Is the skull trend dead or alive?

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

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.

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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