Gucci Fall/Winter 2018 Alessandro Michele Halloween Severed Head Model

Poltergeist, Gimps & Uncle Fester: Halloween is the most fashionable time of the year

Poltergeist, Gimps & Uncle Fester: Halloween is the most fashionable time of the year

by Eric Brain
14 min

Halloween Fashion Week. Could you imagine such a thing? Perhaps it already is; gone are the days of dressing up like a sexy cat or Casper the Ghost, in comes high-fashion interpretations of Clueless à la Kim Kardashian and North West, Paris Hilton’s custom couture latex Katy Perry-inspired look, TikTok creators dressing up as Shalom Harlow in the iconic Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 1999 robot spray painted dress, and Alexis Stone showing us the dark side to Diesel, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Balenciaga

October 31 is the most fashionable time of the year. Not just because of the aforementioned looks pulled off by countless celebrities, but because horror and fashion are intrinsically linked. Lee Alexander McQueen’s collections frequented themes of horror and gore: his 1992 debut Central Saint Martins MA graduation collection was inspired by Jack the Ripper, inserting a lock of his own hair into the garments as a nod to Victorian traditions. Fall/Winter 1998 “Joan,” inspired by Joan of Arc, saw models wear bald caps, blood-red lipstick, chain mail, and step into a ring of fire for the finale. 

Today’s designers, like Rick “Lord of Darkness” Owens, are also known to explore the dark side of fashion. The man, who might be the designer of our generation, produces dramatic smoke-filled displays that fog-screen models wearing sculptural black leather jackets, towering Kiss Boots, face veils, and other obscurities that warp the human figure. Alessandro Michele at Gucci turned heads, literally, when he presented his Fall/Winter 2018 collection that featured models carrying hyper-realistic copies of their own heads in their arms. Haider Ackermann Fall/Winter 2021 presented an ethereal Bella Hadid sans-eyebrows, while Gareth Pugh paid homage to Hannibal Lecter for his Fall/Winter 2016 collection, adding leather face masks that mauled models’ mouths. 

Fashion and the underworld go hand-in-hand. The Addams Family, specifically Morticia Addams, is a style icon that recently got Adele’s approval. The Shining twins’ dresses have become a Halloween staple. Catherine O’Hara’s portrayal as Delia Deetz in Beetlejuice is the perfect spooky Stepford Wife. We’ll even give it to Kathy Bates in Misery, whose twee librarian-esque cardigan-over-the-dress outfits evoked the kind of eerie suspense the film is packed with. 

Classic horror films and iconic fashion shows aside, the fashion community is darker than ever. Perhaps it’s the Dilara Fındıkoğlu Effect, who showed her Fall/Winter 2023 collection (and that iconic knife dress) in an freakishly-cold church in East London, that has changed the narrative. Moments like this have gone on to define a twisted undertone: Mowalola’s conjoined twins, Prada’s slime, and Amanda Lepore for Balenciaga SS24 are all examples of fashion finding its inner evil.
With all this in mind, it’s safe to say that Halloween Fashion Week is the spookiest fashun fest in the calendar. And here’s how you can add a slice of fashion to slay the competition this Halloween season.

VETEMENTS SS19 Oversized Runway Gimp Leather Mask Parka – £31,235 / $37,900
VETEMENTS Gimp Mask Leather Jacket Demna
BANKOFGRAILS ©

Demna’s tenure at VETEMENTS, the brand he co-founded with his brother (and now sole Creative Director) Guram Gvasalia, often played with dark motifs. Gothic heavy metal fonts, Oakley sunglasses covered in spikes, FW16’s “Total Fucking Darkness” MA1 bomber jacket, and of course this SS19 Oversized Runway Gimp Leather Mask Parka jacket, all deliver a subversive side to fashion. 

This particular piece stands out as one of the most sought-after VETEMENTS grails. If you’re looking to pull the biggest Halloween fashion stunt, look no further than this. Described as an “incredibly rare piece” by its seller BANKOFGRAILS, the jacket will make you the creepiest fashion ghoul around. 

Fittingly, the piece is made entirely of black leather, and features a zip-up gimp mask hood closure. Embellishments also have a dark undertone, from the ever-present QR code to buttons that emulate the emblem found on the Military Intelligence Department of Georgia’s logo – apt, seeing the Gvasalia brothers are Georgian. 

Shop here.

Raf Simons FW05 “History of My World” Poltergeist Parka – £6,600 / $8,000
Raf Simons AW05 FW05 Runway History of my World Poltergeist Parka
Justin Reed ©

If there’s one designer that knows his references, it’s Raf Simons. Now at Prada, his work has been displayed in a slime-filled room and has played on everything from the Uncanny Valley to mythical figures that clasped the SS24 Prada Milano Dal 1930 bag. But it was at his eponymous brand that his love for horror truly came to life. 

The trench silhouette is an essential in any horror film wardrobe. What else does your shovel-carrying, muddy boot-wearing serial killer down a dirt track you should not have gone down wear? Raf knows this, adding graphic patches and prints that highlight haunted Poltergeist locations, The Cure tour dates, and references to John Cage, Robert Smith, Peter De Potter, and lyrics. 

We all know that Poltergeist was one of the scariest psychological films ever made, and now you can wear it thanks to this legendary archive piece from Raf Simons. Find it on Justin Reed. 

Shop here.

Rick Owens FW23 “LUXOR” Slim Drella Cape – £2,570 / $3,640
Rick Owens FW23 Luxor Cape Coat Black
Rick Owens ©

The “Lord of Darkness,” otherwise more commonly known as Rick Owens, is a master of the underworld. His work is entrenched in spooky-ooky codes, which makes selecting just one piece of his FW23 “LUXOR” collection to spotlight in Culted’s ode to Halloween fashion finds incredibly challenging. However, we think we’ve found just the thing. 

Who doesn’t love a cape? What’s more, this cape will be able to provide you with all the Dracula vibes you’ll need on October 31, while also fitting into your yearly outerwear rotation. 

Head over to Rick Owens to pick the hauntingly stylish piece. 

Shop here.

Balenciaga Winter 23 Unity Sports Icon Inflatable Zip-Up Hoodie – £2,450 / $2,950
Demna Balenciaga Winter 23 Runway Show Inflatable Hoodie
Balenciaga ©

It’s giving Uncle Fester goes to the Balenciaga Winter 23 runway show. From the collection that was said to be gimmickless, comes this ironically Halloween-ready hoodie. Before inflating it, the hoodie is just that – a hoodie – but after, once blown up, the garment grows bulbous shoulders, cowling the neck, chest, and shoulders in Hunchback of Notre Dame realness. 

Like the Rick cape above, Balenciaga’s Unity Sports Icon Inflatable Zip-Up Hoodie is destined to be worn by the most avant-garde of fashionistas this Halloween, while remaining a staple in one’s wardrobe. There’s only one downside: it only comes in navy or white. 

Shop here.

Han Kjøbenhavn Tendon Sharp Jacket – £818 / $992
Han Kjøbenhavn Gimp Jacket
Han Kjøbenhavn ©

You heard it here first: gimps are in. 

For those who don’t have tens of thousands to drop on a VETEMENTS archive grail, Han Kjøbenhavn’s Tendon Sharp Jacket has you covered for a fraction of the price. Like the VETEMENTS item, it too is made from black leather, and it also features an incorporated hooded gimp mask. 

Fetish is a core component in the horror film recipe – it’s the very reason why many horror films play on sex as a subverted nod to taboo. Submissiveness is the viewer in the horror film relationship, as is voyeurism and obscurity. So dressing up as a high-fashion gimp might not be a stretch too far this Halloween. 

Shop here.

AVAVAV Finger Ankle Boots – £1,485 / $1,485
Beate Karlsson AVAVAV Finger Boots
AVAVAV ©

Beate Karlsson’s AVAVAV is a fashion brand that knows how to poke at the industry, have fun with it, not take itself too seriously, and still serve a killer look. Point in case: the AVAVAV SS24 runway show, or these Finger Ankle Boots. 

Loved by any quirky TikTok fashion content creator, the boots feature finger appliqués extending beyond the toe of the shoe, a mid-height heel, and a little zipper (shaped like the finger-toes) to help you slip these beauties on. 

Shop here.

Naomi Gilon Small Metal Effect Ceramic Bag – £520 / $646
APOC Store ©

By now your look is sorted, but where are you going to store the fake blood and fangs? Inside your Naomi Gilon Small Metal Effect Ceramic Bag. 

The handmade accessory is made from enamelled stoneware, and is a complete one-of-a-kind. It features ghoulish hands that creep around the body of the bag, kitted with a set of nails that certainly need a mani. 

Shop here.

Heaven by Marc Jacobs Frank the Bunny Hat – £165 / $150
Heaven by Marc Jacobs Donnie Darko Frank Hat
Heaven by Marc Jacobs ©

Heaven by Marc Jacobs is rife with references, consistently delivering capsule collections that capture the cultural zeitgeist. One of its most recent drops was made in association with Donnie Darko, of which the Frank the Bunny Hat seen here belongs.

Frank the Rabbit, often referred to as just Frank in the film, is an integral part of the movie. His presence is both human and supernatural, and the hat can give you the same otherworldly look. 

The ears are adjustable, providing elongated length that goes beyond your average fluffy rabbit ears. It’s also grey, emulating the deathly hue of Frank himself. 

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Ottolinger Diamond Dip Clip Earring Blood Orange – £280 / $339
Ottolinger Earring
Ottolinger ©

With blood in its name, these Ottolinger Diamond Dip Clip Earrings are a given this Halloween. The jewellery statement is made by hand-dipping rhinestone diamonds in rubber paint, which gives the central stone a light-fracturing tint. 

They’re subtle, but powerful, making them the perfect pair of earrings to clip on for that final Halloween outfit flair, or for rocking any other gruelling day of the week. 

Shop here.

Gucci Rosary Necklace, Tom Ford, Fall/Winter 2002 – POA
Tom Ford Era Gucci Fall Winter 2002 FW02 Rosary Necklace
BYRONESQUE ©

If you haven’t heard of BYRONESQUE, get to know it, because it has some of the best contemporary vintage and archival designer goods in its possession. One of those items is this Tom Ford-era Gucci Rosary Necklace, as worn in numerous looks during the Fall/Winter 2002 runway show.

This one is for the devout fashion it-person who knows their Gucci history. Ford’s tenure is one of the House’s most coveted (particularly at the moment with our ever-growing Y2K obsession), and this necklace is one of Ford’s most recognisable pieces.

The coveted number is found in a brown and black-mixed colourway, and is extra long, allowing you to layer the beaded necklace multiple times around your neck. It features a large wooden cross, Bayonet closure with tassel detail, and metal beads. 

It opened the show in Look One, and now you can close the night in style with this piece of fashion history. 

Shop here.

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