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Gothic fashion

Sat, Jul 8th, 2017 @ 10:00:15 AM - howdy

Featured by dark clothing, black (often dyed) hair and pale faces with dark eyeliner and black lipstick, the Gothic fashion style was an implication of the Goth subculture. It was one of its many aspects as is the case with so many cultures. In the 60s there were mods and rockers with each their habits and clothing, in the late 60s and in the 70s there was the hippie movement and in the 80s we have punk, gothic … Mostly one or more members of a music group stands as icon and influences the fashion of a whole generation.
© elisanth / 123RF Stockfoto

The Goth subculture


Goth subculture is a movement that started in England in the 1980s as an offshoot of the post-punk genre and soon was adapted by many countries. The intertwined music represented a number of different styles, as gothic rock, industrial, deathrock, post-punk, darkwave, ethereal wave, neoclassical and gothic metal. Notable post-punk groups are Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and Bauhaus.
The goth subculture was influenced by 19th century Gothic literature and horror films. We all know Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein from the Gothic and Bram Stoker’s Dracula from the Victorian era. Or the The Castle of Otranto out of 1794 by Horace Walpole. Or the works of Edgar Allan Poe. These horror influences are still visible in the Gothic or Victorian based clothing used in Halloween costumes, witch clothing and for other horror scenery.

BAUHAUS with Peter MURPHY, Daniel ASH, David J and Kevin HASKINS

Fashion styles within the subculture include deathrock, punk and Victorian styles, or a combination of these. Mostly it had a dark attire (often black), pale face makeup and black hair. After emergence it continued to be popular in many countries with large annual festivals especially in Germany.

The Goth fashion style

Gothic fashion model with a black lace on her eyes

Gothic fashion emerged from the Goth subculture. Make-up as already mentioned includes dyed black hair, dark eyliner, black fingernails, black period styled clothing, eventually piercing.

More about Gothic clothing

Influences of the Gothic fashion styleInfluences in Gothic fashion: Medieval (15th-century depiction), Elizabethan (Elizabeth Hastings, Countess of Worcester who reigned from 1556 to 1621) and Victorian (October by James Tissot 1877)

Gothic clothing was conspicuously dark, eerie, mysterious, complex, exotic and recognizable by stark black clothing.

young lady of fashion, 1871

Young lady of fashion, 1871

Its origins go back to the Elizabethan, Victorian and Medieval era. From the latter comes the pagan, occult and relious inspired imagery. Globally Gothic style was based on clothing worn by sailors or by people associated with churches and cathedrals.

As base for many dresses stood the mourning dress of the Victorian era. However, not all Gothic dresses are maxi. There is a wide variation in design models, from maxi to mini, but they are all in black or other colors as gray, purple or bordeau, started as reaction against the loud colors of the eighties.

Compare with Victorian dress

Compare with Victorian dress
© fotolit / 123R

It was also a style that flattered the woman’s bodyshape that emphasized the excitement between sexes. Material elements are the corset, fishnet, lace. Prints with cross patterens and skulls, often also found back back in Halloween clothing. There is no tight frame style but each composes ones own style from the gothic dress corset, fishnet stokings, gloves and silver jewellery. The latter with symbols as skulls, ankh, pentagram …

More Gothic style icons

More Gothic style icons were several band leaders as Siouxsie Sioux (Siouxsie and the Banshees), Robert Smith (The Cure), Peter Murphy (Bauhaus), Dave Vauian (The Damned) and Nick Cave, Grand Lord of Gothic Lushness.

Some definitions

The Gothic style is a “profusion of black velvets, lace, fishnets and leather tinged with scarlet or purple, accessorized with tightly laced corsets, gloves, precarious stilettos and silver jewelry depicting religious or occult themes”
Ted Polleunus


“Goth is a revolt against the slick fashions of the 1970s disco era and a protest against the colorful pastels and extravagance of the 1980s. Black hair, dark clothing and pale complexions provide the basic look of the Goth Dresser. One can paradoxically argue that the Goth look is one of deliberate overstatement as just a casual look at the heavy emphasis on dark flowing capes, ruffled cuffs, pale makeup and dyed hair demonstrate a modern-day version of late Victorian excess. Gothic fashion may also feature silver jewelry.”
Maxim W. Furek (Researcher)


“The costumes and ornaments are a glamorous cover for the genre’s somber themes. In the world of Goth, nature itself lurks as a malign protagonist, causing flesh to rot, rivers to flood, monuments to crumble and women to turn into slatterns, their hair streaming and lipstick askew”.
The New York Times

Variations in the Gothic fashion style

Goth fashion has a reciprocal relationship with the fashion world. In the later part of the first decade of the 21st century, designers such as Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, Ann Demeulemeester, Philipp Plein, Hedi Slimane, John Richmond, John Galliano, Olivier Theyskens and Yohji Yamamoto brought elements of goth to runways.

Haute Goth

Several fashion designers brought elements of Goth to runways and were the creators of ‘Haute Goth’. Examples are John Galliano, Alexander Mc Queen and John Paul Gaultier. NY Times

Gothic Lolita

Gothic Lolita

Gothic Lolita

They say that Lolita fashion has nothing to do with Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita”. However, the latter was a bestseller out of 1958 while Lolita fashion dates from the late 1970s. It is called a feminist style, one that keeps the pedophiles on a distant as it covered the female body parts. Without being strictly, I guess it is a style for girls from 14 to 20. There are many lolita styles among wich gothic lolita, a japanese street style.


An aristocrat with a classic lolita

An aristocrat with a classic lolita – © Iriseyes at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Aristocrat is a Japanese street fashion that is inspired by what is thought to have been worn by middle class and higher social status Europeans in the Middle Ages, as well as the upper class in the 19th century. The fashion includes long sleeve blouses and shirts, long skirts, corsetry, and pants and dresses that are styled similarly for men and women since it is centered on androgyny and elegance. Most aristocrat fashion takes heavy influence from gothic fashion. Makeup, when worn with the fashion, is on the darker side, may be heavy, and can be worn by both genders.

Elegant Gothic Aristocrat (EGA) is a term coined by Mana, a fashion designer and former band leader of Malice Mizer, and is used to describe his brand of clothing carried in his store Moi-même-Moitié. Explanation: brand

Cyber goth

Cybergoth stands for a subculture that emerged in America together with rivethead at the end of the 1990s. It combined classic gothic fashions as leather duster coats, tripp pants or Demonia brand platform boots with clothing that wore fans of industrial metal and rave music. This way they achieve in creating a dystopian, futuristic science fiction look. Features are shaved heads, synthetic neon dreadlocks, camouflage, tight leather pants, chains, platform boots, stretched body piercings, sleeve tattoos, goggles, corsets, PVC or leather skirts, and black trenchcoats decorated with metal studs.

Two different looks of female cyber goth fashionTwo different looks of female cyber goth fashion – © starush and demian1975 on 123RF Stockfoto

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