Is the skull trend dead or alive?

It's Halloween all year round among top designers, reports Annie Deakin

Once relegated to heavy metal fans and bikers, the skull motif has truly nestled into the homes of the British middle classes. Ever since 2006, when
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest kicked off this disturbing skull trend, the macabre motif has run riot in fashion and the home. At the time, critics deemed the trend a fad but three years later, skulls remain a hot theme in the design world.

This is a particularly bumper week for skulls. What with the unveiling of Damien Hirst's new skull painting collection and Halloween season in full swing, the sinister symbol is, once again, at the forefront of our minds. This weekend's Halloween celebrations will transform British cities into Disney-esque realms from the underworld.

Search for the perfect furniture with The Independent house and home database, powered by mydeco.

Whispers around the art world this week focused on the subject of skulls. On Monday, artist Damien Hirst opened his latest – and much anticipated - exhibition at the Wallace Collection in London. His diamond emblazoned life-sized skull, which sold for £50m in 2007, is never far from our minds. It was the ultimate boom-time symbol. In truth, his latest offering is a little less impressive - 25 Prussian-blue paintings of skulls, butterflies and shark jawbones – but still pushes the skull trend to the front.

Hirst is not alone in his mission to decorate walls with skulls. The fashion pack have decided it's quite the "in" thing to adorn your rooms with skull decor. BIBA founder Barbara Hulanicki recently released a skull wallpaper for Graham and Brown while Noel Gallagher's ex Meg Matthew has designed Skulls and Bones wallpaper collection for Wonderwalls at renowned print maker Liberty of London. Mathews' wallpaper hit the tabloids last month - Kate Moss floated into the launch – and is credited as being the rock and roll solution for interior design. Inspired by Alexander McQueen’s now-iconic skull-emblazoned scarf, Matthews juxtaposes girly florals with her signature snakeskin and skulls. Her wallpapers have pink skulls on white background or silver skulls on a black background. "I love the fact that the skulls look like crushed roses from afar. Naturally, I wanted my wallpaper to look amazing, but with my love of fashion and textiles, the 'feel' was equally important too. It has a unique, suede-like finish to the paper – you literally want to stroke it!"

Ever since London Design Festival, there has been a buzz surrounding wallpaper designers Beware the Moon who sell through the design boutique on The father and daughter duo caused quite a stir at 100% Design in September with their papers with attitude; one features a repeat skull pattern, another a naked lady. John Wakefield and his daughter Louise's wallpaper changes colour as you walk past. Rather like an oil slick, it flits between reds to greens, blacks and golds as the light catches it from different angles.

If plastering skull wallpaper on your walls is too much of a Morticia Adams-esque commitment, shoppers can add a hint of the sinister with jewellery and skull-embossed furniture. Particularly chic are the handmade skull cufflinks with moving jaw and diamond eyes by British jewellers Deakin and Francis. Bryonie Porter, the fashion favourite redesigns old furniture covering it with wallpaper. Porter has covered a sturdy old chest of drawers with the Magnificent Chatwin brothers hand-printed Skulls wallpaper in black, white and pink. Georgina Brett Chinnery's company Bomborock makes bespoke contemporary furniture in St.Leonards on Sea, Essex. Brett adorns anything and everything with a skull and roses fabric – look out for her beanbags, laundry bags, baby bibs and lampshades.

Much to most stylist's surprise, the skulls trend just won’t die. It has lasting legs and isn't the passing fad we all imagined. Talk about drop dead gorgeous.

Annie Deakin is Editor of

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Content and PR

£35000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Mid / Senior

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing digital agenc...

Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Partnerships Manager

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a newly-created partne...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor