Archive for skulls

Etsy Finds: Non-Lame Skulls Edition

Posted in Clothes, Culture, Decor, Etsy, Fashion, Jewelry with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2012 by vprime

As difficult as it may be to believe, skulls were once considered reminders of death and emblems against vanity and not just cutesy motifs for an Avril Lavigne-branded sweater. The image of the skull in art traditionally reminds the viewer of inevitable and impending mortality. These Memento Mori tell us, the viewers, that death comes for all. Seems like an incompatible thought to emblazon on disposable consumer goods, though to me, the trend of cute, quaint skulls smacks of our collective attempts to defang mortality. The cute skull is intended to say less to the viewer than it reveals about the wearer. It tells others that you consider yourself edgy or wish to appear mildly threatening without diverging too far from the mainstream of consumer values. Yes, I am including Ed Hardy here, as the rhinestone skull may be the worst offender when it comes to trivializing and kitschifying death. I’m also willing to acknowledge that kitsch is part of the humorous flip-side to Goth’s funereal overtones—“Bela Lugosi’s Dead” was recorded as a joke, after all—and the cute is often a necessary chaser to the morbid. However, I tend not to lean toward this aesthetic of cute skulls, candy witches and swirls of pink in my blacks. By the same token, I’m not about to go all Mortiis and armour myself in the darkest darkety dark of serious darkness. I prefer to walk a line that takes me near the abyss without setting up camp at the bottom. I’ve been thinking of this look as Classical Morbid. It’s part Trad Goth, part Corporate Goth. All that being said, the skull is still a compelling image that is a staple of Gothic fashion.  I’ve found some examples on Etsy that retain something of the heft of the Memento Mori.

Yes, I know what I just said about rhinestone skulls, but this jacket from Urbanhardware transcends the usual rhinestone skull in its wonderfully shaded and detailed execution. The closer the skull to the complexity of the anatomical image, the more visually interesting it becomes. The jacket’s use of velvet and lace are also an elegant touch. I love this sort of “Death is a Dandy” fashion.

Subtlety is key with the understated Goth look I’ve been pursuing lately. I have a tiny silver skull necklace very similar to this one by Etco. A tiny pendant like this can give a surprising flash of your morbid sensibilities without announcing itself too overtly.  Mine is on a fine silver ball-chain. I like wearing it with a quartz pendulum or a tiny silver wax-seal medallion.

This basic white stoneware skull made by Leigh Leigh Pottery would look great on top of a stack of leather-bound books. It’s a higher quality material that won’t remind you of styrofoam Halloween decorations. A basic ceramic figure such as this one also strikes me as less kitschy than a skull candleholder.

There’s no doubt, etchings are classy; just ask dead hottie, Albrecht Durer. This print, available from Tiger House Art, framed in an ornate black baroque frame, would make a great elegant Goth touch to any room. I have this print in my writing/sewing room.

I hope this has demonstrated a few ways to reclaim the skull from irrelevance, etcetera.

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Obsessions: Spared No Expense Edition

Posted in Culture, Fashion, Jewelry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2011 by vprime

To my dismay,  writing weird short stories  isn’t exactly the goldmine  I had once envisioned. So, when amazing  and beautiful items that range out of my modest budget catch my attention, they go into a fantasy file in my head reserved for what I’d buy if money were no expense. Here is a peek into that bundle of covetousness.

These heels look like 80s apocalypse punk exploded all over them. I’ve never seen anything by Gasoline Glamour in person. I might worry that the spikes would fall off, but then it looks like there’s just layers upon layers on these. You could probably shed a bit and never notice. Some might believe the natural mate for shoes like these would be fishnets, but I’d wear them with opaque black or magenta hose to keep it from looking too much like Road Warrior cosplay. Pavement Shoes at Gasoline Glamour.

Pavement Heels by Gasoline Glamour

I desperately want one of these to display on a shelf. I remember as a kid reading books on the paranormal and coming across stories of crystal skulls that screamed in the night. While the screaming bit would likely lose its appeal quite rapidly, a life-sized crystal skull certainly would add a touch of the macabre to Prime Manor–which is shamefully lacking in supervillain-style decor. Rock Crystal Skull at Skullis.com

Quartz Crystal Skull

I love the sort of tribal post-industrial slightly futuristic aesthetic of Dannijo’s jewelry. This necklace in particular seems perfect for lounging on your tauntaun skin rug while plotting something’s demise. The shades of violet, red and blue make this Zander necklace my favorite among Dannijo’s offerings, but there are many more gorgeous pieces on their site. Delicate jewelry is for the timid. Dannijo.

Zander Necklace by Dannijo

This excellent industrial keyboard is exactly what I need to class up my lair. Gears, battle-damaged metal, hex-nut shaped keys: yes please. Steampunk fails to move me because I hate the look of brass but hit me with some dirty steel and I swoon. Keyboards by Datamancer.

Industrial Keyboard by Datamancer

I hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of unnecessarily awesome things.

A Many-Splintered Thing

Posted in beauty, Books, Etsy, Jewelry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by vprime

I’ll refrain from the obvious Joy Division reference for this Valentine’s Day post. Instead I’ll just borrow a bad pun from Mr. Eldritch. Valentine’s day is an orgy of romantic stereotypes, waxy chocolates and unfelt sentiments. And substituting Lupercalia is already played out. Yeah, if I didn’t look at this holiday with a jaundiced eye, you’d worry. Sometimes I celebrate it, sometimes not, depending on how depleted I feel. I do have plans that I am looking forward to this year, but I’m equally satisfied by staying home and watching a movie. Nonetheless, I do have recommendations should you need dark offerings for that special someone you’ve been cyberstalking.

Hedonist Necklace by Bellalili

This necklace by Bellalili manages to be tough and refined at once. Bellalili’s items combine ornate metal forms with brilliant crystals. I would wear this with anything from a plain black v-neck shirt to a ruffled blouse. It’s big enough to be noticed without crying out for attention. I regularly spy lovelies in Bellalili’s Etsy shop that I admire. Visit Bellalili’s Etsy shop.

Tokyo Milk Tainted Love

Don’t touch me please I cannot stand the way you tease. Tokyo Milk’s Tainted Love has a little less Marc Almond and more vanilla, orchid, white tea and sandalwood. I have Tokyo Milk’s Dead Sexy and wear it often. I haven’t smelled this yet, but it sounds promising. Anything that combines sandalwood and tea is compelling to me. Vanilla is a tricky fragrance note. I can’t stand it in an overly sugary iteration. I’m not sure what has driven the rise of bath and body products that smell like cans of frosting, but that’s the sort of vanilla I avoid. As long as there’s something to dirty up the vanilla a bit, I’m willing to try it. If you haven’t yet smelled the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Snake Oil, do make sure to sniff this magical and delicious combination of vanilla and patchouli. My hope is that Tainted Love mixes a greenish sandalwood with the fresh tea note and the vanilla is warm and complex rather than sweet. I’d love to hear from anyone who’s tried Tainted Love and can describe it a bit.  Visit Tokyo Milk.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

“The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.”
– Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray. This new Penguin Classics hardcover has a gorgeous cover worthy of the decadent tale within. This black and white volume would look elegant on your shelf or table. Books are the best gifts ever, in my mind; and even better if the book is beautiful to look at. I am now reading Huysmans’ A Rebours which is the book that turns Dorian from a sweet boy into a lovely monster. To give your love an interesting reading experience, pair this with the highly underrated Dorian by Will Self.  Buy books at Amazon.com

That concludes my Valentine’s suggestions. No flowers, candy or stuffed animals. These gifts are appropriate whether the object of your desire is male, female or other.

Until next time.