Have a haute Hallowe'en

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

All Souls' Day might be about tricks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself. On the contrary, the style set loves an excuse to dress up

By the pricking of several perfectly manicured thumbs, something wicked this way comes – to a shop near you, in fact. Hallowe’en is here and with it the opportunity for fashionable types to kit themselves out in one of their favourite guises, that of the fabulously fierce neo-goth.

It’s a trend that designers return to time and again. Some have even made it their USP: no-one could take a look at the designs of, say, Gareth Pugh, Rick Owens, Ann Demeulemeester or Riccardo Tisci and say there isn’t something of the night about them. Giles Deacon was inspired by that master of the ghost story, Edgar Allen Poe, for his 2008 collection of Edwardian-line pieces, which was shown on models whose heads were bound in spooky veils, while Swedish seamstress Ann-Sofie Back has previously referenced Poltergeist and The Exorcist, with models staggering like zombies along the catwalk in ripped, dishevelled clothing and milky contact lenses.

Fashion is ghoulish about ghosts. There’s something appealing about the undead aesthetic, whether you choose severe and sharp black or go creepily retro in Victoriana and vampiric ruffles. Part of it is the thrill of the extreme, of course; of the theatrical and the visually arresting.

Another lure is the ease with which the sartorially minded’s uniform of black tends toward the dark side, when monochrome and minimalism go bad and things get a bit scary.

“Hallowe’en gives creative types a chance to elaborately costume themselves; to create a fantasy,” says Ruth Runberg, Buying Director at Browns.

The alternative boutique, Browns Focus, stocks many of the avant-garde designers who have made gothic glamour their calling card. “And isn’t creating fantasy really what the fashion industry is all about?” asks Runberg.

“Gothic styles have been shown in so many ways,” adds jeweller Hannah Warner, whose current collection is full of skull rings and bone bangles, “allowing a huge range of different people to wear them. For me, I think the beauty of the different forms of skulls and how they are brought in different designs is fascinating. They can be a great statement piece.”

The skull ring has become something of a design classic, since it emerged in the Seventeenth century and survived a foray into the realm of military uniform. Those found on pinkies in Camden Market most readily spring to mind, but a host of fashionable names have recently turned their hands to rehabilitating Yorick’s style credentials.

Alexander McQueen became known for his skulls, on scarves and rings alike, embellished with gleaming jewel eyes, dangling tusks or – more profoundly indicative of the mortal coil perhaps – crawling wasps and flies.

American metalworker Pamela Love has also found an audience with her intricately wrought bird skull rings and bangles with terrifying talons on each end, while Maria Francesca Pepe gilds rings with crucifixes and fangs.

And the rise of nail art means there is a new canvas for All Souls style, with salons offering phantom faces, Jack-o-lanterns, googly eyes or even a traditional “Boo!” To get the look at home, you’ll need steady, unflappable hands and some of celebrity manicurist Andrea Fullerton’s accessories – try the stick-on tattoos (skull and crossbones, anyone?), or precision pens to create your own designs. Keep the rest of your make-up suitably spooky with a swipe of dramatic dark lipstick. For the die-hards, nothing but black will do, but it gives skin a pallor and teeth a green glow. Dark purple is more flattering, so try MAC’s “cyber” shade, which can be worn thickly for maximum effect or blotted for a Morticia Adams-esque berry stain.

Indeed, if many gothic influences come from “the olden days” – the term was first used by the Romans of the Germanic Visigoth tribes, before being used to reference a certain school of Medieval architecture – then this season’s Nineties revival is not without some Hallowe’en-flavoured elements, by way of stompy Doc Martens, faded denim and ripped tights, as well as grungy purple lips. Design duo Meadham Kirchoff worked in a spooky vein for autumn, referencing the punk movement via the Salem witch trials, for an alt-pilgrim fathers look that was as cute as it was kooky. Witches on broomsticks sailed across knitwear, while conical hats were given a trilby aspect and spruced up with flowers.

So there’s no excuse for not knowing what to dress up as tonight or for not having an incredible costume at the ready. After all, if you pick carefully enough, your gothic gladrags could end up being wardrobe staples for years to come.

Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Life and Style
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

    £30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

    Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

    £34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

    Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

    Developer - WinForms, C#

    £280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

    Day In a Page

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

    Farewell, my lovely

    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

    Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

    The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
    The 10 best pedicure products

    Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

    Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

    Commonwealth Games 2014

    Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
    Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

    Jack Pitt-Brooke

    Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
    How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game