Need some inspiration for Halloween?
The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York decided to explore the many inuendos of the subculture from it’s historic origins in 18th century Goth literature to Dracula films and the darkly erotic and romantic couture clothing from the runways of Paris. I was lucky enough to catch the exhibition following New York Fashion Week.
It was of particular interest to me as my California Apparel News’ Fall 08 photo shoot for LA Fashion Week was inspired by the dark mood of last year’s Academy Award nominated films. Think Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s “Sweeney Todd,” and classic films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”
Set in the basement of the FIT Gallery, the exhibition had jet black labyrinth-like chambers filled with corsets, crosses and plenty of darkly glamorous clothes. Going to the exhibition was like entering a dungeon, but if I had to endure some “coutorture” for fashion’s sake, then sobeit!!!! On display were gowns featured in "Dracula," streetwear from LA-based Lip Service as well as a number of couture gowns from Thierry Mugler, Rick Owens, Boudicca, Gareth Pugh, John Galliano and Yohji Yamamoto.
There was a series of black dresses for evening and a couture section with one of my favorite pieces – an Alexander McQueen dress made out of red microscope slides and an elaborate feather skirt. There was also an exquisite quilted cape by Boudicca and some futuristic "Blade Runner" ensembles with industrial tubes, magnifying glasses and a corset made from glass. Scared? Even more disturbing was a gown that had a jack set on the shoulder (to raise and lower the skirt) and shoes with insane metal heels.
Are these fashions for the mainstream? Certainly not. But that’s the beauty of fashion. It’s not just about being pretty, it can sometimes take us to dark places. After all, what could be better than living in a world of fantasy??!!