The skull as a Fashion Accessory

12/5 – Skulls and coffin handbags 

At the train station I initially recognised a woman who was wearing a handbag in the shape of a coffin, which did become an area of interest. Perhaps this particular accessory demonstrates how death has become a certain trend within the fashion industry. Jacque Lynn Foltlyn suggests that death has become a “commodity” within the 21st century, which also transofrms the skull into a “fashion icon”.

The bag appears quite similar to this particular brand within the image, although it is difficult to identify a specific brand. There are however many coffin handbags for sale on amazon and e bay. I also recognized a woman wearing a large black handbag with skulls along the side, which reminded me of Alexander McQueen.

Alexander McQueen

Brenda Polan and Roger Tredre explain that Alexander McQueen was a highly influential ‘fashion designer” who incorporated his own creativity with other popular or contemporary representations. McQueen merged his interests in death with his own style, which significantly influenced a mass audience. Polan and Tredre also argue that McQueen combines dark or gothic representations with nature and ‘beauty’. The death of one of the designer’s closest friend also provided McQueen with inspiration for his own work.

One could argue that McQueen’s designs suggests that the modern consumer is intrigued with representations of death, which will always be a popular or desirable trend. Rajini Vaidyanathan from the BBC News also highlight’s McQueen’s most popular and innovative designs, such as the scarf or the clutch ( Top Image), which have accumulated a mass market.

Foltlyn, Jacque Lynn. “To Die For: Skull Style and Corpse Chic in Fashion, Imagery and Branding.” Scan Journal 7 (2010).

Brenda Polan & Roger Tredre. The Great Fashion Designers New York: Berg, 2009

Vaidyanathan, Rajini. “Six Ways Alexander Mcqueen Changed Fashion.” BBC News,

Image Citations

2 responses to “The skull as a Fashion Accessory

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