler, Altuzarra, and Hakaan, there was Bellomo. That'd be the sisters Tish and Snooky (with a "y") Bellomo, the founders of Manic Panic. "We wanted to do an alternative line of beauty products for people like us," Snooky says of the brand they started back in 1977, smack-dab in the middle of the East Village's burgeoning punk scene. By "people like us," she means Debbie Harry, the Ramones, the Cramps, the Dictators, and the Dead Boys. The Manic Panic storefront on St. Marks Place was their go-to destination for music badges, original fashions (a Son of Sam T-shirt with realistic bullet holes and bloodstains, anyone?), and, of course, hair dye.

"We would go over to England all the time—bring stuff over there to sell or trade, like vintage rockabilly jackets and sunglasses—and we'd find things they didn't have here. Hair color was one of those things," says Snooky. A full line of in-house cosmetics followed in the nineties, bringing neon nail polishes, glitter lipsticks, and white foundation to a new generation of punks and anyone seeking an authentic dose of counterculture—this reporter included. (Coating strips of my raven locks with the brand's semi-permanent classic cream hair color formula in Purple Haze as a 12-year-old was one of the defining moments of my life so far.) With a new makeup line on counters this month, the sisters talk CBGB's (R.I.P.), the indelible connection between music and style, and "everyday gothic glamour" for Halloween and beyond.

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—Celia Ellenberg

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