Sunday, 31 July 2016

Marchesa Casati - "I want to be a living work of art."

The Marchesa Luisa Casati (1881-1957) was Europe's most notorious celebrity. Her extravagant lifestyle, eccentric personality, and scandalous escapades captivated and inspired some of the most influential artists of her time. She was born into a life of luxury in 1881 and reportedly the richest and most eccentric Italian heiress, muse and patroness of the arts in the early 20th century.

As a teenager, she inherited an immense fortune that she later used to fund her transformation into a living work of art. In her ruined Venetian palace (the same that houses the Peggy Guggenheim Collection) she held legendary soirées, surrounding herself with artists and intellectuals, dabbling in the occult, wearing live snakes as jewellery and parading around the city with cheetahs on jewelled leashes. Her signature look consisted of eyes blackened with kohl, deathly pale face, and crimson-painted lips. * Apparently not only were 'her eyes heavily kohled but they were also sprinkled with deadly belladonna, which gave them quite an extraordinary sparkle'.

The Marchesa as Empress Elisabeth of Austria by Man Ray (1935)

Marchesa Casati in a fountain costume by Paul Poiret (1910s)

Marchesa Casati in Léon Bakst's Queen of the Night costume (1922)

Dior’s Spring/Summer 1998 haute couture show resembled one of the Marchesa’s extravagant masquerade balls. Set in the Opéra Garnier in Paris, where the Marchesa herself had attended many events, it reportedly cost $2 million to stage. John Galliano designed a romantic collection featuring fur-lined kimonos, veils, lace, and sleek, floor-length gowns heavily embellished with beads and fringe. One model wore a piece of armour covering the whole arm, evoking the Marchesa’s 1925 Cesare Borgia costume. “Although no longer with us, her life stays as a beacon and as a constant source of inspiration,” said Galliano. A decade later, he launched an eponymous perfume inspired by the Marchesa’s first Boldini portrait.

Accessed 31/7/16

Inspired by her eccentric style and unusual beauty designers such as John Galliano and Karl Lagerfeld play tribute in their Haute Couture collections as as well as the Marchesa style being channeled in high fashion editorials.

Georgina Chapman for Harpers Bazaar

Marisa Berenson dressed as the Marchesa for the Rothschild Ball, 1972.

Tilda Swinton as the Marchesa

Dramatic Black Eyes on the Dries Van Noten Runway March 2016.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Goth Subculture - 13th Chime Release The Bats

13th Chime
13th Chime, today

Formed on the outskirts of London in the early ’80s, 13th Chime—originally named Antix—were always drawn to gloom and morbidity. The walls of their apartment were painted black; there were Aleister Crowley paperbacks strewn about. Vocalist Michael Hand even worked as a coffin maker. “We did have a gothic feel even then, and on some of our early pictures and flyers there are coffins and similar themes running through the band,” says Hand. “Looking back, we must have been an early goth band without realizing.”
But unlike many of their peers—say, Killing Joke, or Siouxsie and the Banshees—the band remained mostly buried in the dusty mausoleum of obscurity. Their big break came decades after they disbanded, when Sacred Bones released their hard-to-find early 1980s singles in 2009. A “lost album” appeared on the group’s Bandcamp page shortly thereafter, and now, 35 years after they were born from the ashes of 1970s punk, 13th Chime has resurrected their distinctive sound with Noir—a proper continuation of what they left behind so long ago.

The first single “Witchtree Lane” is a song that rightfully preserves the recognizable 13th Chime sound of the early ’80s. Its corresponding music video, with its grey, grainy film and harsh strobe lights, embrace old-school goth aesthetics, with the band vanishing in and out of darkness. Full of primitive, pounding drums, raw, punchy guitar and Hand intoning, “The bats still fly down Witchtree Lane,” the song is ample evidence that the band is still at home in the shadows.

But for however effortless it sounds, 13th Chime’s return, and the subsequent release of Noir, was unexpected. “Reforming the band was a strange affair,” says Hand, “For a long time, I had no intention of getting the band back together. One day, the idea just came into my head, and all of a sudden we were back. Nothing was planned. I organized a meeting to practice at a local studio, and the date offered to us was Friday the 13th, so it just felt right.”

By uncovering skeleton demos of early Antix tracks from 1979 and 1980, the band found song structures that were ripe for reimagining. Many of those old demos found their way onto Noir, one of which was “Memories”—one of 13th Chime’s very first tracks that still reminds Hand of his youth. “‘Memories’ always reminds me of our first ever gig in our hometown of Haverhill Suffolk. It was typical of punk gigs at the time to include plenty of intoxication and violence. I remember bottles being thrown, the promoter lying unconscious on stage during our performance—thankfully, he survived. Our town had never seen anything like it. You could safely say it was total anarchy that night.”

There is a certain sense of nostalgia for the 1980s on the Internet evident on Tumblr pages, blogs and sites like Buzzfeed, and the fashion world has followed suit with the romanticization of goth and post-punk genre aesthetics turning up on runways and in big-glamour photo shoots. That revival has, in turn, shed some welcome light onto bands like 13th Chime. “Strangely enough, it has only been in the last year that we have come to realize the extent to which we are known [outside of the UK],” says Hand. “The growing interest in the band played a part in the decision to release Noir.” Hand embraces the ease and ability to share music—the band has released their entire discography on Bandcamp: “The internet has been a fantastic tool in keeping the post-punk movement going and reaching out to people all over the world. That has to be a good thing.”

13th Chime
13th Chime, from the cover of “Lost Album”

With their back-combed hair, blacked-out eyes and pointy-toed shoes, 13th Chime’s army of young fans are diligent in their dedication. “I’ve met many young people that have said to me they wish they were around in the ‘80s, that they missed out on a wonderful era,” says Hand. “The dark image and sounds of the original goth scene left a lasting impression and has stood the test of time—I don’t think it could ever be replicated again. What’s nice is to discover that the connection from the past to present day is held with much love and affection. I would like to think that today’s scene will be taken into the future and will be ever-growing.”
Despite the dismal and morbid themes of goth, its original punk spirit remains intact—and 13th Chime survived to prove it. Their comeback with Noir is the connection between the past and present, a promise of the enduring appeal of the dark tribe who feel most at home in the cavernous recesses of the night. The bats still fly.

Andi Harriman

Accessed:  20/7/16

More great reading by Andi Harriman can be found in Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace: The Worldwide Compendium of Postpunk and Goth in the 1980s [Andi Harriman, Marloes Bontje]. Available from

Take  a look at at the Fan page for - A photoblog with a collection of 1980s goths, wavers and (post)punk.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Goth Subculture - Deathrock and Post-Punk Mix! COFFINMAKER VOL. II

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Goth Subculture - A Gallery of 80’s Goth and Deathrock Culture


Back in the 80’s, before the the era of Hot Topic, or Cybergoth, The Batcave and Deathrock look was new—and more commonplace in North American and Europe. This was the era where hair was backcombed and sprayed with toxic amounts of Aquanet, and the outfits were DIY with leather, lace, and fishnets. Your music collection was a badge of honor within the liner notes of 12 inch LP’s and 45 rpms. Concerts were communion in a New Church smelling of clove cigarettes permeating the air along with the incantations of Pagan Love Songs.
Check out the various international photos courtesy of the Now This Is Gothic Tumblr, and pick up a copy of the book Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace by Andi Harriman and Marloes Bontje. 

Accessed 12/7/16 

Take  a look at at the Fan page for - A photoblog with a collection of 1980s goths, wavers and (post)punk.