Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Monday, July 8, 2013

Things In The Attic: The Return of The Supernatural in Fashion and Film

There's a new genre in town. Well, it's been around for a while, but for the past decade or so it's been relegated to the attic, shoved in an old family trunk with all the other forgotten genres and pushed to a dark, dusty corner. Then – and I'm not sure when but it seems to be fairly recently – somebody ventured up to this attic of forgotten genres, stumbled across the old trunk, and, with a shudder of horror but perhaps also of excitement, pulled out this old one. 

Immediately, they knew they'd found something thrilling. Something that would break the boredom of the modern public and send a shiver up their slumped-over spines. Something that would make them remember how entertaining cinema and literature once was, before stories about wedding party crashers and Vegas buck's nights dominated the big screens.

Yes, you guessed it, this person had found the ghost genre. Or, to put it in formal literary terms, the 'fantasy' genre.

And now it's showing its ghostly white face everywhere.

Always up for a dramatic entrance, Valentino's designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli chose 'the dark side' as the chic but chilling inspiration for their recent Fall Couture show. 

The official themes was "a cabinet of curiosities.” The unofficial was was 'The Lady in the Attic'. Only more glamorous. 

Think Miss Haversham meets Fifth Avenue. 

With black, black and more black as the distinctly dark palette, the show featured pieces that could have come from the closet of a grand old dowager living in a creaking old castle in Scotland. As the New York Times said, it was a collection that was "seemingly haunted by castle ghosts and pipe smoke".  

New York Times article (July 4, 2013) here – LINK

Two weeks ago, Trend Hunter did an article called Ghostly Fashion Shoots. "Eerie fashion spreads are continuing to become more relevant and mainstream in the modern age," the site explained. One of the examples was the Dominic Jones AW12 collection starring Downton Abbey actress Jessica Brown Findlay (image at very top). Many of the shoots are also very Havershamesque.

Many media outlets in the US are currently talking about The Conjuring, a new US movie out in cinemas this month that's directed by Australian James Wan. It's being billed as the most terrifying movie this year, if not this decade. 

Based on the real case of the Perron family who moved into a haunted house in Rhode Island, and the Warrens, the couple who tried to help them, it's a story where the truth really is eerier than fiction. The most chilling publicity has come from the family members themselves, especially mother Carolyn Perron who was deeply affected by the experience: "You could see them. You could smell them. The house was full of people who lived there who were not us..." 

With shades of Amityville Horror (there are links with that story), it looks like being just as much of a success as that was. Opening in the US and Australia mid-July, 2013.

Trailers below.
LINK HERE or here – 
Another trailer –

Australian director Warwick Thornton, who won a prize at Cannes for his film Samson and Delilah, has been collecting real-life ghost stories for his next project, The Darkside. His only requirement from those who submitted them was that these experiences had to have really happened to those who told them. The kicker is that these stories come from indigenous people, who are normally terrified of talking about the dead. Because of this, each of the stories will be re-told by well-known actors, including Bryan Brown, Deborah Mailman and Sasha Horler, rather than the indigenous narrators. 

Media has been reporting strange events happening on the set, so the film, due for release in 2013, will no doubt be a fairly spooky one.

In England, a startling number of people have been gripped to their TV screens, not for Wimbledon (although that too was gripping) but for The Returned (in French: Les Revenants), a French supernatural drama series that's currently showing on Channel 4. 

It has both the public and the media enthralled. Twitter errupted into a flurry of feedback after just the first episode. 

Some critics have dubbed it a 'zombie drama' but it doesn't have zombies. Not at all. Zombies hop along on one leg, dragging their rotting flesh along the ground and trying, usually with success, to stick their left eyeball back in. They don't have a vocabulary, unless you call arrggghhh a word. The ghosts of The Returned have full language skills.

This seems to be one worth watching.
A season 2 has been commissioned and is to air in 2014.


  1. Not sure what I thought of the Valentino but the work in those clothes wow> I have been looking at Andrew Gn collections at first sight

    Very interesting the new Thornton film, I'll watch Sasha Horler read a phone book, oh I suppose these days that should be website.

    As for Miss Havisham didnt Dickens base her on a Sydney woman? next project Janelle?

    hope all is well with you

  2. A most unholy post. And I mean that in the best possible way :-0


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