The 2020 fall/winter ready-to-wear collections for Fashion Week runways paraded looks that took cues from the antiquated mystery of gothic fashion and were imbued with the spirit of punk subversion. The phenomenal Cintra “the Dorothy Parker of the cyber age” Wilson once said that the contemporary goth style was inspired by the “Victorian cult of mourning.” Once upon a time goth was simply known as a uniform of striking black. In its evolution, pops of color and even a lack of black tones have tickled the imagination of its disciples. It expanded the horizon of visionary drama with the principal riot of velvets, lace, fishnets and leather framed with accessories such as corsets, gloves and jewelry echoing religion or the occult. The presentations of the fall/winter 2020 collections were also a show of rebellion. From fierce feminism to animal rights in fashion, haute couture is now taking a stand. Here’s a list of our favorite daring looks from the fall/winter Fashion Week 2020.
What else can you expect from Gucci’s fall/winter 2020 show called “The Ritual” but Alessandro Michelle’s signature playful reimagining of catholic opulence using surrealism? This pilgrim chic number is a blend of Marie Antoinette frills and babydoll corset harness. A little bit more on the nose is a navy coat that screams Jackie Kennedy meets nun fashion.
Valentino’s show is a love child of sheer and leather. The gilded eye makeup with tinges of gold and red paired with the sturdy flatform boots create a story of Edwardian punk. Asked to speak on the casting of trans models and curvier-than-usual models, Pierpaolo Piccioli said, “What I wanted to do was a portrait of a moment with no categories. Fashion has to record and embrace big changes in the world. We have to encourage tolerance and equality.”
For Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton takes from the Bible and the industrial revolution. The red swimming caps worn by models for the women’s collection are reinterpretations of 19th-century caps that go well with the Welsh warrior women silhouettes created by the structured shoulders the house is known for.
Andreas Kronthaler fall/winter collection for Vivienne Westwood is, oddly enough, an ode to the rites of spring. The sometimes tastefully torn garments had unlikely mixes of fabric and shapes which were accompanied by haunting vocals and ritualistic drum beats. There were shocking elements such as a garlic necklace and a dagger that came with Bella Hadid’s to-die-for white lace frock.
Strutting for Christian Siriano are Birds of Prey Harley Quinns with bright pink eyeshadow and little hearts drawn below the eye line. Chunky collars, tattoos and rainbow hues on slicked hair also nodded to Leto’s crown prince of Gotham. There were plenty of looks perfect for any aspiring villainess. Take your pick from the body-skimming stretch satin gowns or the sculptured dress with the wide-brimmed hat.
Sexy by Junya Watanabe is a cross between Debbie Harry punk and Robert Smith goth. Hugging a deconstructed ’80s prom dress of leather and tulle is a harness. The backcombed hair and the smudged lipstick complete the looks along with a peek-a-boo of an occasional leopard print stocking. While other houses turn to a different type of rebellion, Watanabe is proudly raising the flag of the look that became its language.
We would also like to highlight some honorable mentions. These two houses didn’t have gothic inspirations but certainly talked about a type of death and insurgence.
Neon signs of sentences like “Patriarchy = climate emergency.” and “Women raise the uprising.” adorn Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collection for Dior. Combat boots, pantsuits, and bandanas created strong lines that matched their new statement shirt which reads “I Say I.” It’s Chiuri going back to ’70s Diane Keaton.
In contrast to Dior’s serious approach, Stella McCartney brought (costumes of) barnyard animals and baby trees to relay her message. “We should all be carbon-neutral now” read the loot bags. Her collection was filled with caftans and jumpsuits which looked like flowing monoliths.
Today’s fashion industry is trying to lead conversations about sustainability and feminism. If goth is an obsession with decay, then the talking points here are about environmental degradation which we must stop and the impending obsoletion of the patriarchy which we must celebrate.