The goth subculture is a contemporary subculture found in many countries. It began in England during the early 1980s in the gothic rock scene, an offshoot of the post-punk genre. Notable post-punk groups that presaged that genre are Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and Bauhaus. The goth subculture has survived much longer than others of the same era, and has continued to diversify. Its imagery and cultural proclivities indicate influences from the 19th century Gothic literature along with horror films.
The goth subculture has associated tastes in music, aesthetics, and fashion. The music of the goth subculture encompasses a number of different styles, including gothic rock, industrial, deathrock, post-punk, darkwave, ethereal wave, and neoclassical. Styles of dress within the subculture range from deathrock, punk, and Victorian styles, or combinations of the above, most often with dark attire, makeup, and hair. The scene continues to draw interest from a large audience decades after its emergence. In Western Europe, there are large annual festivals, mainly in Germany.
ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT
The term "gothic rock" was coined in 1967 by music critic John Stickney to describe a meeting he had with Jim Morrison in a dimly lit wine-cellar which he called "the perfect room to honor the Gothic rock of the Doors". That same year, Velvet Underground with a track like "All Tomorrow's Parties", created a kind of "mesmerizing gothic-rock masterpiece" according to music historian Kurt Loder. In the late 1970s, the "gothic" adjective was used to describe the atmosphere of post-punk bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Magazine and Joy Division. In a live review about a Siouxsie and the Banshees' concert in July 1978, critic Nick Kent wrote that concerning their music, "parallels and comparisons can now be drawn with gothic rock architects like the Doors and, certainly, early Velvet Underground. In March 1979, in his review of Magazine's second album Secondhand Daylight, Kent noted that there was "a new austere sense of authority" in the music, with a "dank neo-Gothic sound". Later that year, the term was also used by Joy Division's manager, Tony Wilson on 15 September in an interview for the BBC TV programme's Something Else: Wilson described Joy Division as "gothic" compared to the pop mainstream, right before a live performance of the band. The term was later applied to "newer bands such as Bauhaus who had arrived in the wake of Joy Division and Siouxsie and the Banshees".Bauhaus's first single issued in 1979, "Bela Lugosi's Dead", is generally credited as the starting point of the gothic rock genre.
In 1979, Sounds described Joy Division as "Gothic" and "theatrical". In February 1980, Melody Maker qualified the same band as "masters of this Gothic gloom". Critic Jon Savage would later say that their singer Ian Curtis wrote "the definitive Northern Gothic statement". However, it was not until the early 1980s that gothic rock became a coherent music subgenre within post-punk, and that followers of these bands started to come together as a distinctly recognisable movement. They may have taken the "goth" mantle from a 1981 article published in UK rock weekly Sounds: "The face of Punk Gothique", written by Steve Keaton. In a text about the audience of UK Decay, Keaton asked: "Could this be the coming of Punk Gothique? With Bauhaus flying in on similar wings could it be the next big thing?". In July 1982, the opening of the Batcave in London's Soho provided a prominent meeting point for the emerging scene, which would be briefly labelled "positive punk" by the NME in a special issue with a front cover in early 1983. The term "Batcaver" was then used to describe old-school goths.
Bauhaus—Live in concert, 3 February 2006
Independent from the British scene, in the late 1970s and early 1980s in California, deathrock developed as a distinct branch of American punk rock, with acts such as Christian Death and 45 Grave. Another genre which had gothic rock's "dark, morbid, and otherworldly leanings" was horror punk, exemplified by the Misfits, a band formed in New Jersey in 1977.
The bands that defined and embraced the gothic rock genre included Bauhaus, early Adam and the Ants, The Birthday Party, Southern Death Cult, Specimen, Sex Gang Children, UK Decay, Virgin Prunes, Killing Joke and the later incarnations of The Damned. Near the peak of the scene in 1983, The Face's Paul Rambali recalled that there were "several strong Gothic characteristics" in the music of Joy Division. In 1984, Joy Division's bassist Peter Hook named Play Dead as one of their heirs:
If you listen to a band like Play Dead, who I really like, Joy Division played the same stuff that Play Dead are playing. They're similar.
By the mid-1980s, bands began proliferating and became increasingly popular, including The Sisters of Mercy, The Mission (known as The Mission UK in the U.S.), Alien Sex Fiend, The March Violets, Ausgang, Kommunity FK, Xmal Deutschland, Clan of Xymox, Dead Can Dance, This Mortal Coil, The Bolshoi, Fields of the Nephilim and Party Day. Record labels Factory, 4AD and Beggars Banquet released much of this music in Europe, while Cleopatra, among others, released the music in the U.S., where the subculture grew, especially in New York and Los Angeles, California, where many nightclubs featured "gothic/industrial" nights. The popularity of 4AD bands resulted in the creation of a similar U.S. label, Projekt, which produces what was colloquially termed ethereal wave, a subgenre of dark wave music.
The 1990s saw further growth for some '80s bands and the emergence of many new acts. "In the 90s, goths all but disappeared as dance music became the dominant youth cult." As a result, the goth "movement went underground and fractured into cyber goth, Christian goth, industrial goth, medieval goth and the latest subgenre, zombie goth." During this period, around the world "goth hit the mainstream" and "goth crossbred with electronica and heavy metal in the form of Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson." The 2000s saw a resurgence in the early positive punk and deathrock sound in reaction to aggrotech and futurepop, which had taken over many goth clubs.
Gothic fashion is a clothing style marked by conspicuously dark, mysterious, exotic, and complex features. It is worn by members of the goth subculture. A dark, sometimes morbid fashion and style of dress, typical gothic fashion includes a pale complexion with colored black hair, black lips and black clothes. Both male and female goths wear dark eyeliner and dark fingernail polish. Styles are often borrowed from the Punk fashion, Victorians and Elizabethans. Goth fashion is sometimes confused with heavy metal fashion and emo fashion.
Cintra Wilson declares that "The origins of contemporary goth style are found in the Victorian cult of mourning." Valerie Steele is an expert in the history of the style.
Goth fashion can be recognized by its stark black clothing. Ted Polhemus described goth fashion as a "profusion of black velvets, lace, fishnets and leather tinged with scarlet or purple, accessorized with tightly laced corsets, gloves, precarious stilettos and silver jewelry depicting religious or occult themes". Researcher Maxim W. Furek noted "Goth is a revolt against the slick fashions of the 1970s disco era and a protest against the colorful pastels and extravagance of the 1980s. Black hair, dark clothing and pale complexions provide the basic look of the Goth Dresser. One can paradoxically argue that the Goth look is one of deliberate overstatement as just a casual look at the heavy emphasis on dark flowing capes, ruffled cuffs, pale makeup and dyed hair demonstrate a modern-day version of late Victorian excess.
Nancy Kilpatrick's Goth Bible: A Compendium for the Darkly Inclined defines "poseur" for the goth scene as follows:"goth wannabes, usually young kids going through a goth phase who do not hold to goth sensibilities but want to be part of the goth crowd...". Kilpatrick calls poseur goths "Batbabies" whose clothing is bought at (mall store) Hot Topic with their parents' money
One female role model is Theda Bara, the 1910s femme fatale known for her dark eyeshadow. Musidora, Bela Lugosi, Bettie Page, Morticia Addams, Nico, David Bowie, Lux Interior, Dave Vanian, Robert Smith are also style icons. Siouxsie Sioux was particularly influential on the dress style of the Gothic rock scene; Paul Morley of NME described Siouxsie and the Banshees' 1980 gig at Futurama: "(Siouxsie was) modeling her newest outfit, the one that will influence how all the girls dress over the next few months. About half the girls at Leeds had used Sioux as a basis for their appearance, hair to ankle."
Bela Lugosi as Dracula
Robert Smith - musician
Vibeke Stene, the former female lead vocalist of Gothic metal band Tristania.
In 1977, Karl Lagerfeld hosted the Soirée Moratoire Noir party, specifying "tenue tragique noire absolument obligatoire" (black tragic dress absolutely required). The event included elements associated with leatherman style.
Goth fashion has a reciprocal relationship with the fashion world. In the later part of the first decade of the 21st century, designers such as Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, Ann Demeulemeester, Philipp Plein, Hedi Slimane, John Richmond, John Galliano, Olivier Theyskens and Yohji Yamamoto brought elements of goth to runways. This was described as "Haute Goth" by Cintra Wilson in the New York Times. Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana, Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix have also been associated with a gothic style. In Spring 2004, Riccardo Tisci, Jean Paul Gaultier, Raf Simons and Stefano Pilati dressed their models as "glamorous ghouls dressed in form-fitting suits and coal-tinted cocktail dresses". Swedish designer Helena Horstedt and jewelry artist Hanna Hedman also practice a goth aesthetic.
Gothic lolita, sometimes shortened to Gothloli (ゴスロリ gosu rori ?) in Japanese, is a combination of Gothic and lolita fashions. The fashion originated in the late 1990s in Harajuku.
Gothic lolita fashion is characterized by darker make-up and clothing. Red lipstick and smokey or neatly defined eyes, created using black eyeliner, are typical styles, although as with all lolita sub-styles the look remains fairly natural. Though Gothic make-up has been associated with a white-powdered face, this is usually considered poor taste within the (largely Japanese) lolita fashion scene.
Brands which exemplify the Gothic lolita style include Atelier-Pierrot, Atelier Boz, Black Peace Now, H. Naoto Blood and Moi-même-Moitié.
Aristocrat is a type of Japanese street fashion, championed by the visual kei rock musician Mana with his fashion label Moi-même-Moitié, and influenced by gothic and Neo-Victorian fashions.
sources & more at: