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As the resident goth here at Frock Flicks HQ, I’m taking it upon myself during this Snark Week to point out how gothic fashion fits perfectly well in every period of time and specifically in every possible era of historical costume movie and TV show. That’s right, you can never go too dark or none more black! Forget the silly white dresses and prissy pastels, it’s all about blood red, deep purple, pitch black, dyed hair, and kohl liner, baby.
Ancient Times Gone Goth
Before the Goths sacked Rome, the ancients got their goth on. Egyptians have always known a thing or two about eyeliner, of course, and fashionable B.C. ladies didn’t just wear white (all those marbles were painted up, y’know).
Because Helen of Troy (2003) definitely needed a 1940s-style hair snood to launch 1,000 ships.
Noooooo! Decent sunblock won’t be invented for 2,000 years! (Legend of Hercules, 2014)
Oh honey, your roots are showing. (Rome, 2005)
The High Gothic Middle Ages
AKA the really Dark Ages! Sure, there’s gothic architecture, but we’re talking clothes too.
Bitchface & bangs in 9th-century pre-Christian Poland. (Army of Valhalla, 2003)
Girl on the far left is too cool for your courtly BS. (Le Rois Maudits, 2005)
Goddamn creatures of the night. They never learn. (Red Riding Hood, 2001)
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable, seem to me all the uses of this world! — Hamlet was so frickin’ gothic it hurts. But he’s not the only one. The 16th century was when “melancholy” first became a trendy malady of the affluent young types.
Just back from Hot Topic at the court of Suleiman the Magnificent c. 1520. (Muhtesem Yuzyil, 2011)
Look, da Vinci, you can keep your Abney Park CDs, steampunk is so lame. I’m going to the Skinny Puppy concert with Lenny Medici. He understands the darkness within me. (Da Vinci’s Demons, 2013)
What’s your safeword? (Day of Wrath, 2005)
Gothic in 17th Century
The era that movies forgot … or at least seem to think is the spookiest and most gothic of them all. The 17th century is full of witches, wizards, marauders, and madmen, all dressed in decadent awesomeness.
Are the spikes too much? Not enough? I can never tell. (The Lady of Csejte, 2015)
He tried to bum a clove. Now he’s my bitch. (The Girl King, 2015)
Goths in Trees, circa 1640. (The Musketeers, 2011)
When you’re Lucy Lawless, you can wear a purple furry stole in 17th-c. Salem, Massachusetts (2014).
I don’t care how many times you’ve seen NIN, if you step on my foot one more time in this mosh pit, so help me, I’m ripping out your ‘nads. (Salem, 2014)
The Gothic 18th Century
People think the Age of Enlightenment was all pastels and light frippery, but these dark decadent hotties can dance “catch the bat, release the bat” better than a minuet.
Tune in. Turn on. Burn out in the acid rain. (Sleepy Hollow, 1999)
So hardcore, she won’t chafe. (The Brotherhood of the Wolf, 2001)
Who needs a corset when we can see the boning right through your dress? (Plunkett & Macleane, 1999)
Black lipstick with white FTW! (Casanova, 1987)
Isn’t It Byronic – Gothic Romance
The origin of all gothic poetry and gothic novels, it’s the early 19th century, the time of Byron and Shelley and the Bronte Sisters.
I’m a homicidal maniac, they look just like everyone else. (The Count of Monte Cristo, 2002)
No-one understands me & my stringy hair like you do. (The Devil’s Violinist, 2013)
Life is not all lovely thorns and singing vultures, you know. (La Certosa di Parma, 2012)
Gothic Victorian Uber Alles!
And here’s where it gets good. Or bad. Or something. Even today, most goths are trying for a Victorian look, with varying degrees of success.
I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour, but heaven knows I’m miserable now. (Madame Bovary, 1991)
Pouty long-haired boy = gothic wet dream. (Madame Bovary, 2014)
Corsets as outerwear, totally a thing in the Old West. (Deadwood, 2004)
The pale look is always in. (Deadwood, 2004)
We’re so pretty … pretty vacant … (Desperate Romantics, 2009)
Who stone my black lipstick? (The Crimson Petal and the White, 2011)
Every goth girl loves a teeny-tiny hat bought on Etsy. (Affinity, 2008)
I’m all ready for Whitby Gothic Weekend, peeps. (Ripper Street, 2012)
John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe – we approve! (The Raven, 2012)
Sleeves are for poseurs. (Penny Dreadful, 2015)
Pimp daddy Dorian Grey is gonna get you fucked up on absinthe. (Penny Dreadful, 2015)
Step on my train, and I’ll cut a bitch. (Crimson Peak, 2015)
I’ll wear black until they find a darker color. (Crimson Peak, 2015)
Early 20th-Century Goth
Finally with Bauhaus and Siouxie and the Banshees a mere 50 years away, gothic fashion becomes mainstream. Sort of.
Gothic sexy stripper more than 1920s showgirl. (Chicago, 2002)
Babs channels The Crow, or something, in this supposed 1930s ensemble. (Funny Lady, 1975)
Are you committed to the gothic subculture, despite historical inaccuracies? How far will you go?