Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gothic: Dark Glamour

The current exhibition Gothic: Dark Glamour at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, is a dedication to the strange history of the macabre and dark gloom of the gothic style. Over the years, the term gothic has been known to have negative connotations and symbol for the dark, mourning and the mischievous. The imagery of this new exhibit touches on the imagery of death and decay, and the erotic macabre that has often attracted many designers.

There are several collections of the exhibit that take you through different genres of dark glamour. The first is Night, it explores the symbolism of black. It has long been associated with death, evil, mystery and the Prince of Darkness.

The second is the Cabinet of Curiosities, which refers to wonder rooms or memory theaters of the Renaissance, a little world filled with collections such as natural history, religious reliquaries and art objects. One of my favorites is the human skull, it was often treasured as a memento mori, as a reminder that you must die.

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This pig skin tattooed top hat, created by Justin Smith can be seen, as well as this Bat Belt Buckle made of gunmetal with paste lent from the Collection of Mark Walsh Leslie Chin.

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The Strange Beauty collection is characterized by bizzare shapes and odd sources of imagery, such as this Rodarte evening dress inspired by Japanese horror movies. The designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte experimented with red dye and fabrics to resemble blood in water.

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Other parts include the Bat Cave, Mourning inspired fashions, the Haunted Palace inspired by the architectural metaphor of the disturbed mind that recalls Edgar Allen Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher." You can also see medieval inspired fashions in the Ruined Castle collection and corsetry, veiling and masking fashions surrounded by a graveyard fence in the Cemetery collection.

Gothic: Dark Glamour is on view through February 21, 2009. Additional programming includes the Goth Talk panel, a Gothic: Dark Glamor talk and booksigning as well as screenings of Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd and Corpse Bride.

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