Support Frock Flicks with a small donation! During Snark Week and beyond, we’d be grateful for small, one-time contributions via PayPal or monthly pledges via Patreon to offset the costs of running this site. You can even buy our T-shirts and swag. Think of this like supporting public broadcasting, but you get more swearing and no tax deductions!
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).
The High Gothic Middle Ages
AKA the really Dark Ages! Sure, there’s gothic architecture, but we’re talking clothes too.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Early 20th-Century Goth
Finally with Bauhaus and Siouxie and the Banshees a mere 50 years away, gothic fashion becomes mainstream. Sort of.
Are you committed to the gothic subculture, despite historical inaccuracies? How far will you go?
You put Smiths lyrics on Madame Bovary.
I love you all *cries happily*
I’d still wear all of this just because reasons :D
Of course! Me too! (well, I’m still on the fence about Da Vinci’s Demons….)
Oh, but you did not include the gothic eye candy that was Mina Harker’s, “Vampire Bride” gown in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. That dress was the stuff of my Kindergoth dreams.
I know! I debated, but I used the Crimson Peak dress bec. it’s newer & less seen — didn’t want 2 red late Victorian gowns. SO much to choose from :)
Despite the shady accuracy, I want every single thing Monica Bellucci wears in Brotherhood Of The Wolf. Every. Single. Thing.
Yeah, her wardrobe is pretty amaze-balls…
You had to have dug in some pretty obscure places to unearth some of those nuggets. For me “Salem” was a mixed bag, because I enjoyed the story, but as a 17th-century reenactor, it was sometimes like nails on a blackboard.
Michael, I totally understand. I am also a reenactor in both the SCA and in the historical pirate community. I also live on Long Island, so every time I see the hot mess that is TURN I want to scream and throw things at my TV. Between the heaving cleavage, lack of pine trees in the pine barrens, and playing fast and loose with the actual story of Abraham Woodhull I just cannot contain myself.
SCA — been there, done that back in the day when kings could be convicted murderers. Can you imagine the angst in the BAR? Montgomery made Salem for me; she so obviously relished the part.
Salem makes my teeth itch — I love the costumes from a goth aesthetic but historically they’re wack. The story & acting are sometimes gloriously campy but not consistently so. Lucy Lawless was a great addition, but I can’t stand any of the male actors.
You mean ladies didn’t wear evening gowns during the day in the late 17th century?
I will never un-see the purple stole. OMG. My eyes, they hurt.
I actually think the Goth thing works for “Crimson Peak.” It’s a strange movie, but pretty to look at.
Crimson Peak is the prettiest thing on screen in ages!
I feel like I should know this, but where is the top image from in this post? (The lady in black with the tri-corn hat).
Brotherhood of the Wolf, 2001 — gorgeously costumed! fantasy-historical story!
Wow! Thank you! It looks like I may not have seen this, so I’ll have to watch it to be sure. :)
Missfic a fascinating movie based on a true story.
Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Prince of Thieves – Black Leather and Black Fur, grommets and multiple belts – it was so Hot Topic but Alan sold it and made us love him even though he was the bad guy. Gothic Camp for the Win!
Girl from 9 century Poland – it’s “Stara Baśń” – “The Old Fairytale” – łosie adaptation of 19 century novel by Kraszewski
Noooo don’t snark on Deadwood! Deadwood’s my bae! D: