Georges Rech tail coat (£727 for suit), white shirt (£178) and stretch crepe skirt (£151), all by Georges Rech. Panne velvet top hat (£450) by Philip Treacy. Edwardian jet brooch (£135) from Beauty and the Beasts. Black leather gloves (£39.99) by Dents. Velvet Opaque de Luxe tights (£10.99) by Wolford. Leather buckle shoes (£230) by Sergio Rossi.
Looking through Giorgio Armani's A/W 2016 collection the other day I was reminded of this 1993 editorial from British Elle—something about the long lean black ensembles that veer more to the side of theatrical goth. It's all about a completely straight silhouette that is at the same time not at all clinical, mostly due to fabric choice (velvet, touches of lace) and embellishment (jet beading for Armani's new collection, piles of jet jewellery for this shoot). A look that is perfectly encapsulated by the editorial's tagline: "Streamlined Elegance, Pure Decadence". Photographed in Prague, the historic city is the ideal backdrop for this blend of romanticism and severity. While the stylistic opposite of what designers like Alessandro Michele at Gucci are currently pushing, there is something perhaps more refined and, in a way, more Italian about this streamlined elegant decadence—passion filtered through the austerity of the Roman Catholic Church and with an inward respect for history.
Claudia Mason photographed by Aldo Rossi for Elle UK, October 1993.
Wool dress and singlet, with gold brocade, to order, by Chloe.
Coat (£2,760) and dress (£840), both from a selection by Sonia Rykiel. Shawl (£190) by Sonia Rykiel Inscriptions. Suede evening shoes (£215) by Sergio Rossi.
Mohair dress (£495) by Ann Demeulemeester. Feather Admiral hat (£675) by Philip Treacy. Ash-handled umbrella (£110) from a selection by Swaine Adeney. Amethyst and sterling silver ring (£45) from Basia Zarzycka. Cornelian and marquiste ring (£145) from Beauty and the Beasts. Leather gloves (£39.99) by Dents. Patent leather shoes (from £239) by Sergio Rossi.
Stretch beaded body (£670) and fitted trumpet hem skirt (£545), both by Donna Karan. Jet necklaces all from a selection by Pellini and Eric Beamon.
Bordeaux jacket (from £690), long skirt (from £220), feather boa (from £195), top hat (from £159) and shoes (from £225), all from a selection by Dolce & Gabbana.
Velvet leopard-print reversible jacket (£975) by Norma Kamali. Multistrand jet choker (from £250) to order by Eric Beamon.
Cream jacket and skirt (£1,305 for suit), both by Gianfranco Ferre. Silk satin top hat (£400) by James Locke & Co. Three bowler hats (from £115 each), all by Herbert Johnson. Ostrich feather boa (£24.99) by Kersen Trimmings. Leather boots (from £215) by Sergio Rossi.
Silk satin dress with singlet (£1,600) by Giorgio Armani. silk roses (from £9.99 each) from a selection by Johnny Loves Rosie.
Silk tunic dress and long silk skirt (£689 for outfit), both by Alberta Ferretti. Jet earrings (from £28) from a selection by Pellini. Leather lace-up boots (£189) by Robert Clergerie.