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Going Goth

Fashion is an omnivorous medium.  There's no aesthetic, subculture, or human experience that is too obscure, too violent, or too dark to serve as an inspiration for some creative designer.  Given this hunger, not to mention fashion's fascination with the color black, it's no surprise that goth culture is reflected in many couture creations.

 

An extraordinary exhibit at the Museum at F.I.T., Gothic: Dark Glamour, explores the roots of the modern goth aesthetic in Victorian mourning costume, as well as linguistic links back to the Dark Ages and to the ancient "barbarian" Goths themselves.  From Alexander McQueen's skulls to Rodarte's "bloodstained" tulle to Yohji Yamamoto's sculptural folds, many modern designers have experimented with this visual vocabulary.

While designer Rick Owens recalls his own goth youth, which gives his work an air of authenticity, only a few of the creators and wearers of elaborate goth-inspired clothing have any actual association with modern goth culture.  This creative cultural appropriation didn't seem to bother the actual goth partygoers at the exhibit's opening earlier this fall, though.  On the contrary, most seemed to enjoy both the exhibit and the attention from professional photographers and fellow guests who admired their dark finery. 

The animated goth denizens of South Park, however, are less sanguine about seeing their style copied.  Check out the full episode -- or just a short clip -- to see how the clique that laid claim to morbid posturing responds to the new "vamps" in town.


And then pick up the stylish Gothic: Dark Glamour book for the resolutely disaffected teenager on your holiday gift list.  Just remember to wrap it in black, perhaps with a poisonous sprig of mistletoe for good measure.