The Ultimate Guide to Gothic Fashion Icons
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1- What is gothic fashion?
Having its origins in the last two decades of the 20th century, the Gothic subculture brings together common themes in various art forms. In recent years, one of the branches related to the goth subculture that has gained popularity is goth fashion; this art form has managed to influence the entire fashion industry and continues to inspire even the most prestigious of designers.
Adopted by teenagers and adults, gothic fashion is strongly linked to literature, fine arts and photography of the 18th and 19th centuries. Although initially a radically alternative style, gothic fashion has slowly infiltrated some of its elements into mainstream fashion, becoming a source of inspiration for many styles that are not necessarily gothic.
Some of the most influential celebrities in entertainment history were or currently are fans of goth fashion; This style has had such an impact on the niche that some of the most iconic film characters are known to have been proponents of goth subculture and fashion. Much like the subculture as a whole, goth fashion is often misinterpreted or completely unknown by those without a background in this lifestyle and its aesthetic; The main goals of this guide are to help you better understand this alternative style and learn more about some of the most influential figures on this subject; Please note that these suggestions are in no particular order as to the effect of their influence. Without further ado, we invite you to discover the Ultimate Guide to Gothic Fashion Icons below.
2- The dark beauty of gothic fashion
Gothic fashion, also called goth fashion, is characterized by darkness, mystery, elaborate wardrobe pieces and, beauty-wise, smoky makeup. Arguably the most influential factor in Gothic fashion, from its beginnings to today, is the Victorian era and the mourning clothing worn during that era. In addition to the main theme of black, there are several other fabrics or fashion pieces that are directly associated with gothic fashion , such as lace, leather, velvet, corsets or gloves , to name a few. some. One of the most intriguing aspects of this mysterious style is that it features many substyles under one Gothic umbrella. Below are some examples of the many gothic fashion styles that enjoy great popularity in today's society.
3- Notable Gothic Fashion Styles
A- Gothic romantic
Commonly known as Gothic Romantic, this Gothic fashion style is recognized by its Victorian influences. Luxurious, aristocratic-looking dresses , pure fabrics like silk, velvet or lace, and an air of mystery are all characteristic of the Romantic Gothic fashion substyle. Men have also adopted this style, using top hats, scarves, ruffled shirts . Classical music and romantic literature are frequently associated with this style, as are corsets and crinolines (skirts with hoops). It's arguably one of the most expensive gothic fashion styles, but also one of the most visually striking (in a good way, of course).
What happens when you combine gothic fashion with pin up style? You get the Gothabilly. This feminine Gothic substyle is inspired by 1950s fashion and developed from Rockabilly fashion, taking the bright colors and polka dots and adding a dark edge and a sense of mystery. Gothabilly is not only related to fashion, it actually has its roots in the musical genre of the same name, which is also a subdivision of Rockabilly. High plateaus, vines, garters, corsets or cherry jewelry are all characteristic of Gothabilly. It is not uncommon for Gothabilly girls to deeply admire the art of tattooing and to have a few tattoos on their bodies themselves.
C- Gothic Punk
As its name suggests, the Gothic Punk style was born from Punk fashion and the influences of this musical genre. The Mohawks (even death-hawks - a large and messy version of the classic Mohawk), the leather jackets and combat boots , the numerous piercings and tattoos, the torn fashion pieces often worked on by Gothic Punk enthusiasts themselves. The same are all specific elements of this style. As you might expect, this style is greatly influenced by punk rock and takes a darker approach to music and fashion. Gothic Punk is also associated with eccentricity, so expect to see high, messy hairstyles, lots of heavy makeup and penciled eyebrows.
D- Gothic Lolita & Haute Goth & Gothic Streetwear
Japanese fashion is known for being extravagant and daring, usually under the label of Lolita. This well-known style has combined with Gothic fashion to form the fusion called Gothic Lolita. To understand this fusion, you need to know what defines Lolita: Edwardian or Victorian-inspired dresses, knee-length socks, lace umbrellas, frilly skirts and a soft but dark china doll look are not just a few main characteristics. Gothic Lolita, as opposed to soft, classic or old school Lolita, is a darker version of the style. Multi-layered, knee-length swing dresses are a common piece among lovers of Gothic Lolita fashion.
E- Health Gothic
Among the substyles of recent Gothic fashion, we also find Health Gothic, tucked under Street Gothic . This may seem like a strange choice of words at first, but the concept goes beyond fashion, into aesthetics and philosophy. Health Gothique works by taking pieces of athletic clothing and giving them a touch of edginess, but it's all for a reason; Some of the keywords surrounding Health Gothique are Net art, trans-humanism or even bionic limbs. Leading brands in the sportswear industry like Nike and Adidas have adopted Health Gothic as a style in its own right.
4- Notable Icons of Gothic Fashion
A- Lydia Deetz/Winona Ryder
It's impossible to talk about gothic fashion without talking about Lydia Deetz, the memorable character from Beetle juice. We all remember that strange, irresistible little girl who wore only dark clothes and makeup and had perfect bangs. Even though 27 years have passed since then, the character's fashion sense remains a big influence on this niche and in the industry. Plus, the actress who played Lydia Deetz is just as influential on goth fashion as her character: Winona Ryder. The beloved actress has a mysterious personality that is beautifully reflected in her wardrobe choice, both on and off set, as well as at celebrity events or in her personal life. Dark, bold and elegant as always, Winona is undoubtedly a leading figure who has left a lasting mark on gothic fashion.
Musidora is the stage name of French silent film actress Jeanne Roques, who lived between 1889 and 1957. Style-wise, Musidora has often been associated with Theda Bara, another influential gothic fashion icon. which we will talk more about in our guide. Known for her vampire appearance, Musidora became known with the silent films Les Vampires and her unique style for the time. The images we have today of Musidora depict her with dark makeup, especially around her eyes, as well as black bodysuits, creating a mysterious look that made her famous. She is highly respected among goth fashion enthusiasts as she is part of the first generation that inspired this trend and lifestyle choice. Even though Musidora is no longer with us, her influence on goth fashion and goth subculture remains as powerful as ever.
C- Black Dahlia
Elizabeth Short, known worldwide as Black Dahlia, was brutally murdered in 1947. Although her killer has not been found till date, the morbid details of her death - including severe mutilation – made it one of the most high-profile and famous unsolved murder cases in history. The Black Dahlia is a nickname that was given to Elizabeth Short by the press and is how she was commonly referred to in media coverage of the crime. When it comes to Elizabeth's influence on Gothic fashion, her elegant features, jet black hair, and dark looks remind us of the Gothic substyle of Gothic fashion that we described above. Although the Black Dahlia is not directly linked to this music or lifestyle, the fascination and morbidity of her case, as well as her stunning physical features, have made her an iconic figure in gothic fashion, which has inspired many outfits.
D- Marilyn Manson
When it comes to wearing a gothic suit or a black shirt and leather jacket, no one does it like Marilyn Manson. One of the most controversial rock artists of recent decades, but also one of the most appreciated, Marilyn Manson has always stood out for his erratic taste for aesthetics (especially makeup) and the debates surrounding his professional life and personal. Marilyn can regularly be seen on red carpets with a thick layer of white powder on her face, dark red lips, smoky eyes and a white contact lens which has enhanced her notoriety over time. When it comes to his wardrobe, dark, well-tailored suits and skinny ties are staples for Manson. With such influence among the general public and rock audiences alike, it is undeniable that Marilyn Manson is an icon of gothic fashion who will go down in history.
E- Morticia Addams
How can we forget the irreplaceable woman of the Addams family? Morticia Addams, portrayed by multiple actresses over time, is Gomez's wife and the mother of Pugsley and Wednesday, another influential figure we'll talk about later in our guide. Almost the definition of matriarchy, the character Morticia had a strong personality that had the power to silence any other character with just a piercing stare. Actresses Carolyn Jones, Anjelica Huston, Daryl Hannah and Ellie Harvie all played the role of Morticia Addams, each building on her unforgettable dark allure. Anjelica Huston's Morticia is arguably the most iconic of gothic fashion, with her tight black dresses, pale skin and blood-red lips, matching long nails, dark gray and silver eye shadow and eyeliner. black. Let's not forget the long black locks that also made this character famous.
F- David Vanian
As well as being one of the very first influencers in goth fashion history, singer and musician David Vanian was also part of Britain's first punk band who released a single, released an album, made toured the United States and had record-breaking achievements on the United Kingdom music charts, according to Wikipedia.org. In his younger years, Vanian was nothing short of a trendsetter, sparking men's desire to experiment with black eyeshadow and dark lips, as well as alternative fashion. His style was often reminiscent of vampires, with iconic pieces associated with this type of character. In fact, his stage name Vanian comes from the Transylvanian world, which automatically brings us to the idea of draculas and vampires. Whether he has his hair short and slicked back or long, with a thick white stripe peeking out from the right side, Vanian is a staple in the history of goth fashion.
G- Siouxsie Sioux
Any true Goth will tell you about the unprecedented influence Siouxsie Sioux had on Gothic fashion (and music, for that matter). Star singer of Siouxsie and the Banshees, the English artist has made a permanent mark on the music and fashion industries with her superhuman style in fashion and beauty. Considered by many to be the mother of the Goths, Siouxsie is cited in almost every article or analysis on Goth fashion and Goth subculture in general. When it comes to Gothic fashion styles, Siouxsie is one of the first examples you can think of for the Punk Gothic substyle. Her bold makeup, intriguing hairstyle, choice of bondage or fetish accessories and excessively fishnet clothing all confirm the fact that Siouxsie is one of the biggest influences of all when it comes to Gothic fashion.
E- Edward Scissorhands
If Lydia Deetz or the Addams Ladies are perfect representations of gothic fashion in women's cinema, then Tim Burton's character Edward Scissorhands is undoubtedly among the top three for male characters. The film with the same name as the main character was released in 1990 and still remains one of Tim Burton's most beloved films. In addition to Johnny Depp's flawless interpretation of the character, Edward made history thanks to his unique physical appearance. No one can forget Edward's all-leather suit and boots, full of buckles for studs, as well as his teased hairstyle that is now an icon for Goths. Burton's character has inspired the high-end fashion collections, style of celebrities and A-list teens around the world, thanks to the director's concept, Depp's acting and the stylists who worked on the movie. On this point, Johnny Depp himself has a fairly dark side that he is not afraid to expose off stage as well. His dark hair and choice of subtle black eyeliner have become Depp trademarks.
F- Theda Bara
As we promised in the first part of our guide, we are going to take a closer look at the legendary silent film actress Theda Bara. Aside from her successful career in the silent film and entertainment industry of her time, Theda went down in history as one of the film world's first sex symbols. If Musidora had a vamp look, then Theda can definitely be considered the original vamp. She was born in 1885 and, until her death in 1955, became famous for her femme fatale roles in plays and films. What made Theda so influential in goth fashion was her striking charisma, enhanced by very dark makeup and smoky locks. Additionally, her roles as a vampire also reinforce this claim, as she quickly becomes known through her characters. Even in less mortal roles, like that of Cleopatra in 1917, Theda Bara always maintained the mysterious makeup that would pave the way for the gothic aesthetic decades later.
G- Wednesday Addams
Of course, Wednesday Addams would be on a list of goth influencers; she is quite possibly the youngest figure who has impacted gothic fashion at such a high level. Who can forget her amazing line - I'm going to stop wearing black when they make a darker color? This statement alone should make you realize how much Wednesday's character has influenced gothic clothing and style. Christina Ricci played the young female member of the Addams Family, who could always be seen preferably in all-black clothing, or with a spooky schoolgirl outfit accented with braided pigtails and a classic school uniform. Wednesday was just as influential as her mother, Morticia, when talking about gothic fashion; both had a strong expression of Gothic motifs, but in different ways. What they had in common, however, was their long black hair and pale complexions that made them both indisputably recognizable throughout the decades. Even today, Wednesday and Morticia continue to be some of the most influential figures in goth fashion that we know of.
Finnish actress Maila Nurmi (1922 - 2008) became famous for playing the very first horror host in television history, Vampira. Her idea of Vampira is heavily influenced by Morticia Addams herself, but with a more dramatic twist; Vampira reminds us of Gothabilly with her sharp, feminine pin-up appearance, with a super skinny waist and prominent cheekbones. Vampira's face is probably the most memorable: deep colored lips, black eyeliner, and very arched eyebrows with incredibly long nails are all part of the dominant and timeless vampire look that Maila's character left behind. in the history of cinema. Black, of course, is always a leitmotif, while its attitude also expresses great self-confidence and inspires attraction and admiration. The original Mistress of the Dark passed away in 2008, but her choice of beauty and fashion traits will always remain an inspiration for gothic fashion, for years to come.
I- Robert Smith
Leaving aside the fact that The Cure is a very influential rock band in its own right, singer and permanent member Robert Smith is undoubtedly a goth fashion icon. Who can ever forget his huge, teased hair that he adorned for the last decades of his life, even to this day? And what about her super smudged eyeshadow and lipstick that enhance her stage presence? Any Gothic will recognize Richard's contribution to menswear related to this subgenre. Robert Smith, along with other powerhouse artists like Siouxsie Sioux, took the outlandish punk look, combined it with dark accents and created the Gothic Punk substyle. Many indie rock bands – to this day – continue to be inspired by Richard's fashion choices and adapt them to their own style.
J- Helena Bonham Carter
Award-winning actress Helena Bonham Carter is certainly one of the most representative celebrities of gothic fashion. Besides the fact that Helena embodies many gothic roles, her personal style reflects the characteristics of gothic fashion and subculture. Elizabeth Frankenstein (Mary Shelley's Frankenstein), Marla Singer (Fight Club), Bellatrix Lestrange (Harry Potter series), Mrs. Lovett (Sweeny Todd), Red Queen (Alice in Wonderland) and Dr. Julia Hoffman (Dark Shadows) are just some of the gothic roles that Helena Bonham Carter has played impeccably during her career. With strong romantic gothic influences, Helena can often be seen wearing large, elaborate dresses and fancy fabrics like lace or silk. Almost every aspect of this actress, both on and off stage, is reminiscent of the goth subculture: from the way she wears makeup, to the way her hair is styled, to the way she dresses and even to his attitude. You can see why she's director Tim Burton's favorite for female characters.
Another character who had a major influence on gothic fashion is Elvira. Portrayed by Cassandra Peterson, Elvira is considered Vampira's descendant as the Mistress of the Dark. Cassandra's character has a striking appearance, enhanced by a tight black dress with a very deep neckline. Elvira was also known for her permanent "all black" look, with high heels, nail polish, eye shadow, long hair, and a wide belt with a dagger encrusted with a ruby. Even if the character is often presented in comedy scenes, in addition to those of horror, Elvira still remains today a true gothic icon who inspired this fashion.
L- Krysten Ritter (Jane - Breaking Bad; Jessica Jones)
in a world where an abundance of celebrities attempt to draw on gothic influences without having any substance or essence, every once in a while a figure comes along who masters it effortlessly. Actress Krysten Ritter, known for her roles in TV series like Marvel's Jessica Jones and Breaking Bad, has a gothic vibe that makes her glow with mystery and darkness without even trying too hard. She is considered one of the freshest recruits to the goth fashion scene, with her career recently exploding with her latest projects. Her role as Jane on Breaking Bad, in particular, did a great job of showcasing her naturally gothic features, like her big eyes or her onyx-colored hair. Although Krysten doesn't always go for the typical offbeat goth fashion outfits, you'll want to keep an eye on her to see how she develops her style in the years to come.
M- Lily Munster
Lily Munster stars as the head of the Munster family on the CBS show that bears their name. She is, of course, a vampire and has been played by several actresses in nearly half a century of performing: Yvonne De Carlo, Cynthia Adler, Lee Meriwether, Veronica Hamel, Ann Magnuson and Portia de Rossi. Nevertheless, the most memorable portrait remained the original one, that of Yvonne De Carlo. As Lily Munster's character is a vampire, it is natural that she would have a gothic influence when it comes to her beauty and fashion. Although Lily was not associated with black clothing, her dramatic makeup, very pale face and wine red lips inspired gothic beauty to this day. Nevertheless, one can clearly notice how the influences of history have influenced her character, with long medieval style dresses. Additionally, her long black hair with silver highlights became a staple for female vampire characters and gothic fashion as we know it today.
N- Taylor Momsen
When the world was really introduced to Taylor Momsen, through her character on the TV series Gossip Girl, no one thought that her sweet character Jennie would one day turn into a dark young woman. However, roles should not be mixed with reality; Taylor Momsen is a hardcore goth girl who isn't afraid to express herself, especially through music and live performances. His gothic style is most visible on stage during his concerts with The Pretty Reckless, as well as in his daily life. What makes Taylor so special among other young goth fashion influencers? She has a bold approach to gothic style, with a fetishistic influence of gothic fashion. She can often be seen wearing pieces like a huge platform, thigh-high boots, creepers, garters, corsets, and other highly visible intimate pieces. Her almost permanent dark makeup always reinforces the impact of her gothic outfits, as well as her features (blue eyes and long platinum blonde hair).
O- Evan Rachel Wood
Although she doesn't currently reflect her gothic fashion sense as much as before (in 2008, for example), Evan Rachel Wood is also one of the significant figures in gothic fashion who has this look naturally. Of course, it was to be expected that Marilyn Manson's former fiancée would have at least some goth influences. At the time when she sported dark hair, Evan Rachel Wood's style reminded us of Gothabilly and that dark, pin-up, retro image. She wore dark eyeliner to outline her light eyes, red lipstick that contrasted with her pale complexion, and her hair was often styled in a 1940s-50s style.
P- Tim Burton
Tim Burton is one of the most influential figures in gothic fashion, not through his personal style or a character he portrayed in a film, but through the characters he created for all of his films up until Today. A prolific director and screenwriter, Tim Burton has worked on an impressive number of films, all of which have received positive reviews from critics. But what makes his films so relevant to goth fashion? Well, they almost all have a gothic theme and all the characters wear sumptuous gothic clothing (romantic gothic style). Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, Bones, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland, Dark Shadows, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter or Frankenweenie are some of the Burton films that feature a wide range of gothic fashion pieces. Thanks to Tim Burton's films, actors like Johnny Depp or actresses like Helena Bonham Carter have become a source of inspiration for gothic fashion and all gothic substyles.