Thursday, March 09, 2006

The New Gothic

Gothic fashion doesn't have the best reputation. Long the province of angsty suburban high schoolers and internet subcultures, most people associate gothic fashion with ripped fishnets, badly dyed hair, and vampire makeup. However, as the fall runways have shown, Gothic can be beautiful and modern - these clothes are a far cry from Hot Topic.

Olivier Theyskens and Nicolas Ghesquiere are the leaders of this new look - a darkly romantic style that uses historical motifs in a completely new way. At Rochas, Olivier has created a new vision of Victorian that is feminine, modern, and not all fussy or prim, and at Balenciaga, Nicolas has updated archival Balenciaga, adding both Baroque touches and a rock'n'roll edge, resulting in a seamless blend of eras that has fashionistas around the world coveting his clothes.

But how do you wear these styles without looking you're wearing a costume (or like a rebellious teenager)? It's all in the mix. Wear your ruffled blouses with jeans and a leather jacket, or floaty, feminine dresses with chunky platforms. Or just keep it to the accessories - try a skull or heavy cross necklace with a sleek suit. Makeup is also one of the easiest ways to go neo-Goth: just wear a little more dark eyeliner or lipstick than usual (and remember to keep the lips neutral). Inky nail polish is another fun way to try this look; OPI's "Lincoln Park after Dark" is a purple so dark it appears black.

You don't have to wait for fall to go for the Goth, either. A little darkness can be the perfect antidote to spring's sweetness. Throw a heavy, ornate leather belt over your breezy summer dresses, or wear a pair of studded platforms with your summer shorts. Just remember not to interpret this trend to literally - head to toe Gothic can be more frightening than fabulous.


Anonymous said...

ok i will agree those cloths have a more modern look but i have to disagre about Hottopic it is getting to be a bit more modern and people like the old stuff better if the style keeps changing to be modern it wont be the same it will be like every other style.

Dyanne/Heretic13 said...

"Just remember not to interpret this trend to literally - head to toe Gothic can be more frightening than fabulous." - Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

lidia said...

Gothic is a LIFESTYLE that´s meant to be HORRIFYING for "normal" people (there lies the "rebelious" part).
So please don´t be trying to "pretty" us your own way.

Jacqueline said...

@Lidia - there are many interpretations of the word "Gothic" - it is architectural movement, a poetic style, and yes, a lifestyle for some people. I doubt that all "goths" wish to be "horrify" normal people.

Check out the wikipedia article:

Gothic is so much more than a lifestyle for people who wish to shock the "normal" people.

Hila Glam said...

What's wrong with Hot Topic? I'm an Israeli fashion designer who buys at Hot Topic too and it's a lame and nasty thing to say.

Besides, Goth is devided to two communities. One is the Industrial music lovers who hang out wearing red fishnet tights and black eyeshadows, the other is the Goth Metal lovers who wear Victorian, classic haute couture with a modern touch and a lot of good taste and beauty.

As a Gothic girl I must say you have to know the communities closer and realize the differences before you write wrong interpratation and perspective just to please the "normal" people who seem to look at us and find the right horrorific tags. Grow up.

The Fashionable Kiffen said...

First of all, I'm not sure where I insulted the gothic lifestyle in these posts (I'm standing by my statement that high schoolers wearing Hot Topic are probably NOT immersed in the lifestyle). And hey, some pieces from Hot Topic are cute, some are awful - just like every store. It's all subjective.

The comment from Jacqueline above is me too (I didn't realize I was signed in under my other email address, oops), and I would love to advise everyone who is arguing with my use of gothic to READ the wikipedia page I linked above. Educate yourselves on the terms you use before you start to sling insults. I'll admit that willful ignorance disgusts me and I hate to see people condemn things they don't understand, including the gothic lifestyle.

The Fashionable Kiffen said...

And I'd like to add that I in no way condemn the Goth lifestyle (I still don't see how I'm insulting anyone with this post, and I'm sorry to those of you who chose to view it that way). My blog is about having fun with fashion, and one way to do that is for people who don't normally wear gothic style cloting to add a touch of darkness to their look. It's just not that complicated.

If you're not okay with that, you don't have to read it. My attitude towards fashion, and life, is to celebrate variety. Vive la difference and all that.

The Fashionable Kiffen said...

Just out of curiosity, and if any one is still reading this post (it IS well over a year old), I truly don't understand why anyone would WANT people to look at them and be horrified. Any insights?

I know, I know, I'm not you and in your eyes, I'm probably one of those normal people you mock so I'll never understand.

But seriously, is shunning the mainstream and being alternative the point? Are you trying to show how open-minded and different you are? Because attacking anyone who uses the term "gothic" to mean anything that differs from your own interpretation of the term doesn't seem to jive with that.

Anonymous said...

I was doing some research on the topic and stumbled upon this post. I should say, that a key word in gothic fashion is "individualism". So - absolutely no point in attacking this article. I find it useful for those, who have a full-time job and at the same time want to look somewhat spooky.
Thanks for writing this post!

Anonymous said...

ok goths are suppose to be sexy and sluty not just pretty and were not restrained to hot topic if u put goth shirt with jeans its NOT GOTH ANY MORE!!

leila said...

hello people.. world peace! =)

Arianna said...

This is primarily aimed at the comments, not the article itself.

Being Gothique and a (future) fashion designer myself, I agree that a lot of modern-day gothic style is associated with what was describe above, but that is merely one form of clothing prefrences of the gothic subculture; there are far too many to list here.
Personally, i very much like this dress, but i think there should be more accent than just all black... The shilouette is gorgeous, but one cannot see the detail put into the outfit,

I will disagree on the argument about Hot Topic posted by an anonymous user. Hot Topic has lost much of its stature in the Gothic scene. Its colours have gotten cery bright and preppy, and are more along the "scene kid" theme. Modern hip-hop, etc has also mad its way into the mainstreamed HT stores with "bling" skulls and large, plastic gold chains. (very garish and tasteless, if you ask me.)
Speaking of skulls, the imagery was once used only amogst the gothic subculture, but is now spread amogst the population...let alone the bands and artists.... and adding "a skull or heavy cross necklace with a sleek suit".... let's not, shall we?

" ok goths are suppose to be sexy and sluty not just pretty and were not restrained to hot topic if u put goth shirt with jeans its NOT GOTH ANY MORE!!" (another anonomous) saying that goths are sexy and slutty is the WORST form of sterotype anyone could ever say. This person has got to the most ignorant person.... but if s/he wants to wear all black, chains, skulls, crossbones and whathave you, feel free. Just don't post YOUR definition og "gothic" as the ONLY form of goth. Despicable.

oh dear... reading some of these posts.... i could reply to nearly all of them. Gothic doesnt HAVE to be FRIGHTENING... I shall stop now, I think...

Lil Midget said...

I agree with Arianna.
I'm a fan of gothic fashion and gothic is not necessarily spikes and bolts and neither is it just black from head to toe (although black IS the gothic fashion's main colour). Gothic look can be elegant, feminine and beautiful (a darker kind of beauty. Mysterious more like).

I have a blog on gothic fashion and music. Still new,but.

Anonymous said...

Well, for me we have 2 styles which is called "Gothic".

The first is the style which belong to the goth-culture, horror and scary things and these people want to horrify normal people and they often listen to Bauhaus, The sisters of mercy for example. This style I call Goth.

When we have the other style which is dark but beautiful, romantic and sometimes mysterious and and the people like to read fantasy and gothic literature and often listen to what is called gothic metal.

Goth = Horror, dark, scary
Gothic = Dark, beautiful, romantic

This is my view of it.

Anonymous said...

Wear whatever you want, and don't let anyone else tell you what is 'good' or 'bad', especially not some stupid article.

The Fashionable Kiffen said...

Comments are closed on this post. If you have problems with this two-year old article, email at the Fashionable "at" No email is confidential, so you have been warned.

Nosferatu said...

"Corporate Gothic" (Corp Goth) is often the name Goths give to other goths wearing the type of clothes like on the picture.
Since you can litterly go to you officedressed like that, without getting kicked out. ;)

Very nice variant on businesswear actualy. ;)