In “Gothic: Dark Glamour,” primarily black designer ensembles are showcased in unexpected settings: a graveyard fence, a ruined castle, beneath a moon, in a haunted palace, in a Frankenstein-type laboratory and even in a coffin. Visitors can learn that an Alexander McQueen strapless evening dress was inspired by one of his ancestors who was executed during the Salem Witch Trials. One of John Galliano’s dresses for Christian Dior is imprinted with a quote from the Marquis de Sade, reading, “Is it not by murder that France is free today?”
Rodarte, Yohji Yamamoto, Hussein Chalayan, Gilles Deacon and Rick Owens are among the designers with pieces in the exhibition, which runs through Feb. 21. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator at The Museum at FIT, said, “Goth is very much a look that appeals to outsiders.”
Goth fans can explore the theme in depth Thursday night when a panel of experts joins Steele to discuss the subculture at the school’s Katie Murphy Amphitheatre. Other panelists include Fred Berger, photographer and creator of Propaganda magazine; Julia Bloodgood Borden, cultural anthropologist and Morbid Outlook magazine staff writer; Angel Butts, lecturer and doctoral candidate; Myke Hideous, artist and musician, and Evan Michelson, owner of Obscura Antiques and Oddities.
Passages from Margaret Atwood, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Bret Easton Ellis and others will be read in the museum gallery Nov. 6 as part of an event called “Contemporary Gothic: Poetry & Prose.” On Nov. 10, Steele will host a tour, talk and book signing. A Goth-based symposium will be held Feb. 13 and 14 at the Fashion Institute of Technology.