THE BRITISH LIBRARY

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11 November 2014

Cultures of the Dark Side: A day of Fashion and Music at the British Library

On Sunday we held a full-day of gothic inspired events at the Library, to tie in with our current exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination.

I went to two of the events - the first with Dave McKean and Andy Vella on 'the art of the gothic album sleeve' and the second called the 'new black: from subculture to high culture' with fashion historian Amber Jane Butchart, academics Dr Catherine Spooner and Royce Mahawatte, designer Nange Magro and fashion forecaster Geraldine Wharry.

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Image: Andy Vella and Dave McKean

Dave McKean and Andy Valla talked about their love of experimental, tactile design – playing with photographic processes, hand created fonts, drawings, paintings and collage. For example, Andy made his font for the Cure’s album sleeve using a cotton bud, some bleach and photographic paper. You can read a full write up here.

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Image: Audience for 'the art of the gothic album sleeve'

The second event hurtled through the history of goth and gothic-inspired fashion. Here’s a quick definition: ‘goth’ is a subculture from the 1980s onwards and is a collection of smaller subcultures e.g. Victoriana, lolita, hip hop gothic, steampunk and health gothic. Whereas 'gothic’ is a much broader term and embraces art, architecture, literature and film - think beauty in decay, vampires, ghosts, churches, graveyards, etc. Its influence spreads to fashion in many ways from dandyish portrayals of vampires to monastic tailoring trends in menswear.

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There was also a gothic-themed market and DJs.

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BL_Goth_9thNov14-1664Interior: Phoebe Richardson

In case you were wodnering what you'd wear to such an event, I thought I'd share with you some images of our lovely audience.

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 You could also follow the conversation on Twitter at #BLGothic. 

 All images taken by Luca Sage.

 

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