“Boys and girls of every age… Wouldn’t you like to see something strange?” Just stealing a line from The Nightmare Before Christmas there because… This week is HALLOWEEN! The sacred and holy day of makeup artists! I mean, if ever an occupation and a ridiculous holiday went together it’s us lot and a day that encourages painting up your face as any ludicrous character you fancy. Throw in my goth teenage years and fondness for anything slightly macabre and you have a recipe for a serious Halloween obsession!
In the run-up to this year’s spooky special day allow me to present you with Mascara Wars’ pick of the scariest, most sinister and all-out nightmarish fashion stories of recent years. You may even find your Halloween look inspiration in here, I know I have in the past (thank you Steven Klein)! Read on if you dare! Mwahahahaaaa!! Etc.
“Bewitched” Mert and Marcus – W, March 2015
Lucia Pieroni was at the makeup helm for this vast editorial, featuring otherworldly beauties such as model-of-the-moment Molly Blair in the creepiest of scenes, from candle-lit seances to a full-blown exorcism. The story that links the images together isn’t entirely clear, but the sense of foreboding is palpable!
“Institutional White” Steven Klein – Interview, March 2012
An all time fave and even an inspiration for a past Halloween look (I was Karolina Kurkova’s couture wearing sadistic nurse, natch), with Steven Klein being controversial as ever in this dark take on life inside a particularly sinister insane asylum, with haunting makeups by Mark Carrasquillo.
“Mechanical Dolls” Tim Walker – Vogue Italia, October 2011
Tim Walker is often thought of more for his fairytale aesthetic, but he’ll happily dabble spectacularly in the more macabre side of things as well. Val Garland created the makeup looks for the seriously unsettling living dolls in this Vogue Italia story.
“Circus Humanus” Aitken Jolly – Dansk, AW12
Your guess is as good as mine on the exact story behind this one, but the freak show elements, Sphinx cats, organ-like bandaged appendages and general air of foreboding combine to make one seriously creepy fashion story.
“Good Kate Bad Kate” Steven Klein – W, March 2012
Val Garland created the subtle yet somewhat unsettling, ghostly makeup for Miss Moss in this ode to the light and dark side in us all. I adore the tweaks that were made to the makeup design for the cover shots, effortlessly turning an unusual editorial look into a stunning beauty makeup.
“The Now Smash Of Style” Craig McDean – Vogue Italia, May 2009
Creative makeup genius Peter Philips was on hand for this gothic inspired story, throwing out a variety of dramatic makeup looks that settle somewhere between haunting, sad clowns and porcelain dolls.
“The Rose Bone” An Le – RE Magazine
Out of all the stories here, I seem to find An Le’s the most truly creepy, in it’s depiction of what seems to be a rather kinky yet very dark and sinister kind of soiree. The dramatic shot of one party-goer being dragged kicking and screaming to an unseen fate gave me all the “Rosemary’s Baby” feels. Shudder.
“Dreaming Of Another World” Tim Walker – Vogue Italia, March 2011
A romantic take on the Victorian ghost story, with makeup by Sam Bryant, features Guinevere Van Seenus as the solitary spectre haunting an abandoned stately home.
“Creepy Kids” Roma Pashkovskiy – NSS, November 2013
Not your standard editorial (in more ways than one), this story is the product of a collaboration between photographer Pashkovskiy, and designer and conceptual collage artist Dina Lynnyk. The result is a handful of top models from Daphne Groeneveld to Kelly Mittendorf re-imagined as kooky and fashion forward teenage zombies. Awesome!
“What Lies Beneath” Mert and Marcus – LOVE, AW11
The always flawless work of Lucia Pieroni graces this epic 46 page story from Mert and Marcus, featuring such favourites as Kristen McMenamy, in a story that drew controversy for it’s striking similarities to Jeff Bark’s “Woodpecker” series, yet expanded upon it to create a world that was romantic and dream-like, but somewhat perverse and threatening. Japanese rope bondage, ghostly deranged models, dalliances with swans and underwater car wrecks anyone?
“The Evolution of The Species” Ruven Afanador – Elle, November 2008
A Biology lesson may not seem that creepy, but throw in a bunch of skeletons, taxidermy, anatomical drawings, freaky death masks and a black-lipped model loving the Theory of Evolution just a tad too much and it’s a whole different story.
“Love Machine” Steven Klein – W, March 2015
Mark Carrasquillo beautified Lara Stone for this seriously sexy yet seriously off-kilter love story between a woman and her… man-made Frankenstein-esque robot sex machines. When Tinder doesn’t work out you have to keep your options open right?
“Gotico” Jean-Francois Campos – Flair, October 2008
I adore the perfect mix of horror, comedy and beauty in this highly dramatic story from Jean-Francois Campos. A woman terrorized by ghoulish creatures with the most graceful forms. Unlike any editorial I’ve seen before or since! If only I had my own trio of ballet dancing Uncle Fester types to flank me this October 31st…