I’ve come to the conclusion that I like my Halloween costumes like I like my movies: gorgeous and confusing. The sort of visuals that elicit a “that’s beautiful, but I…don’t…get…it” response, are, in this woman’s opinion, the very best kind of imagery. I don’t care if the plot is twisted and convoluted and the story is nonsensical if you’ve given me fantastic eye candy, and I think the same thing can be said about the fantastical garb that one might don to celebrate this most hallowed of holiday traditions.
If it looks good, who cares what it means?
In searching out jaw-droppingly eerie ensembles that not only make you feel like a stunning, one-of-a-kind creation, but which also instill a keen sense of awe and bewilderment and WTF?! in onlookers – what better inspiration can you channel than that of the runways and catwalks commandeered by avant-garde designers of haute couture?
See below for a handful of my freakish and fabulous favorites from seasons past….
I could probably fill an entire page with Gareth Pugh inspiration, but I’ll start with some of my favorites. Pugh’s Fall 2015 Ready To Wear collection immediately brought to mind CROSSED, Garth Ennis’s comic of an infectious pandemic in which victims are consumed by a pervasive bloodlust and rapidly devolve into homicidal maniacs (carriers of the virus are known as the “Crossed” due to a cross-like rash that appears on their faces.) It’s violent and terrible and bleak, and seems like pretty great Halloween inspiration on it’s own.
It kind of boggles my mind that Pugh’s Spring 2015 line up is a “Ready To Wear” collection. Do I misunderstand the meaning of “Ready To Wear”? On what planet is this ready to wear anywhere? I will add, however, that if this planet exists, I want a first class ticket there, because a world where a lady can’t walk down the street dressed like a paper mâché minotaur, a sack cloth scarecrow or a piñata from the deepest, darkest folklore, is not one wherein I wish to live. Despite my commentary to the contrary, Pugh has noted that he wanted this collection to be “… of the earth, rather than landed from a spaceship.” Huh!
Speaking of “…landed from a spaceship”, this particular piece looks like it came from planet Pyramid Head. GAH. I am really freaking myself out.
No doubt there are some who find Mongolian born designer Sheguang Hu’s S/S 2014 collection…challenging. With its spiked, metal wire face masks and fearsome demonic headdresses, he certainly has crafted exquisitely troubling sights to show us, sights that hint of emptiness, of pain and despair.
If this sounds familiar, perhaps you’ve reached the same conclusion as I have; this work is clearly a collaboration between Sheguang Hu and the Cenobites, who are the go-to experts on aesthetics both alluring and terrifying. Hu himself says of his “Sting” collection: “We need strong feelings even if it is piercing pain. The pain wakes us up from the numbness, forces to feel the taste of life again and pursue the lost dreams.”
To all puzzled queries from fearful costumed party-goers and trick-or-treaters – respond with “Save your tears. I’ll reap your sorrow slowly.”
GIVENCHY & MAISON MARGIELA
I adore these pale, ghostly ensembles from Givenchy and Maison Margiela. The fluttery dress and ornate lace on the left somehow recalls for me grim tales of elegant, courtly Japanese yūrei, and the bejeweled face-hugging mask on the right conjure up those ghastly nurses from Silent Hill, with their faces obscured behind swaths of tissue.
Lastly, if you’re going for batshit insanity, look no further than Alexander McQueen’s Fall 2009 ready to wear collection. If ever there was a sense of the inmates running the asylum*, it is to be found within the imagery of these painfully theatrical parodies of landmark 20th century fashions. Paired with those incredibly ridiculous blow-up doll lips, I just want to scream with laughter and delight every time I flip through the catwalk photos. And the more I look at the lips, the more I am reminded of in horror films, how someone on a downward mental slide (or perhaps they are possessed) begins to delicately apply lipstick and then maniacally starts scrawling all over their face?
Yeah, I want to imagine this going on backstage all the time. As a matter of fact, I highly suggest you break out that particular trick in the midst of cocktail party conversation!
Watch everyone’s faces. Tell me about it afterward.
*Please know that I am not poking fun of or making light of the mentally ill. I think you all know me much better than that. If there is mockery here, it is lighthearted and provoked by the craziness of the fashion industry and those nutty folks who are a part of it. All of which I kind of love, anyway.