Wednesday, September 26, 2012

On the Radar -- Victorian Macabre

Robert Downey Jr as Sherlock Holmes
Ok, so RDJ is not the trend.  (However, any reason I can find to talk about him is fine by me.  As any of you who know us are well aware, we Blackbird girls are his biggest fans...)  But he did kind of inadvertently start this trend rolling again with the Sherlock Holmes movie franchise.  Not only was the occult-ish, dark storylines riveting, the design of the sets, clothing, and the views of London were super inspiring. And hey, the bare-knuckle boxing scene wasn't too shabby, either! 

Victorian design, especially the darker, macabre side, never really seems to go away.  We just keep reinventing and rediscovering it.  The fascination with the cycle of life and death, as well as the fabrics and embellishments that are representative of the Victorian time period made a reappearance in this year's fall fashion shows.  Designers seemed to be fascinated with the idea of a delicate darkness.  The macabre was lightened by a slight sense of whimsy.

Marchesa skeletal bodysuit, Harper's Bazaar October 2012
Alexander McQueen knuckle clutch, Fall 2012

Needlepoint, embroidery, feathers, trims, gold -- you name it, they did it.  But with a lighter hand.  Alexander McQueen (RIP, dear sir...) was the master of the mysterious, and Sarah Burton continued his legacy this season with knuckle clutches.  These small purses have a Victorian sensibility with a modern, rocker edge.  Other designers went with the elaborate and grand -- but with a defter touch in the design than what has been done in the past.  The designs left room to breathe; again, the idea of delicate darkness.

Ralph Lauren, Fall 2012

Lace is also a big influence.  But we'll talk more about that in a few weeks...

Salvaltore Ferragamo dress, Fall 2012

And, as I always say, try vintage pieces to keep up with the trends -- it's usually one of a kind!  One of the more delicate Victorian ideas is hair jewelry.  Hair jewelry was either made for romantic reasons, mourning, or as "memento mori", wearable reminders that we all will leave this world one day.  These pieces are beautiful, and decidedly original.  Here's a lovely example, a braided hair ring,  from a vintage shop on Etsy, Mag Wildwoods Closet.

From Mag Wildwoods Closet on Etsy


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