The Twilight Saga (though,
perhaps not single-handedly) has taken what was once a niche community
(vampire fans) and popularized it. Vampires are more accepted by and
present in mass culture than ever. Beyond literature and tv series,
teenagers have taken to vampire fashion. South Park’s season twelve
finale “Ungroundable” highlights the similarities and parodies gothic
fashion and vampire fashion: pale skin, dark hair, black clothing,
heavy eyeliner, corsets, fishnet, and the occasional black lipstick or
Websites, like Sanguinarious, allow teen vamps to share
information and give tips about coping with being a “real life
vampire,” and this article, Latest
Teen Fad: Vampire Teeth http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfmoms/detail?entry_id=68484 reveals
a teeth-sharpening phenomenon.
The only thing I find truly
surprising about this trend is that it is a trend--vampires have
stopped lurking among the shadows of fringe society. Before vampires
were ubiquitously popular and sparkly, the vampire trope has been
essential to the gothic subculture since the early 1970s. Whether it
was Bauhaus singing
about Bela Lugosi, Dave Vanian of The
on stage like Dracula, or young adults haunting clubs dressed like
characters from Anne Rice’s Vampire
vampire has been eternally present.
Steeped in the tradition of vampirism--from Dracula to
the Cullens--is a sense of nobility and consequentially, fashion.
While at the Fashion in Fiction conference at Drexel University this
month, I learned that Henry Irving, an English stage actor in the
Victorian era, tried on over thirty collars for the cape in the
costuming for his role as Dracula before he found the right one.
Since Bela Lugosi, vampire
films seem to attract artistic and fashionable persons, whether
gorgeous Glam Rocker David Bowie in The
or New Romantic Adam Ant in Love
However, I would argue the best dressed hunter is by far Buffy, of
Joss Whedon’s seven season television series Buffy
the Vampire Slayer.
She patrolled cemeteries, and dusted and beheaded vamps in the latest
boots, short skirts, mini dresses, and leather pants, all accompanied
by witty quips.
No doubt, vampires have transformed throughout the
years: Dracula with his velvet cape, infamous collar, and poet shirt;
the punky mullet-rocking vamps of Lost
bleach-blond bad boy Spike and the traumatized, trench coat clad Angel
of Buffy fame;
and now the white collar fashions of the Cullen family. The vampire
trends of today’s young adults borrow from all of this.
are a critic or a participant in the vampire craze, remember that it
is nothing new. Vampires have been creeping about for ages, though
only now can they been seen in sunlight.