Whether serving you satanic-chic, Carrie post-prom or rocking real earthworms as a statement piece, these gruesomely gorgeous collections are a real fright-fest
From Alexander McQueen’s graduate collection Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims, which took its cues from the East London serial killer, to Dilara Findikoglu’s SS18 ‘satanic orgy’, it goes without saying that fashion has had a longstanding fascination with the darkness.
Fitting neatly into that category are horror movies, which have been captivating audiences since 1896, when George Méliès Le Manoir du Diable was released. They’ve provided designers with no end of inspiration, and why wouldn’t they, when you take into account just how aesthetically spectacular many of the genre’s best efforts are?
Take cult vampire classic The Hunger, for example, in which David Bowie and an icy-cool Catherine Deneuve lurk in NY nightclubs wearing some absolute lewks, or Stanley Kubrick’s chilling, blood-soaked masterpiece The Shining, which sees Jack Nicholson wreak terror on wife Shelley Duvall in rural America while wearing a succession of AW18-worthy 70s knitwear and denim.
Now, given the best day of the year is upon us (don’t @ me), we delve into some of the best collections to come from of sofa marathons and late night screenings.
CALVIN KLEIN SS18 – ROSEMARY'S BABY, FRIDAY THE 13TH, CARRIE
We’ll be honest. This entire article probably could have solely consisted of Raf Simons’ collections, given the Belgian iconoclast’s long-standing proclivity for inserting subtle – and sometimes not-so-subtle – horror references into his designs. For SS18, at his second Calvin Klein show, Simons went all out, though. Serving up a succession of looks that took their cues from cult American fright-fests, models took to the runway in nightgown-esque dresses reminiscent of the one worn by Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby, rain slickers that looked like they’d been drenched in blood a la Carrie post-prom, and stiletto heels made in the image of Friday the 13th’s Jason Voorhees’ iconic hockey mask, as part of his ongoing effort to twist the idea of the American Dream on its head.
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN SS96 – THE HUNGER
Just a few years after presenting his Jack The Ripper Stalks His Victims collection (which, in a v macabre twist, featured locks of hair sewn into the linings of garments), and referencing Hitchcock’s The Birds as part of his SS95 offering, for SS96 Alexander McQueen drew inspiration from Tony Scott’s erotic horror movie The Hunger. Featuring both menswear and womenswear, models strutted ferociously down the runway wearing oversized shirts covered in bloody handprints, graffiti-covered body casts trimmed with tulle, and skin-tight diaphanous trousers and tops with slashed panels. The piece de resistance, though, was a moulded corset crafted from silicone, in which earthworms had been encased. Casual.
UNDERCOVER SS18 – THE SHINING
Jun Takahashi’s SS18 show starting out pretty ominous as it was, as models walked in pairs through the atmospheric, dimly lit venue, and an unsettling soundtrack rang through the space. Things took a further turn for the truly terrifying, though, when the prim, ladylike looks made way for a duo who bore a startling resemblance to horror’s most famous sisters: The Shining’s Grady twins. Dressed in almost identical copies of the pair’s iconic frilled blue dresses, jewelled hair slides and neat white socks, the girls made their way around the runway, as fashion editors presumably made a mental note to sleep with the lights on that night (just me?).
GARETH PUTH SS15 – THE WICKER MAN
Gareth Pugh’s designs have always been as challenging as they are beautiful – but then, what would you expect from someone who once called Rick Owens and Michele Lamy his mentors? For SS15, though, the designer amped things up with a collection inspired by the mysterious spirituality of Somerset monument Stonehenge, and 1973’s cult horror classic The Wicker Man, in which a policeman travels to a small island in the Outer Hebrides to investigate the disappearance of a local girl. In Pugh’s collection, this manifested as long, geometric dresses with face-obscuring hats, dresses bearing Pentagram embellishments, and a belted hessian dress, finished with an uber-creepy woven sack which the model wore over her head.