Goth to be real

ARMY OF ME () - November 14, 2009 - 12:00am

With only a few days to go before New Moon rises in theaters, it seems that Twilight fever has once again regripped the world. Since the first film racked up a total of $382 million at the box office, the book-derived teen vampire romance franchise has turned author Stephenie Meyers into the American J.K. Rowling and Gap model-looking bloodsuckers into instant superstars.

There’s really been plenty for fans to sink their teeth into. Aside from inspiring a stampede of related fare — from The Vampire’s Assistant to the CW’s Vampire Diaries, both reimagined from a series of novels — the mania for otherworldly critters has also made its way to the catwalk. What can you do? The undead are hot these days.

A Sinister Spring/Summer

Proving that horror is not just for Halloween, a cadre of designers showcased a more sinister version of Spring/Summer 2010. Rick Owens, the Los Angeles-born, Paris-based designer, again took the French capital by storm, casting a goth-luxe cloud over the show schedule. If it were up to him, skin-headed men would wear black Edwardian coats, long shorts and knee-high socks in June. It may seem wildly inappropriate, but that is the point. As he tells, “I am in the luxury position to perform for a very small niche in the market. I don’t have to accommodate everybody.” 

With more or less the same sensibilities, Gareth Pugh owes his aesthetic to his mentor, Rick Owens. His 35-piece collection explored Victoriana, including corsets and chiffon skirts for men and cobweb knits for women. The ashen palette added to the ghostly mood.

Parenthetically though, there was a similar twinge of sadness at Louis Vuitton, where black bunny-ear headbands reminiscent of Donnie Darko’s Frank the Rabbit were spotted. For these major league fashion brands, the world is still in mourning because of the recession and we should all somehow look the part.  

Spooky Style Icons

With an apparent gothic revival on the way, personalities with maudlin tendencies and romance-novel stares are dead on trend. There’s ‘80s punk pin-up Siouxsie Sioux, who tells NME she was against the trademark. “What I really resent most about people sticking labels on you is that it cuts off all the other elements of what you are because it can only deal with black and white; the cartoon. I know that the music and what we’ve done has got many levels of humour or seriousness or color. So of course, I found that ‘Goth’ tag very limiting and, rightly so, I didn’t go along with it.”

Other likely spooky style icons are The Cure’s Robert Smith, the MisShapes’ Leigh Lezark and up-and-coming singer Paloma Faith. The recording artist and former Agent Provocateur sales assistant has been quoted as saying: “Gothic style is a cynic’s paradise. Tim Burton is my gothic style icon; all his films have a beautiful darkness about them. There’s something very attractive about vampires, too. They are quite erotic.”

So do Twilight talents Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart fall under this category now? Diehards would probably mumble in agreement. After all, reanimated corpses — and those who fall for them — become more attractive when you soften the edges and target them at a younger set. I guess it’s time to brood.     

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