It's Summer the sun's shining people are going to the beach or just outside, to grab some rays and indulge in some good summer fun. But what is that black cloud drifting across sunlight? Will it destroy our day, like a motorcycle gang or ants? If it wasn't clear a couple of years ago, once the skull theme cropped up on battered Herman-Melville-meets-Edgar-Allan-Poe T-shirts, on pricey cashmere sweaters, or on the perforated uppers of the wingtips made by the men's wear line, it's now. What seemed trendy and clever has shifted into overdrive, if not overkill.
Beyond the sea of skull wear, ties, jewelry, T-shirts, leggings and more you will find even a line of kitchen gadgets, umbrellas swimsuits party lights. A company has created a skull toilet brush and caddy, using a molded-plastic femur bone to get a handle. Well, there you have it, with the entire power of the consumer advertising institution behind it, the skull has lost all of its outsider meaning that was fearsome. It's been the Face, after the mid-1980's to the Goth group the Ministry staged "Every Day Is Halloween," that wasn't quite what they had in mind.
Lots of people point to the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise as fuel for skullmania. However, the ascent into the emblem throne of the skull has more supporting it and to it than the usual Disney marketing effort. Reminiscent of the trend for angels remember the little creatures were? -- the skull encapsulates a moment in terms vague and precise.
It's also the product of forces that are powerful. The proliferation of skulls has paralleled the growth of this Hot Topic clothes chain. Punk studded wristbands, heavy-metal T-shirts and recently, lots and lots of skulls -- to suburban teens who would otherwise need to pay a visit to an urban clothing boutique for these goodies. Can now also buy more online.
"Have we brought skulls into the mall?" Said Cindy Levitt, the vice president for marketing. "Absolutely. However, skulls are a rock star. We have always had them. We see this as more of a fashion trend." However, Ms. Levitt agreed that the skull isn't what it was. "It is no more threatening," she said. "Anyone will put on a skull now."
Points up another aspect of the allure of the skull. Without specifying any one: the skull as style hedge cherished as an icon by rock genres, many meanings are communicated by it.
The skull is all-purpose, It simultaneously describes horror films, to the Misfits and, by extension, all punk rock, and to a cosmopolitan civilization of blackness and spookiness and the bigger, Goth culture. So, if you are really into Goth, but you've got friends that are into metal and punk, you can rock the skulls and be friends with them all.
Skulls have the most images of history, found in thousands of years of a logo integral and art to culture. Robert Rosenblum explained that the skull is fundamental to a genre of painting, which involves the skull as a reminder that death is everywhere, he explained, as a cutting edge to too much contentment with the here and now. Yet as customers the skull seems to offer a sort of antidote: one which belongs to no one, the unbrand. Then, what started as an outlaw anti-logo may be seen as the death rattle of an aesthetic.
The skull was one of the final frontiers, There is no way to make yourself edgy anymore.