Where the inspiration comes from - to turn nightclub hostesses into faux dominatrixes drinking gasoline can cocktails and flaunting industrial paint manicures - Alexander Stabler doesn't know.
But these visions of futuristic high fashion, scenes that are sometimes dark yet weirdly fun, seem to bubble nonstop at the edge of Stabler's subconscious. That fertile imagination has served him well as a costume stylist consultant for Hyde Bellagio.
"Vegas night life had been doing the same thing for a long time," Stabler, 28, says of the local club scene when he moved here two years ago. "It was a lot of sequins, feathers. I wanted to take it in a different direction."
Tying hostesses to chairs. Glamming them up in "Blade Runner"-inspired fashion and having them walk around the club with gas cans, occasionally stopping to pour and drink a cocktail from them. These are just a couple of the directions Stabler has taken.
"He's very different, very performance-driven, which is what I love about him," says Devon Uribe, entertainment manager for The Abbey nightclub in West Hollywood, Calif. "His ideas are different. They're very future-forward. A lot of the stuff that has been going at the club, the vibe he has, I've never seen it at another club. It's wild, fun, innovative. It's what Vegas needs. Or it's what Vegas wanted."
Uribe met Stabler about five years ago when both men were go-go dancing in West Hollywood. The two had a lot in common and forged a strong friendship that eventually led to a business partnership. Stabler had worked his way up to entertainment director of The Abbey. When the club owners opened Hyde at Bellagio, Stabler moved to Las Vegas to take on the same job.
At almost the same time, another opportunity came along that Stabler, a performer at heart, couldn't pass up: a role in Cirque du Soleil's "Zumanity." Stabler started his own company, Axle Entertainment, and hired Uribe to be his stand-in at The Abbey. This freed him to take the "Zumanity" gig. Both clubs are operated by sbe Entertainment, which contracts with Stabler to provide entertainment and atmosphere.
One of six kids, Stabler lived much of his life in California. He started taking dance lessons when he was 5 and discovered that he had a knack for it. He won a jazz competition at age 6. That was the same year Stabler's father moved the family to Hong Kong for the first of two stints. A would-be entrepreneur, his father wanted to be the Asian distributor for the cleanser Simply Green. It was a noble but lofty idea, Stabler says; China wasn't known for being environmentally green.
The family returned to Newport Beach, Calif., for a while, giving Stabler the chance to get into gymnastics. When he was 8, they moved back to Hong Kong, where they lived until he was 16.
Stabler's parents split up when he was a sophomore in high school. That's when his mother packed their belongings into a 60-foot U-Haul and took the family and their eight cats to Haley, Idaho. After graduating, Stabler moved to Boise, where he danced for two years.
He had goals that couldn't be accomplished in Idaho, so he moved to Los Angeles where he worked the go-go dancing circuit until The Abbey nightclub offered him a management position.
Every week, Stabler comes up with a new theme for the "show" at Hyde and The Abbey. His creative process starts with a concept and goes from there. It can take him nearly anywhere, he says.
Stabler jokes that he's "not your typical gay." So there are three things you won't see in one of his shows: feathers, sequins or glitter.
His style is about sexy danger.
"I want people to walk in and have their reaction to be, 'What the (expletive)?' " he says. "For me, that's very exciting. That really opens the door to do interesting things."
Contact reporter Sonya Padgett at spadgett@review journal.com or 702-380-4564. Follow @StripSonya on Twitter.