June 2015 marks the 50th Anniversary of the UK release of Repulsion, the 1965 psychological horror film. Starring screen goddess Catherine Deneuve and directed by Roman Polanski, Repulsion was an instant classic. It would prove a major influence on the sub genre of psychological horror, taking its place among such greats as Psycho and The Shining.
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of one of the best psychological horror films ever, I re-watched Repulsion the other night. It was as good as I remember, but I had noticed some new things that added to my film-watching experience.
I love watching horror movies with visual style, particularly when it comes to the costuming. There’s something magical about a horrible, scary film where the characters are immaculately dressed in Yves St. Laurent or impeccable Victorian fashions. Of course, smart costuming isn’t just for show, as it’s another way for the film to communicate the themes of the film and give depth to the narrative.
Fashion and horror influence each other–as fashion draws inspiration from stories and film and as horror uses fashion and style to deliver its message. Designers such as Alexander McQueen, Jason Wu, and the Blondes have all been inspired by the macabre and the horrific. Tom Ford and Lanvin designs recently showed up in wonderful horror-inspired fashion film Tokyo Lost & Found starring model Jun. The Mulleavy sisters, working under their label Rodarte, contributed to the costume design in the film Black Swan.
I’ve never studied costuming and would count myself as a fashion novice, but I love to pay attention to particularly stylish movies and try to unpack the costume choices. Below I’ve picked some of my favorite “fashionable horror” movies and explained what I have taken away from each. Enjoy!