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Create a Gothic look with smoky makeup

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The music group Siouxsie and the Banshees exhibited gothic fashions.
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Bitten by the Goth Trend? Deeper History Lessons Lie Behind That Haunting Makeup

Critics believe that the popularity of the Stephenie Meyer Twilight books and movies about Vampires have contributed to the recent resurgence of Gothic makeup and fashion styles. Many contemporary goths aim to create a Gothic look with smoky makeup, dark colors, period clothing such as corsets, lace, gowns, jackets and capes made of rich velvet and velour, unusual hairstyles or even body piercings and bondage accessories.

However, the term “Gothic” has been around for centuries, and few contemporary goths actually understand the true history of the term. Goth was the abbreviated name for the Germanic Visigoth tribes that overthrew the Roman Empire. These tribes were classified as uncivilized barbarians and pagans.

Medieval European architecture - castles, abbey's, cathedrals, and richly carved churches, later refereed to as Gothic architecture, became the setting for a new genre of literature known as the Gothic novel. The most famous Gothic novels include The Castle of Otranto, written by Horace Walpole in 1764 and Dracula authored by Bram Stoker 1897.

Gothic and metaphysical literature continued to grow in Europe during the late 1800's and 1900's with the popularity of poetry and literature by Shelly, Byron, and even Edgar Allen Poe. However, the horror films and early silent movies, so deeply associated with contemporary Gothic culture, did not arrive until the 1930's and 40's.

A contemporary Gothic subculture first took hold in the United Kingdom during the late 1970's and early 80's as an offshoot of the Punk culture. Journalist Libby Bulloff described the Gothic sub culture in the following way:

“Goth borrowed the anti-establishment do-it-yourself attitude from 1970s punk and post-punk culture, married it to the lush and forbidden hedonism of glam rock, and swirled in a liberal dose of Romantic fashion stolen gracefully from the Victorians.”

Of course, Gothic makeup was a primary feature of this late punk fashion movement. Over time, these Gothic custom makeup trends grew to gain recognition as a serious form of art. White foundation or base powder, deeply saturated, nearly black matte lips, noir lipsticks, dark eyeliner and cool eye shadows are just a few examples of Gothic makeup.  

The bold, dramatic, seductive and even hypnotic power achieved by artfully applying Gothic makeup is intended to mimic the appearance of legendary vampires and other creatures of fantasy who were rumored to avoid sunlight and thrive on a diet of human blood.

Over the centuries, the word “Gothic” evolved. The literary form of the Gothic novel took on new life in contemporary titles such as The Crow, Neil Gaiman's acclaimed graphic novel series The Sandman, and even in various Tim Burton films such as Beetle juice, Edward Scissorhands and Sleepy Hollow. Gothic undertones are even found in early punk and metal music such as Siouxsie and the Banshees, Black Sabbath and Joy Division.

Nowadays, it is very hard to define what the Gothic style is all about, as it has become so disconnected from its origins, and has gained an affiliation with punk rock and the glam lifestyle. However, the Gothic subculture is not simply about makeup or fashion. The timeless theme  of “goth” extends to literature, film, music, philosophy, architecture and art. 

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