Dead Cool

Beauty turns morbid and gothic for autumn


Maybe it’s the looming recession, but this autumn we’ll be shedding our rosy cheeks and Ruby Woo lips of the past two years and adopting a dark, pagan take on pre-Raphaelite. We’re not talking about the healthy, glowing, ginger-haired beauty of a Rossetti painting. It’s more macabre and gothic than that. The London autumn/winter 2008 catwalks, from Mulberry to Paul Smith, were awash with pallid complexions, kohl-blackened eyes and almost mischievous, darkly smeared pouts. Johnny Depp and Helena BonhamCarter, as shot by Tim Burton, are the idols of this set, while Robert Smith is its rock royalty. Morbid beauty takes the focus away from skin, moving it to eyes, lips, nails and hair.

This winter, instead of highlights, bronzer, blush and bright colours, lids will be dark with inky black or sooty grey liner and lips will punctuate the face with garnet red. Nails will be short and deep blue, Rouge Noir or even matte black, and blush will be a distant memory. Perfumes will be heavily oriental, smoky and musky, like walking into an opium den. Prepare to wear your hair tousled and flyaway and your complexion wan; it’s a dark yet soft look, a bit wicked and a bit sad, and a fashionable way to mourn the passing of the sunny season and our economic prosperity.