Even as fashion insiders debate whether the skull shirt that IMG’s Fern Mallis and the skulls that Brown’s buyer Albert Morris wore to the recently concluded Lakmé Fashion Week was in keeping with the Jolly Roger or fashion world’s new found respect for Goth, the fact is that the one thing that is creeping onto the Indian runway this season is Goth.
This was much more than evident at the last show of this year, when Sabyasachi Mukherjee sent out his “Goth” collection for the grand finale of the Lakmé Fashion Week as crows took flight on an oversized plasma screen in the backdrop.
The collection though definitely not summer –he had faux furs for god’s sake– showed his Fall Winter pieces and paid more than just a passing tribute to the dark side.
What is in this season though is not the Gothic sub-culture of the ’70s and the ’80s that began in the UK with post-punk bands like Bauhaus and Siouxie and the Banshees (basically Marilyn Manson and Deeta Von Teese are out, that is if they ever were in), but instead the Victorian and romanticised Goths whose icon was the Count with a bloodlust and not Shah Rukh Khan or Abhishek Bachchan.
FYI, Goth apart, ‘lust’ has already become the most used and abused word in collection notes this season.
What’s in then is Victorian opulence – veils, corsets, elaborate sleeves, flouncy shirts, buckle boots and some good old shredding married to sometimes dark, sometimes erotic and passionate colours.
Think in terms of the Black bride that Manish Malhotra sent out on the runway at the Grand Finale of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week this August (Shahid Kapur just looked Plain Jane casual).
That’s probably why Wendell Roderick’s ode to the dark side and Halloween, also at the Lakmé Fashion Week where he sent out a black-white-and-red collection titled Les Vamps with models with headgear resembling Gary Oldmen’s weird do in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), got rave reviews.
That said, the Goth this season – at least on the runway – is not associated with smudged black eye make-up, the black nail polish and lips as dark as kohl, but married much more to a look that’s a far cry from the clean and natural look that everyone seems to be swearing by this summer as fashion goes de-glam.
Something that is sure to make most original Goths or the neo-converts who take themselves way too seriously, is that the look is no longer glaringly Goth.
So, the green miniskirts and the orange T-shirts that they predicted would be replaced with black T-shirts on Linking Road is not happening. They are just being paired with ‘spiked chokers, skull wristbands and chains’!
Anyway, back to the runway, Rocky S who is on his path to self-discovery this season (he’s discovering himself more seriously as a fashion and not Bollywood designer) sent out an all black and Goth-to-the core line for his couture collection titled Hell and Back.
Aki Narula, the designer who made a runway comeback this season with a show at the Blender’s Pride Fashion Tour, too swore by his all blacks (no, not the New Zealand rugby team silly) – something that is hardly surprising considering that the designer’s idea of perfect date wear is “black shirt, black skinny pants, black boots”.
This however is by no means the first season that Indian fashion has flirted with Goth. Manish Arora experimented with Goth in 2000. This season it was a rather repetitive Life is Beautiful collection for him.
In 2003, Rocky S showcased his Goth-inspired Street Vamp collection while in 2005 Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna paid ode to their dark alter egos. The result was models in morbid blue body suits to mimic the complexion of corpses – hardly surprising since Goths do have an abiding fascination with death among other things.
Meanwhile, motifs like the cross and wreaths have spilled on to Bollywood as well, though we doubt if the cross on SRK’s back in KANK classifies as Goth.
That is one explanation that can be given for fashion’s fascination for dark colours considering other designers are doing summery shades this season. But then Goth is about showing the middle finger to the standard norms and fashion forecasts isn’t it?