How fine is the line between frightful and fabulous?

This month, two of our contributors go head-to-head to discuss the influences of all things monstrous and strange on style culture. Welcome to the world of ‘Horror Fashion’.

Trick:

Jodie Marsh and her tasteful ‘belt’ outfit. Christina Aguilera’s leather pants in the infamous ‘Dirty’ video. Marilyn Manson’s Gothic overkill. What were they thinking?

Let’s take you back to the 80s, the dawn of a beautiful love affair between horror and fashion, the emergence of Punk, all things studded, spiked and latex. This firm friendship was soon to be ruined through the development of a culture obsessed with shocking the masses and gaining attention by always reaching that one step further. The question begs, where do we draw the line?

Let’s get practical. In this fast-paced modern society its just not appropriate to run from lecture to lecture in a latex body suit or those infamous, super-high McQueen heels which reportedly were the cause of Lady Gaga’s severe leg swelling last year.

Stay true to your own individual style rather than being consumed by the need to be different. Keep your meat for your Sunday roast rather than adorning your body in it in a desperate attempt to be noticed!

Abby Robinson

Treat:

There’s nothing more frightening than the sedate and ordinary; British cities today are flooded with people who all sound and dress the same in one macrocosm of dullness. Last year I stumbled out of a metal concert covered in leather, fake blood and glitter, and continually envy my parents for growing up surrounded by artists like Judas Priest and Alice Cooper who took horror by the throat and encompassed it into every aesthetic they could.

The press scoff at Lady Gaga for her apparently crazed dress sense, yet how can her bold involvement in Thierry Mugler’s 2011 Autumn Show in Paris be heralded as anything other than fabulous?

Embracing the wonderment of individuality – all tight mesh, piercing eyes and slicked back hair – is the perfect mix of repulsion and attraction. Horror can be fear, and fear can be power, so why should we be boxed into one night a year to push our fashion experimentation to the limit?

I would prefer to be the one person to take it too far rather than fall into line with the countless clones. One of September’s most beautiful shoots was Karlie Kloss in W Magazine – Nick Knight photographing with painful elegance the sugary wigs and silky feathers paired with fierce black tulle and a hard stare, like a doll from a late 80s horror film.

Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection has had its own horror transfusion with chain-mail stockings, wire cages and faceless models. Halloween is for children, and reality is dark and messy, so why are we chastising those who show a little of that truth? Horror is more than darkness – it’s madness. And like all great artists considered mad, perhaps the future will look back at us and wonder why we did not encourage them more.

Isabel Davies

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