Purim starts in a few days, and with it – the regular deliberations, which costume to choose? You can take it ‘easy’, like my 16-year-old son says, and out on a mask or a fake mustache, or you can go all out, because this is an opportunity to to be someone else and experience life from a different angle. I’m personally very attracted to such opportunities, as I told you before here, and in general, I’m someone who likes to go all out – in every aspect of life!
So, this year I took a cue from my ‘Gothic’ friend, designer Lia Speiser. After a coversation over coffee, between two friends who haven’t met in a while, it was clear to me that this year, my Purim experience will be Gothic. I decided not only to get in costume, but also organize a whole fashion shoot in the Gothic spirit, and try giving you inspiration and ideas for the holiday.
Look 1: Gothic Romantic
About Gothic culture
For most of us, this look seems scary and produces a ‘costume’ Purim feel, but for some people it’s a way of life and an everyday look. These people, the goths (I bet you’ve heard of them but not always sure what they’re about or where the culture came from), is a small percentage of the population which has always been considered different and underground.
How did it all start?
The founding fathers of Goth culture were German tribes who invaded the Roman empire in the beginning of modernity. The Gothic architecture, with its typical fear and darkness-inducing feel, developed in middle ages and was perceived, by the Renaissance people, as the art of uneducated barbarians. In the 19th century, the Gothic movement was revived, adored for its romantic and splendid buildings, which we enjoy to this day – some of the world’s most famous cathedrals are in Gothic style, like the Notre Dame de Paris, the Milanese cathedral and cathedrals in other European cities. At the same time, Gothic literature also blossomed, focusing on morbid topics like sickness and death. The Gothic music – the punk rock, emerged in the 70s and the 80s of the previous century, and was also all about morbidity – and it gave birth to the Gothic subculture we know today.
Look 2: Romance and Steampunk
The Gothic subculture is a cultural group attracted to a special type of music and fashion. The Gothic fashion is considered underground, and will probably always stay this way – it’s the base of its charm for anyone who embraces it. Under it, you may find a number of fashionable genres:
Gothic Romantic – lacy dresses and velvet, in black, dark red, poison-green and navy, with smoky eye make up, pale skin and dark lipstick.
Gothic Fairy – comes from a world of fairies and fantasy.
Cyber Goth – a slightly more radical style, in which participants prefer electronic music and wear black with neon. Dreadlocks, fishnets, vintage aviator glasses, furry leg warmers and platform shoes are part of it, but despite the colors – they’re still Goth!
Steampunk – from the Victorian era, a weird combination of ancient science fiction and fashion, with vintage accessories like guns, clock mechanisms and old machinery, plus combinations of brown with black, stripes and more minimal makeup.
Fetish Goth – a sexier version, with leather and skin-tight latex.
Emo Goth – arrives from 80s punk and features black skinny jeans, band Ts, black high-tops and hair falling on a face made up with black eye shadow. Plus, studded leather jackets!
There are other streams and frankly, there are no ‘real’ rules – people adopt the styles to their vision and in this photo shoot, you too can find combination of different Gothic inspirations.
Goth Festivals as Fashion Shows
The Gothic culture is very widespread in Europe and Germany especially, where numerous themes festivals attract big audiences of all ages, including whole families with kids and grandparents, all in Goth fashion! The participants bring along artistic costumes they made with extensive effort, bands perform, and the evens actually serve as fashion shows – photographers and fashion folks from all over the world attend. At the festivals, you may also find vendors selling Goth accessories. A big prominent festival is Luna Mara in August and Trappen in May, during which the whole city of Leipzig becomes a Gothic kingdom.
In Israel, the Goth community is way smaller, and it often meets at underground parties in South Tel Aviv and at concerts of bands from Europe and the U.S. The primary wardrobe color? Black, of course!
Look 3: Goth Fairy plus Bohemian and Victorian
Married and a mother of a 9 and 12 year old, in the past – designer and owner of a bridal boutique, in the present- interior designer. Lia is a unique individual, and her closet is always packed with what most people treat as ‘costumes’ – which doesn’t interfere with our lifelong friendship. These days, between kids and work, Lia creates the styles you can see here and “enjoys every minute”. Lia stresses that “despite the black clothes, which attract surprised looks, Goths are normative people that live normal lives and love Gothic music and black. Besides, being Goth doesn’t mean being sad, we can be very joyful, too!”, she says with a smile. “Sometimes I wear black, lace and velvet for work, but if I smile, I might as well be wearing horns”. And speaking of horns – the horns, flowers and other accessories in the photo shoot is Lia’s work, and she also did the styling. You can purchase the amazing accessories and clothes through her Instagram: @liaspeiser, as well as inquire about collaborations.
Tips for a Goth Costume
Got inspired and decided to go Goth this Purim? Here are some tips:
- Look for black clothes in your own closet – everything in the photo shoot came from Lia’s, but also, surprisingly, my own closet! And I thought I was the last person to be defined as ‘Goth’.
- Go to H&M or Zara and look for velvet, black, tulle and mesh items, they’re very trendy now!
- If you opt for tights – take a razor and cut the tights with it, to achieve the right look.
- Purchase cool colorful lenses online or at Freak Show in Dizengoff Center: www.freakshow.co.il.
- Buy rings with sculls and other accessories at another Center store, Music UFO.
- For unique accessories like horns and Gothic flowers, get in touch with Lia.
- And don’t forget the makeup, with dark red or black lips and a pale complexion – watch Youtube for inspiration!
And most importantly – go along with your fantasy and have a great time! Part of it is creating a fictional, amazing character, especially on Purim.
I hope you enjoyed this very special post – tell me what you thought in the comments!
A special thanks to: Lia Speiser for Styling
Eran Elster for Photography
Marom Tal for Makeup