(Still) Back to Black: How Rihanna, Lorde, Siouxsie Do Goth in Spring - Rolling Stone
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(Still) Back to Black: How Rihanna, Lorde, Siouxsie Do Goth in Spring

It’s springtime in goth!


Rihanna attends Paris Fashion Week.

Francois Durand/Getty Images

Goth is not having a resurgence — like death and taxes, it’s never gone away. But its influence has been steadily showing up on pop stars for a good year, and with the increasing popularity of goth-inspired brands like Zana Bayne and Chromat, as well as stalwart goth labels like London Underground and Tripp NYC, it’s not likely to let up anytime soon. But even the prince of darkness is not impervious to global rotation, begging the question: What does a good goth wear in the heathen sunlight of springtime, when hiding in a basement is not an option? Take a cue from a few of our favorite goth-reminiscent pop stars, who have springtime goth down to a T.

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Rihanna is the highest profile of all the goth adopters, having donned plenty of black chokers and tagged her Instagrams with the hashtag #ghettogoth, a concept borrowed from the DJ Venus X’s culture-shifting Ghe20 Gothik parties. All winter she’s been showing up in floor-length fur coats and excellent furs — but what does a bad gyal do when the weather is warm? For Rihanna, the key is in paring down the layers, though that does not necessarily mean what you might think it means: bras make you sweat, so ditch ’em, and wear a shirt with ventilation, like the fishnet top she donned at the Balmain afterparty during Paris Fashion Week. Black absorbs sunlight, so the key to achieving a tenable temperature is paring down to the barest minimum of clothing. And if you doubted that goth inspiration is contagious, note this image of Drake who, ever since he started dating Rihanna, has been dressing  increasingly like the best vampire-human hybrid of all time, Blade. (Renesmee wishes she was Blade.) Goth: because don’t go out like Common.


A shining example of the more casually goth-inclined is Ella Yelich-O’Connor, better known as Lorde. She’s less on Rihanna’s industrial/rave spectrum and more in the zone of Victorian goth, at least in spirit, especially with that luxurious head of hair and its Kate Bush realness. Alternately, she’s also a study in dressing sensibly, insofar that she is always expertly tailored — if anyone can make a pantsuit look gothy, it’s this woman. And she knows that often, it’s how you subtly infer it rather than write it large: recall her captivating Grammys performance, in which she wore a spring-appropriate, sleeveless white button-down, and went darker in her beauty looks, namely the IMPECCABLE dip-dyed fingers, blackened and reminiscent of the bubonic plague. There’s NOTHING more Victorian goth than invoking the bubonic plague. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down — and you can wear black hands m*no matter the weather!

Siouxie Sioux

Of course, no one has done springtime goth better than OG scream queen Siouxsie Sioux, nor is anyone likely to best her, ever. She’s been doing her eyeliner like an ancient Egyptian udjat for 40 years and it’s never aged—a spell, perhaps? So, normally we’d not point you in Sioux’s direction for a SPRINGTIME look, per se, because everyone knows that it never gets warm in London and also her clothes have been designed by Pam Hogg since the beginning of time — Pam Hogg, as in, the woman who specializes in bodysuits made of leather, latex, and other non-breathable textiles that do not pair well with humidity or direct sunlight. HOWEVER, given that she has been doing this longer than anyone, we have to assume she’s mastered some tips for seasonal gothing. One key is being the prototypical anti-layerer, the type of person from which Riri takes cues: Siouxsie knows fashion dictums like “Macramé is clothing” and “T-shirts are breathable” and sometimes, if it’s REALLY hot, you just gotta get down to business and strip.The key to Siouxsie’s warm-weather looks really is in the fabrics — fishnet, lace, doilies, your mom’s plantholder, anything that allows for ventilation to the skin is doable in rising temperatures. Happy springtime, and remember: if all else fails, just become one with nature:


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