10 of fashion’s most major goth moments
As the Museum of Morbid Anatomy hosts “A Desire for Dramaticism: Semiotics of the 1980s Goth Subculture,” we’ve rounded up 10 collections that embrace the dark side. From Rei Kawakubo’s ‘Beetlejuice’ schoolgirls to Rick Owens’ health goth dick tricks...
Yohji Yamamoto 81: Goth found its subcultural footing in the post-punk early 80s, the same time that Japanese anti-fashion smashed the mold with intellectual, oversized, and monochromatic garments. So it isn't surprising that both movements found a home on Yohji Yamamoto's earliest runways. For one of his 81 shows, Yoji flooded Tokyo's Den-En Colosseum with 180 looks.The designer's billowing black dresses and wide brim preacher hats make for one of the chicest coven we've ever seen (sorry, American Horror Story.)
Ann Demeulemeester fall/winter 92: No goth runway roundup is complete without a shout to Antwerp Six goddess Ann Demeulemeester. Even though she's BFFs with godmother of punk, Patti Smith, the Dutch designer is often on more of a Marilyn Manson tip (unsurprisingly, she opened her fall 97 show with his haunting cover of I Put a Spell on You.) Ann's long overcoats, cropped trousers, and spiderweb silver hair accents for fall/winter 92 are just some of the designer's earliest instances of black magic. Years later, Ann returned to these A Clockwork Orange levels of dastardly deviance by adding pocket chains, leather gloves, and thick wool overcoats for mens fall/winter 09.
Alexander McQueen for Givenchy Couture, fall/winter 97: For his second-ever collection at the helm of Givenchy, McQueen drew the parallel between designer and surgeon and went all Mary Shelley on us. Inspired by a mythical mad scientist who collected women from all corners of the world, McQueen reassembled Scottish tartan with Spanish lace, kimonos with Burmese folk craft. Paired with an eerie set design that featured live ravens inside massive cages that models stroked on their trips down the catwalk, the show channeled the same Victorian vibes that were so influential to goth's growth as a subculture. Edgar Allen Poe would be so proud.
John Galliano for Christian Dior Couture spring/summer 06: In his tenth year at the helm at Dior, Galliano revisited the French Revolution's bloody battles for freedom as his inspiration for spring/summer 06. The master showman notched up the volume and drama, pushing his blood splattered waistcoats and gowns to new levels. FIT even exhibited one of the collection's sanguine looks for its Gothic: Dark Glamour exhibition back in 08.
Rodarte fall/winter 08: Lately, the Rodarte sisters have taken their design cues from mermaids, birds, and Van Gogh's starry nights. But Kate and Laura Mulleavy have a dark side. Drawing influence from "the connection between the Kabuki tradition and that of modern Japanese horror films," as they told Style.com, the sisters created a series of slashed fishnet-style stockings and fraying, deconstructed knits in deep blacks and blood reds for fall/winter 08. Set to the sounds of Tones on Tail (the side project of Daniel Ash, the guitarist of legendary goth rock outfit Bauhaus) and fellow goth rock trio Cocteau Twins, Rodarte gave us some Wednesday-Addams-brooding-in-her-bedroom-before-prom vibes.
Chanel fall/winter 11: Thought you'd never see "Chanel" and "goth" in the same sentence? So did the rest of the world, until Karl unveiled the storied house's take on dark twisted fantasy back in 2011. Converting Paris' Grand Palais into a foggy dystopia, the Kaiser showed a series of slouchy separates with amped up structural collars as lace fingerless gloves crept out from a few sleeves. And although the YouTube show's soundtrack only features instrumental tracks, here's what Uncle Karl really used for Chanel's macabre moment: goth forefathers The Cure's booming A Forest.
Nasir Mazhar fall/winter 14: Although Naz's first full ready to wear collection only dropped in 2013, the London design maverick has already developed a cult of followers captivated by his cyber chola girl gangs. As cyber goth began to pick up steam as a widespread trend, Mazhar laid claim to his dark, techy turf with fall/winter 14. The designer kitted his squad out in serious hardware: bold belts, full facemasks, and those chunky, metal plated boots industrial goths always rock at ambient warehouse raves (or when they're dancing to Lil B.)
Rick Owens fall/winter 15: Rick Owens might hail from sunny Southern California, but he's certainly king of one goth offshoot: health goth. The moody movement celebrates sleek monochrome sportswear, and Rick's signature asymmetric hemlines and drapey, minimalist silhouettes are its ultimate uniform. Yet while he might be lord of the health goths, designer's fall/winter 15 ball-busting collection was punk as fuck.
Comme des Garçons Comme des Garçons fall/winter 15: And speaking of Wednesday, Rei Kawakubo positively nailed her and Beetlejuice leading lady Lydia Deetz's goth schoolgirl vibes for her secondary line's fall/winter 15 collection. We're here for Kawakubo's vision of tattered lace shift dresses and peter pan collars. Plus, the chopped mop hairstyles are serving some serious Siouxsie.
Givenchy fall/winter 15: Riccardo Tisci must be an Orange is the New Black fan, as his Victorian chola collection last season was basically made for post punk-loving Latina Flaca Gonzalez. The fictional Litchfield lady convict can sleep well knowing Givenchy is holding her down in the outside world; pearl face adornments take the places of teardrop tattoos, delicate lattice bodices, and deep shades of red dominated a beautifully somber season.
Text Emily Manning
Photography Mitchell Sams