Sunday, 22 February 2009

Back to Black

A much-loved and often-revived trend, Goth has been aligned in the popular consciousness with disaffected youths hanging around a shopping mall. The world of fashion, however, has quite a different take on the matter.
The woman embracing this year’s Gothic look is a fashion-literate individual who knows that this season, Goth equals glamour. When Prada showed a runway of models wearing lace in new and startling incarnations, the fashion world sat up and took notice. This was a sideways glance at the world of Goth, rather than a full-on stare.
This winter, the harsh monochrome of previous years has been softened with texture. This is ‘Soft Goth’, with ruffles, chiffon and lots of layering. The new Goth girl is someone who has read Mary Shelley, but prefers Charlotte Bronte. It is Goth with a romantic undertone. There is a hint of the nineteenth century in the high necklines and low hemlines shown by Roksanda Ilincic, with delicate lace accents softening the potential severity of the modern cut.

‘I was thinking about paganism and dancing around bonfires naked.’
This is Luella Bartley’s explanation for her fairytale-fuelled Gothic fantasy. While I wouldn’t recommend running around Cornwall naked, the pagan notes are clearly felt throughout her witch’s brew of utterly desirable dresses. They are seductive, but playful – like Little Red Riding Hood has gone to the dark side. These dresses are so unapologetically sexy you can, almost like Macbeth, allow yourself to be bewitched by the sizzle and crackle from beneath the cauldron.
This element of subversive playfulness echoes through a number of collections, notably including Giles, Gareth Pugh and Emma Cook. Frills, quilting and zipper details add a new flavour to an old fashion story. Again, the slant is skewed on glamour: the soft ruffled details on a knee-length shift dress by Fendi are romance personified. It is the decadent detailing that makes this year’s Goth-girl a breath of fresh air. There is quite literally something here for every taste. It is fashion recycled; an old idea spun to weave another pattern altogether.

When many designers are choosing to head in a pared-back, minimalist, credit-crunch-proof direction, these designers are defiantly going for the glamour vote. It is a wise move too, as economic gloom aside; every woman wants to feel beautiful and special. There is nothing special about a bland LBD with nothing but its pedigree to recommend it. This season’s collections showcase truly beautiful clothes that are unique and dazzling, wearable and accessible.
When times are tough, we do indeed retrace our fashion steps and go back to what is familiar, but if you are smart, you know that nothing lifts the spirits more than wearing something that makes you feel utterly alive. In this economic slump, it is not functionality that we require: it is a lusty, full-blooded sartorial reminder that the good times will return. It is time to go back to black.


No comments:

Post a Comment