At first glance, the world of high fashion would by definition seem to have little to do with the rebellious, individualist anti-fashion subculture that is Goth. But there are few Goths who have not admired the designs of style mavens such as Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Olivier Theyskens, to name but a few of the high fashion designers whose collections and imagery have frequently referenced the dark, decaying, and occasionally disturbing themes synonymous with Goth.
|Make-up looks from a John Galliano catwalk show|
Gothic high fashion (or Goth Couture, if you like) holds many other visual themes in common with the world of Goth as we know it: vampirism, danger, androgyny, horror and erotica. Famous 'pieces' include the Shaun Leane/Alexander McQueen silver ribcage corset and Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali's collaboration, the Skeleton Dress. And in 1977 designer Karl Lagerfeld held his famous Soiree Moratoire Noire party - the invitations proclaiming, "totally black tragic dress required."
Not all high fashionistas look down on Goth itself as a kitsch, outdated subculture. John Galliano describes Gothic as, "dark, vampy, mysterious... The Gothic girl weaves a web, has a sting in her tail, is inspired by black magic and voodoo... She is tantalising, after-dark trouble that dresses in the shadows of the night." (Why, thank you.)
High fashion, like Goth, can be playful, enjoys pushing boundaries, is extraordinarily creative and garners a mixed response of awe and apprehension in its audience. No wonder, then, that the two occasionally intermingle. Having said that, it's far easier to imagine Goths dabbling in the world of high fashion; expanding their elaborate wardrobes with dramatic, intricate designer pieces, than it is to imagine the fashion elite exploring the riot of uninhibited innovation and imagination that is Goth.
Maybe I'm biased.
If you've been intrigued by the combination of Goth's dark allure and high fashion's edgy drama, you might like to check out Gothic: Dark Glamour by Valerie Steele and Jennifer Park - I found it at my local library; it's really interesting and has some GREAT pictures.
Also, this Tumblr (Macabre Mode) is where I sourced the pictures for this post, and combines some stunning images from both Goth and high fashion.
By the way, I handwrote this post yesterday whilst suffering from one of my infamous migraines, and typed it up today whilst cursing and hitting my malfunctioning modem. Now that's loyalty...
Listening to: Hong Kong Garden - Siouxsie and the Banshees