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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Vogue's (appallingly bad) Guide to Goth

Ah, bless the bizarrities of the Halloween season... Goth just can't seem to stay out of the media all of a sudden. In fact, even Italian Vogue has gotten in on the act, presenting its very own 'Guide to Goth Chic' (dear Vogue ed: stop trying to do me out of a job...).

Don't get me wrong, I love Vogue. I love the pretty pictures and make-up. And the perfume ads. But oh, dear, when an article about Halloween begins with the inutterably ridiculous statement that 'Halloween was invented in the USA' (?! - give me a moment to stop my eyeballs rolling after that one), I feel it's practically my duty to investigate further.

The premise of the article? Not a bad one, but... sayeth Vogue, "Likely, you will be wearing something short and revealing and flashy and culturally insensitive. Now, what kind of fashion magazine would we be if we didn't try to provide you with a few style pointers to make your Halloween less about showing skin and more about looking ghoulish, albeit in a chic way?"

I like the idea of treating Halloween with a little, well, class, but as much as I hate to say it, what could be more SUBculturally insensitive than presenting the Gothy fashion that we all adore and that many of us adhere to from day to day, and put money and hard work into, as a costume to throw on for a single evening?

Image presumably from one of the larger Goth festivals.
Source: Vogue Italia
Vogue then attempts to break down the vagiaries of Goth style, but gets it wrong from the beginning, describing teased hair as a staple of Victorian Goth. (Sure, teased hair and a Victorian dress is a beautiful look, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it a staple as many Victorian Goths prefer their style to be historically accurate.)

The description of Gothic Lolita couldn't be more facepalm-worthy if it tried. See for yourselves: "One woman's fancy dress is another woman's everyday dress: Gothic Lolitas spend a considerable amount of money on custom-made clothes and accessories that make them look like Victorian child prostitutes. Whatever floats their boat." Prostitutes?! With the exception of ero-loli, Lolita fashions are about class and elegance!

Vogue then drop the Marilyn Manson card with their seemingly self-invented sub-genre, 'rock'n'roll Goth': "Marilyn Manson did it best in recent years, of course, but going as Marilyn Manson requires a lot more effort than it's worth, and in a recession who has the wherewithal to splurge on glaucoma contact lenses? A much cheaper and ultimately kind of lovable version of the Rock'n'roll Goth would be Robert Smith (black hair, teased and sprayed stiff; red lipstick, clumsily applied; panda eyes)."

Ahem. Manson's style is a sort of amalgation of Goth and glam rock, so I suppose the rock'n'roll tag could just about be applied here, but don't drag dear Mad Bob into this mess, please. As one of the people who helped inspire trad Goth style and thereby the fashion that we know today in the first place, he hardly deserves to be referred to as a 'cheaper version' of Marilyn Manson. >.<

And also, this: "Cartoon Goth – Morticia Addams; any given Cullen character in Twilight, or failing that, your average vampire bride; Samara in The Ring; Chloe Grace Moretz in Let Me in; take your pick." These examples are not 'Goths', they are CHARACTERS. Goodness gracious me!

The article rounds off on an equally sour note by describing emos as 'baby Goths' and throwing out the usual insults about 'staying in their room and wallowing'.

All things considered, I think I'd rather put up with the 'culturally insensitive' costumes this article supposedly seeks to prevent (whilst actually seeming to give women a chance to titter behind their hands at the weirdos who want to 'look like child prostitutes').

The real problem I have with this article, though, is that at the top of the page there is a slideshow of images of Goths in their most glamorously deadly festival gear. THESE ARE NOT HALLOWEEN COSTUMES OR FANCY DRESS. These are people wearing what they find beautiful, and I for one don't like to see it compared to Morticia costumes or as an example of what people should wear for Halloween. I think it's rude. Sorry, Vogue.

Goth gossip: H&M are putting out a Goth-friendly fashion line inspired by Goth character Lisbeth Salander (of the Millenium trilogy), created by the fashion designer who created Rooney Mara's look as Lisbeth in the English-language remake of the Swedish film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

26 comments:

SaryWalrus said...

So much rage for that article. I cannot believe they compared Marilyn Manson to Robert Smith! And to call Lolita's Victorian child prostitute.

It's completely and utterly ridiculous.

SaryWalrus said...

children prostitute look a likes*

Naomi said...

I think whoever wrote this article in Vogue should wash their mouth with a big bar of soap and rinse it with alcohol. Calling lolitas Victorian child prostitute look-a-likes. All these people spend hundreds of dollars on their clothes and referring to it as a costume is just downright insulting.

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised that Vogue Italia has articles like this.
I love Vogue, and I love Italy(I live there, after all),but at the part about "child prostitutes", I had to stop reading for a few minutes. I just hope the Italian
Gothic Lolita community won't read this. And...emos are young goths?Has the Mrs. Blasi even searched the term "emo" on the net, before writing?

ultimategothguide said...

Anon - I'm pretty sure she didn't search ANY of this on the net before writing. :-/

I was really disappointed actually. I saw the pretty WGT pics at the top, and thought, "Finally, a fashion magazine is going to talk about all the beautiful varieties and intricacies of Goth fashion!" but no, it's another way of poking fun at people who want to dress differently. :-(

Daniel_8964 said...

That article is just ignorant and lack of respect for calling lolitas victorian child prostitute look a likes, So much for Vogue. And for the clothing and costumes are completely seperate and there is a big difference between them. The goth clothing are what they wear everyday and like them as their own style and individuality. Costume is a pretentious dress up and pretty much cosplay and even useful for fancy dress parties as a character you are inspired in and love.

Kamyria Magdalena Mourn said...

Wow! What an ignorant and distasteful article! I can't believe they compared Gothic Lolitas to Victorian child prostitutes!! And emos are baby Goths?? I don't know whether to cry or laugh at this writer's lack of knowledge...

Maggie said...

Whoever wrote this article should've spend more time on research. Even though I'm not into lolita fashion, the term "child prostitutes" made me cringe. And Emos referred to as "Baby goths"? Don't even get me started on this one...
As for the new H&M collection, it actually looks quite good - urban, utilitarian, edgy, although I wouldn't go as far as calling it Goth. Still, I'm sure some pieces will end up in my closet, as Lisbeth Salander's style is not far off from my idea of perfect daywear.

Toxic Tears said...

Maybe a load of people highly involved in the Lolita scene should write in and complain and ask for a public apology?:| This article = So much fail.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, the woman who wrote this article didn't do any research whatsoever. Lolitas are DEFINITLY not child prostistutes.Lolitas dress in a manner that is very modest, and very elegantly. Emos are NOT young goths. They are different subcultures. The goth, emo, and lolita styles can actually know how to properly dress, though, instead of looking like whores.

Cherish said...

Oh ugh.

That is the worst article I've seen all week, and here I thought things were picking up a bit.

Robert Smith as a cheap version of Manson? Gosh...if only I could find whoever wrote that article and strangle them...*Hm*

But the most failing piece is about Halloween being invented in America. That's just downright brainless...

SkeleDuck said...

Lolita... prostitute... Lookalike... Sorry, cerebral implosion.

Hallowe'en... invented... USA... Switch off the life support please.

I mean, really; that's tragically funny.

Mira said...

I imagine the costumes they consider insensitive are the ones depicting various ethnicities, which honestly offend me more than goth costumes- I'd much rather see someone in clumsy whiteface than any kind of blackface. Still, you'd think they could bother doing some basic research before writing an article.

LadyFlaneur said...

Who ever wrote the offensive article may or may not have their job anymore... I'd lock them in the filling room *personally*. It seems to me, that the so called Professionals are slipping up in their jobs as of the last few years.

Anonymous said...

As offensive as this is, it really isn't surprising coming from Vogue Italia (remember the infamous "slave earrings" incident a few months back? Not to mention their use of blackface on their models...)

But cripes! You couldn't get any more subculturally tone deaf and offensive if you tried. I hope whoever wrote this mess is fired pronto. Jeez.

Kismet said...

True, I would not say Robert Smith is a cheaper version of Marilyn Manson.

I think he's just much more annoying then Marilyn, not to mention clumsy looking and overrated.

HollyElise said...

Good grief. What an ignorant article.

I wouldn't say HBC is Victorian Goth, Victorian Goth definitely does not require teased hair.

But the thing that really got me going in that article?
"any given Cullen character in Twilight".
The Cullens are not Goth. The Cullens are *barely* vampires and most definitely, DEFINITELY not Goth.

Grrrrrrrrr....

Lady Harra said...

Victorian Child Prostitute?

As a Classical/Gothic Lolita, and a mildly Victorian Goth, I find this -severely- offensive.

What Vogue doesn't seem to realize is that Lolita is about modesty. Ugh.

I wish these people would do their research.

Unlacing the Victorians said...

"Victorian child prostitute"? *blink* I doubt Child prostitutes were THAT well attired back then...

I actually don't have a problem with Goth outfits, for the most part. Sure, I bet it's more than annoying to have a Halloweener gushing over a Goth's "costume" at that time of year, but your photo comparisons actually display, for me, why the Goth costume sets should not be seen as so much of an affront. People CAN see the difference, and will more likely than not be able to tell that the person wearing "costume dress" is not a committed follower of Goth fashion.

The reason why Goth costumes look so cheap is because most people don't want to spend money on good outfits that they only plan to wear just one night of the year. Most un-elaborate Halloween costumes look just as cheap- Superman, Batman, standard princess costumes... It's not meant to be an affront to the Goth community, it's just meant to serve the purposes of mass production and our society's desires to buy disposable, one-use goods.

From what I hear from Europeans I've spoken with, Halloween as its current incarnation as a playdress night for kids and adults alike to eat candy and do dumb things IS a USA creation and that they don't do it so much across the Pond like that. Is that correct?

Anonymous said...

I'm from central germany (middle of nowhere) and around here Halloween is mainly a few children collecting sweets in 'half-arsed' costumes, sometimes in company of their parents and some Halloween-themed parties at diffrent clubs. But no one I know puts much effort into costumes and decoration... The whole sexy-something (lingerie with fluffy ears)costume hasn't really caught on either, but I'm no clubbing person so I can't really tell.

Greetings, Ria

Minakitty (Mary) said...

What a terrible article. I have to admit I was surprised this wasn't in American Vogue, as their writing and editorials since the late 90s stopped me from ever purchasing an issue again. I recall a "street style" article from the late 90s where it was obvious the "goths" were wearing rentals from the now defunct shop Religious Sex as they were ill fitting and their makeup was simply awful, but I digress...

I too was hoping the use of the WGT photo would indicate a level of quality usually not seen in "outsider" articles. :/

Dark Fantomzy said...

Reading this article made my head hurt.

Gothic Lolitas look like Victorian child prostitutes? Robert Smith is a cheap Manson rip off?
And on top of that, "ghoulish chic"?

...Ugh, I need to lie down.

Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

Oh Vogue. You feel the need to comment on other people's dress sense and style, yet you can't seem to help photoshopping your models until they look like the baby from Eraserhead. (I'm staying with the Green Fairy, her housemate has a copy of Vogue from this time last year. Cover model is so thin and to be honest, a fucking alien)

Please stfu and get out of my goth.

Nox Artemis said...

And this is why I do not read mainstream fashion magazines that believe themselves to be the official fashion police of everything without even knowing what the hell they're talking about.

F*ck Vogue Magazine said...

I believe I need to lie down.

Maeam said...

...This...I don't know what to say. Agreed. Stop getting your grubby hands in goth, Vogue.

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