Fashion: gothic

Forget those moody girls in black with spiky hair. The New Goth is smart and likes to party. Styling by Emma Sanchez. Photographs by Garth Meyer

When Madonna attended the Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood last spring, she did so with her finger on the pulse of a trend. Her hair was tonged into corkscrew curls. She wore a leather waistcoat fastened with lots of hooks and eyes, and a long, full skirt. The outfit (and one she wore to the VH-1 Fashion Awards in the autumn) was designed by the young Belgian upstart, Olivier Theyskens, who showed his first collection in Paris last March. And what an entrance he made on to the world's fashion stage with Madonna dressed up in his vision of "New Goth".

New Goth? you might ask. Whatever happened to the old variety - the ones who only wore black, spiked their hair and whose body temperature never rose above zero? Well, of course, the old variety still exists. You sometimes see them lurking like bats around suburban shopping centres. However, the New Goth is a different creature altogether. For a start, she wears designer labels and is familiar with both Theyskens and Nicolas Ghesquiere - the young French designer who is revamping the revered Balenciaga label with a touch of the dark and monastic. There is something about the brooding aesthetic of Belgian designers Ann Demeulemeester, Martin Margiela and Veronique Branquinho that fits with the Goth style. Branquinho, in particular, looks to strict Victorian tailoring - yet she is seen as being on fashion's cutting edge.

In this season of goodwill, you might think Goth style is morbid and depressing. But while the old Goth was dark and miserable, her modern sister is still dark, but she is the life and soul of the party, too. The only angst she knows is deciding whether to wear her hair straight or curly. Tamsin Blanchard Left wrinkled skirt, pounds 229, by Martin Margiela, from Liberty, 210-220 Regent Street, London W1, enquiries, 0171-734 1234

Right grey with red-pinstripe wool suit, jacket pounds 490, skirt pounds 315, by Alexander McQueen, from Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, London SW1, enquiries, 0171-235 5000, and Browns, as before

Hair Jennie Roberts at Public for Aveda

Make up Liz Martins at Public for Ruby and Millie

With thanks to L'Ecole D'Architecture de Paris

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