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
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Software / Web Developer - ASP.NET

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company produces a wide ra...

    Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

    £22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

    Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

    £14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones