#BoneLifeWife Part II: The Exquisite Style of an Osteological Enchantress

It is easy to be enchanted by Regina Marie Cohn. Her exquisite style is evocative of old-time glamour; of poisoned spells and ornate chambers, as if her gowns were plucked from the boudoir of a raven-haired, underworld queen. Whether she is attending the Morbid Anatomy Gala, Death Salon, or a dark romantic fashion exhibition, Regina never fails to turn heads. In Part I, we explored the inner darkness of this osteological maiden. In Part II, our regular contributor, Patricia Lundy wishes to peel back the layers on how Regina cultivates her personal style, and how her deathly home and new career have influenced the way she expresses herself.

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Photo 1_ The Feast.jpg
Ryan and Regina in their incredible, Victorian inspired home, surrounded by mountains of bones and oddities. “The Feast.” Photographer: Karen Jerzyk. Gown designer: Ashley Rose Couture Designs. Photograph courtesy of Regina.

Patricia Lundy interviews Regina Cohn for Death & the Maiden


How would you describe your personal style?

I would describe my personal style as elegant, dark, mysterious, and always sophisticated. Ryan and I travel often, so I tend to buy a variety of black evening gowns from all over the world and keep them on hand for upcoming events. I am very attracted to french leavers lace, sequins, and embroidered velvet. When dressing for an event, I pay very close attention to details such as a vintage fur capelet and eccentric shoes. Thanks to my incredibly talented hair stylist & friend Lizzy Weinberg, I’ve become known for my bountiful marcel waves.

The home you share with your husband holds quite an impressive collection of rare skulls, taxidermy, and medical oddities. Has living in the midst of your own personal ossuary influenced the way you style yourself?

My home most definitely influences my day-to-day style. I have been collecting gowns and high-end lingerie for the past six years, yet never started displaying or wearing them until I met Ryan. It takes a polished and sophisticated individual to compliment my clothing choices, so I am incredibly lucky to have married a man who wears a suit almost every day and lets me celebrate my personal style. I usually wear beautiful kimonos, dressing gowns, and marabou slippers when we have guests over. It just feels right with our Victorian boudoir-inspired, museum-esque home.

In your beautifully curated Instagram, you are seldom seen without a bold lip and long, vixen curls. Can you give us a glimpse inside your daily beauty ritual?

I think most people are surprised by how low maintenance I actually am on a daily basis. When Lizzy isn’t creating hair magic on me for a special occasion, I put in about five minutes a day into my hair routine. I’ve been blessed with a huge head of wavy hair that looks pretty good air-dried.

On bad hair days, I wear a very high bun and adorn it with a beautiful Victorian hair comb from my collection. My makeup routine is also very short and sweet. My morning ritual is applying a tinted moisturizer, curling my lashes, and then choosing a lipstick. I do love a red lip – my new favorite is Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Mysterious Red. Of course, this routine would not work for a special evening out, so luckily I have a go-to makeup artist as needed.

There are a wide variety of events involved with the work you and your husband do where dressing to the gothic nines is standard, such as this year’s Morbid Anatomy Gala. You also frequently serve as a muse and model for photo shoots set against the macabre backdrop of your home. What kind of preparation goes into choosing the perfect outfit, makeup, and hair-style for these types of events? 

I was incredibly honored to have been asked to be on the board at this year’s Morbid Anatomy Gala. A couple of weeks prior to the event, I had gotten a black widow spider tattooed on my left forearm (Ryan got a spiderweb which attaches when we hold hands). I knew I wanted to incorporate my new tattoo into my gala look somehow. I started off by choosing a black stretch satin strapless gown with a glamourous train. I could not deny its vampy silhouette, and I knew I could go crazy with accessories. I had a local artist design and sew a head-veil, encrusted with a gold and diamond spider that I had removed from an Agent Provocateur lingerie set. I gave the second spider to Ryan, so that he could wear it on his lapel. We always attempt to coordinate our outfits in some way, even with a minor detail.

Photo 2
Regina and Ryan at the 2016 Morbid Anatomy Gala after-party. Photographer: Santiago Felipe for The Village Voice

I completed the look with a magnificent pair of Charlotte Olympia shoes that were dripping in gold spiders. I also wore black leather evening gloves and a vintage fur caplet. I could hardly walk up the stairs to the second floor of the museum! It was worth it.

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Regina’s fabulous Charlotte Olympia heels that adorned her feet at the Morbid Anatomy Gala. Photograph courtesy of Regina.

As for photoshoots, our home is very inspiring to photographers that are into dark, Victorian gothic design. Most recently, we shot with photographer Karen Jerzyk who is best known for creating “darkly surreal dream-like images.” Karen works closely with designer and stylist Ashley Rose of Ashley Rose Couture Designs, known for “combining her love of romanticism with dark fantasy.” I am excited to be a part of her upcoming Fall Presentation taking place in Salem, Massachusetts this August. As for hair and makeup, Karen and Ashley work with a variety of talented artists. I let them find inspiration from whatever the aesthetic of the shoot entails.

Your look for the Morbid Anatomy Gala also pays homage to your wedding in 2014. What inspired your uniquely stunning attire?

I can see how my Morbid Anatomy Gala look resembled my wedding ensemble. In actuality, my wedding gown was navy (lined in dark burgundy). Funny fact, Ryan never wears black; instead he opts to wear navy suits. Knowing a typical wedding dress would be out of character for me, I went the route of getting my gown custom-made by a NYC designer. She also designed a custom navy “birdcage” veil.

wedding
The Cohn’s dark, elegant wedding. Photography courtesy of Regina.

A lot of people may not know, but our wedding was actually featured on the FYI network in early 2015. The episode was appropriately titled “Creepy Sophistication.”

You are also a collector of high-end lingerie. How long have you been collecting? What are some of your favorite pieces? 

My lingerie addiction peaked in 2010 when I was hired as the US flagship Manager for Agent Provocateur. I had always admired the brand and it was a privilege to work for such an amazing company for over four years. I consistently splurged on iconic AP ranges, as well as exclusive soiree pieces that were reserved for my Madison Avenue location. When I left the company, I was gifted the most luxurious, embroidered kimono I have ever laid eyes on. It is adorned with naughty monkeys, bold peonies, love birds, and butterflies. This is by far my favorite piece.

Photo 5
Regina’s favorite piece. Photo by Agent Provocateur

I also have an incredibly beautiful custom marabou gown made by Catherine D’lish. She comes in a close second! I also cannot visit Paris without visiting and stocking up on Fifi Chachnil and Maison Close. Ryan has built me a walk-in closet in one wing of our home to fit my growing collection.

Recently, you changed career paths, leaving behind your fashion career to embark on a new career working beside your husband. However, do you think working in fashion is something you will leave behind forever? Has designing your own clothing or lingerie line ever crossed your mind? 

As much as I adore the macabre world, I admittedly miss the fast-paced New York fashion industry I have known for so long. I have no interest as of now in design or going back to corporate retail anytime soon. However, I consult on occasion with various lingerie boutiques in NYC.

Lastly, in addition to leading your glamorous #bonelifewife every day, can you tell us about any projects you are currently working on that fellow maidens will want to look out for?

We are proud to announce that “House of Wax” (formerly on display at the Morbid Anatomy Museum) will open late October in Brooklyn, NY. It showcases a 19th century German wax museum that Ryan purchased last year. In association with Alamo Drafthouse, this “museum with cocktails” features the entirety of the wax collection, which includes medical and anatomical figures demonstrating the effects of corsetry, sexually transmitted diseases, and surgical abnormalities. The collection also includes a variety of ethnographic busts and death masks of famous individuals throughout history.

We hope to visit Los Angeles soon to view the “exploded skull” Ryan made for Guillermo Del Toro’s “At Home With Monsters” exhibition featuring Guillermo’s personal collection of oddities at LACMA. There are a number of amazing photographers we will be working with in the next few months, so make sure to check in!

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