Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Goth will never die


The very word conjures up images of black, dark, heavy fabrics; pale skin; intentionally depressing music—it's a word associated with willful rebellion. Regardless of its roots in early Germanic tribes and Medieval architecture/design—or maybe because of them— the term has now become the ultimate static force in rebellion.

At the same time, Goth also connotes high glamour, Victorian elegance in a way that we don't normally indulge in today. Gothic fashion often involves full, flowing gowns, top hats, waistcoasts—elements long forgotten in most modern wardrobes.

It's not surprising that this combination of rebellion and style draws a steady stream of subculture participants.

But maybe it also pulls part of the mainstream culture, at least in an insincere, inauthentic way. Once a year, around Halloween, the whole world seems to get drawn into Goth culture a bit. And I fully expect it to be insulting to a movement that aligns itself with anti-commercialism and creativity over consumerism to find itself commercialized because of a cheesy holiday.

But nevertheless, I wanted to share these images from Pottery Barn.

I expect a little death in Halloween decorations ... but the tags are coffins that say "RIP" and the skull is literally being served up on a plate. Everything is slick and black, or in sequined, silvery relief. So over-the-top for a mall store. I was a little taken aback. It's all very Goth, both in the sense of being, dark, black, and rebellious ... and also in the sense of being high-glamour and bordering on Victorian.

But at the same time, it was so death-centric, it was a little disturbing.

As the toddler who entered the store as I was leaving said "It's Halloween. That's why it's decorated like death."

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