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The dark side of dressing

September 14, 2008|Emili Vesilind | Times Staff Writer

The shadowy mood that's possessing fashion this season doesn't end with black lipstick. Designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy for Rodarte, Stefano Pilati for Yves Saint Laurent, Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy and Gareth Pugh are among those who rolled out dark, Gothic-inspired looks for fall. And a handful of the world's most show-stopping designers -- including Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Olivier Theyskens -- never stray far from Gothic themes.

Some of their most dramatic creations are now on display at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York as part of "Gothic: Dark Glamour," the institute's first exhibition devoted to the style.

Running through Feb. 21, the spectacular show features more than 75 dark-and-lovely looks from designers including Rick Owens, Thierry Mugler, Anna Sui, Jean Paul Gaultier and Yohji Yamamoto, as well as historical pieces tracing the evolution of the dark side of dress, and how the color black went from a Victorian symbol of mourning to a symbol of seduction. Standouts include a darkly romantic red gown from Alexander McQueen with a sequined bodice and tiered feather bottom that fades to black, John Galliano's blood-red ball gown emblazoned with watch words of the French Revolution, and a flowing black, white and red Rodarte gown that was inspired by Japanese horror films.

But it's not all high fashion. Street goth style -- which bloomed in the early '80s and is all about mixing up vintage with new pieces from counterculture brands -- is also represented. Costumey clothes from under-the-radar labels such as Kambriel, Plastik Wrap and Morphius are featured in a display devoted to subcultural Gothic styles -- industrial, Victorian-style goth, old-school street goth, steam punk, cyber-goth and the doll-like Japanese Gothic Lolita look.

It's about time these inky styles stepped out of the shadows.

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emili.vesilind@latimes.com

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