goth fashion

Red and Blue Velvet: Berlin

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Last summer my partner Lee and I spent six weeks in Europe: one week in Prague and five weeks in Berlin. Lee was on an official artist residency through a gallery called TACT and I was on an unofficial artist residency, beginning an impromptu performance series in photoautomat booths around the city. We stayed at a lovely AirBnB apartment in Friedrichshain, an area of former East Berlin that has rapidly gentrified.

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I spent a lot of time walking up and down Warschauer Straße, a long street that intersects with Karl Marx Allee, and includes Warschauer Brucke (Warschauer bridge). I would often go for early morning or late afternoon runs up Warschauer Straße, over Warschauer Brucke, and along the Berlin Wall. One evening, Lee and I stumbled upon a pop-up vintage shop on Warschauer Str., where everything in the store was 1€, 2€, or, at most, 5€. This store — not ostentatious, pretentious, or over-priced — was a residual reminder of ‘the golden age’ of post-1989 Berlin: when artists, writers, intellectuals, anarchists, and radicals flocked to Berlin in the early 1990s to realize their respective utopias.

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I purchased this long vintage dress for the shocking price of 2. I love the length of this dress — how it reaches down to the floor — and how it drapes over my shoulders. I’ve noticed a trend this summer towards off the shoulder tops, particularly the 1970s bohemian-style off the shoulder shirts. I am wearing a nude colored bandeau bra under this dress. My lipstick shade is the somewhat unfortunately named ‘Flat Out Fabulous’ by MAC. What I love about this lipstick and this dress is the eccentric mixing of shades of red and blue. Residing in the purple-pink spectrum, the lipstick is quite 80s/90s: a refreshing matte re-imagining of the lipstick shades that my mother wore when she was my age. The dress appears to be navy blue velvet (or black) in some lights, and purple red velvet in others: it soon becomes clear that there are two shades of velvet intermixed into a single dress.

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This necklace is a treasure I came upon at a thrift store in Vancouver. I keep it on a dress form in my apartment, as a piece of wearable decorative craft. I have no idea when or where this item originated: it appears to combine elements of Egyptian jewelry with 1960s flower power.

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Thanks for tuning in!  Until next time — Lauren ☾

Lauren Fournier is an artist and writer currently based in Toronto.
She is working on her PhD in feminist theory and performance art at York University.
http://www.laurenfournier.net

Photography credits: Lee Henderson (www.noattainment.com)

Cyberpunk and Bird Songs: Nineties-Inspired Jackets for Spring

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Without a doubt, my favorite seasons are autumn and spring. My constitution favors the moderate temperatures of these liminal states. I want nothing more than to go for a long, meandering walk through the city that I live in (currently Toronto, previously Vancouver and Regina) wearing a seasonably light jacket. At long last, I can shed the cocoon of my ankle-length ‘sleeping bag parka’ and salt-smeared winter boots of frigid months past, boldly emerging like a delirious butterfly beholding the first signs of spring. The birds are back, flittering sweet songs at my window. Final papers are being submitted as students make arrangements to occupy their summer months. I wander outside, wearing comfortable walking shoes and a jacket that fits me quite literally like a glove. I find a spot in the park to sit and read some science fiction, cyberpunk, and cyborg theory: Donna Haraway’s “The Cyborg Manifesto,” William Gibson’s “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” and Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Left Hand of Darkness.”

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The jacket featured here is in my Top 10 Best Value Village finds. I had been a frequent Value Village forager during my time living in Vancouver: my friend Melodie and I would go on regular day trips out to the suburbs (Burnaby, Surrey) and discover wonderful wares in the VVs there. Now, having recently moved to Toronto, I had not yet discovered the local VVs. On our way up to York, my friend Sally stopped by Value Village to find a Halloween costume for her daughter. I decided to join for a quick perusal. This streamlined, shiny black jacket caught my eye as soon as I entered the store. It looked glorious but tiny, and I had assumed it wouldn’t fit. I decided to give it a try anyway.

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Sally told me that I looked like I had walked straight out of The Matrix, which sealed the deal. I would definitely be buying this jacket. The tag signals that the jacket is from Le Chateau in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Made from PVC (polyvinylchorlide), which is a compound similar to rubber, this jacket fits like a glove — like a latex glove used toward kinky ends. I could definitely see this jacket moonlighting as bondage wear. Wearing it makes me feel like I’m a dominatrix-type character in a 1980s-1990s cyberpunk future, circa William Gibson’s Neuromancer.

LINK OF THE DAY: INCLUSIVE STYLE (http://nclsvstrtstyl.tumblr.com/)

Thanks for tuning in!  Until next time — Lauren ☾

 

Lauren Fournier is an artist and writer currently based in Toronto.
She is working on her PhD in feminist theory and performance art at York University.

Photography credits: Lee Henderson (www.noattainment.com)

Witchy Boots and Handpoked Tattoos

My mother always told me that shoes make or break an outfit. This was a rather traumatic realization for me, as I had stubbornly despised going shoe shopping from a young age and resisted my mother’s coaxing into this world that, according to the plots of rom-coms, all women were supposed to love. Shoes, chocolate, and wine — these are things that adult women are made of. I tend to spend more of my money on the latter two than I do on shoes, though I’ve grown to appreciate the pivotal role that shoes play in forming an outfit.

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While I am not a fetishist, connoisseur, or avid collector of shoes, I do have a soft spot for a really interesting boot. I found these Victorian-style lace-up heeled boots, which I lovingly call my “witch-ay boots,” at Chosen Vintage on Queen West in Toronto. The detailing on the leather is incredible. My favourite part of these boots is the dramatically pointed toe: wearing these makes me feel like I have supernatural powers.

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The “witchy boot” style works really well with 1990s-style dresses, both long and short. Here I am wearing mine with a long red paisley-patterned number from the nineties, recently gifted to me from my mother’s closet.  It’s pretty great when you get to wear your mom’s hand-me-downs!  The dress strikes that precious balance between loosely flowing and comfortably form-fitted: something I always look for in a dress.

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If you prefer wearing pants, witchy boots look great with a pair of high-waisted Levi’s jeans (for a vintage feel) or tight black pants (for a more contemporary feel). I suggest rolling up the bottoms of the jeans so that more of the boot can be seen.

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I’ve noticed that I’ve mentioned my mother a number of times in this post. Perhaps it is this perpetual mention of witches.  I am lucky enough to be very close with my mother, but there are certain points that we disagree on.  There are two things that I have to hide from my lovely Christian mother. One is my fascination with witches and paganism, and the other is my stick-and-poke tattoos.  Both of these things are taboo — especially in the context I was raised in.

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Stick and pokes have become quite the fashion trend.  Indeed, I just came across an article that has been making its way around Facebook: the article states that, if 2014 was the year for septum piercings, then 2015 is the year of the handpoked tattoo. My friend Eva, a Vancouver-based artist and stick-and-poke tattooer, gave me three handpoked tattoos: a crescent moon on my thigh, a female sign on the inside of my finger, and two hands on my shoulder (seen here).  Apparently I am not alone in my inherited shame complex, as Eva’s tumblr page can be found at “makeyrmomsad”.  I suggest you browse through Eva’s whimsical tattoo art — she travels up and down the west coast, so perhaps she’ll be in your area soon!

http://makeyrmomsad.tumblr.com/

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As a young woman and artist studying feminist theory and performance art, I am intrigued by the cultural weight that ‘witchery’ possesses (pun intended) in our society. In the worlds of both alternative and mainstream fashion, witchery is being taken up as a style — gothic pagan wave, for example, is my jam! In the awesome queer-feminist art circles that I frequent, witchery is being re-appropriated as a radical way of viewing ourselves in relation to nature, astrology, animals, and our bodies. I have found peace in my love of witchery. This Easter weekend I will be performing a femi-pagan piece with my friend Jen MacDonald entitled No Future Fertility Ritual at White House Studio Project in Kensington Market in Toronto.  Come by and check it out if you’re in the area!

 

Thanks for tuning in!  Until next time — Lauren ☾

 

Lauren Fournier is an artist and writer currently based in Toronto.
She is working on her PhD in feminist theory and performance art at York University.

Photography credits: Lee Henderson (www.noattainment.com)