Mourning costume: the return of gothic fashion | Fashion
Let loose the bats: the Gothic style is back.
This week, Kourtney Kardashian visited Venice with her boyfriend, Travis Barker from Blink-182, swapping the Balmain bodysuit for black leather pants from Rick Owens and studded mules from Givenchy. Selena Gomez appeared on the cover of Elle US with fishnet tights, a choker, and a blonde bob – more Courtney Love than Marilyn Monroe. While singer Halsey accompanied her new album (produced with Trent Reznor from gothic legend Nine Inch Nail) with black and vintage Dolce and Gabbana.
“Goth signals danger. It is disturbing, but not too much, ”says Professor Catherine Spooner of Lancaster University. “Flirting with gothic is a perfect way for celebrities to safely give their identity an edge. ”
The subculture has been all the rage recently, hair horns and wedge heels are popular, while searches for “gothic fashion” have increased 21% year over year, according to jewelry box.
“There are days there is more fluidity in the look rather than being a fixed style,” says Daisy Davidson, who directs Hysterical Mode, a street style page documenting alternative fashion. “It often seems to be a mix of goth and emo, as opposed to a standalone scene like in the ’80s.”
Others believe the obscurity of goth is an appropriate response to Covid-19.
“Many features of the Gothic narrative such as haunting, monstrosity, and the living dead are very easily read as social and political metaphors,” says Spooner. “Coming out of the pandemic can be likened to a new rise, a return to life after incarceration in a grave,” says Professor Nick Groom, co-author of CoronaGothic: Cultures of the Pandemic.
Spooner also sees the rise of goth as a counter-narrative to cottagecore and the ‘homecoming’ aesthetic. “In Gothic fiction and cinema, the country is rarely a place of rest and relaxation – this is where dark things happen to reckless city dwellers,” she says. “And it brings to mind the fact that in Western countries the countryside is where some of our most difficult policies are currently unfolding, from climate change to rural conservatism.”
For Spooner, the trend, by nature, is cyclical. “Gothic is intrinsically linked to returning to the past,” she says. “It is rooted in cultural ideas of historical revival, weird and haunting returns. This is the last iteration of the cycle and it won’t be the last.