Evil-torials: Horror Themes in High Fashion – Plastic Surgery

I’d like to kick off my inaugural guest post with what I hope to be the beginning of an ongoing series self-explanatorily titled “Evil-torials: Horror Themes in High Fashion”. Each installment will center around a different creepy focal point such as serial killers or hauntings. In the case of the former, you’ll likely be treated to accessory spreads which feature handbags in the “three month’s rent” price range nonchalantly resting against implements found in a masked maniac’s underground torture lair. The latter might showcase magazine scans of ghost girls clad in gauzy ensembles as they float from halls of abandoned mansions straight onto the pages of glossies. Long story short, probably lots of things shot by Steven Meisel and Tim Walker.

Today’s installment is devoted to the intersecting circle in the Venn diagram of horror and fashion: plastic surgery. Whether stitching together scraps of silk or suturing skin, a lot can be said for the propensity of cosmetic surgeons, slashers, and couturiers toward wielding sharp objects as a means of bringing their design to life. As a result, if I was asked to attribute the quote “Perfection can’t be attained without a little bloodshed” * to Karl Lagerfeld, Hannibal Lecter or Dr. 90210, my reply would consist of “All three”.

And on that note, it seems apt to compile a sampling of imagery that evokes mortification of flesh in the name of beauty.

“Makeover Madness”

Vogue Italia July 2005

Photographed by: Steven Meisel

With: Elise Crombez, Eugenia Volodina, Hana Soukupova, Inguna Butane, Jessica Stam, Julia Stegner, Linda Evangelista, Missy Rayder

Every so often, while reading fashion or beauty magazines I’ll come across an essay penned by a writer who bemoans that “normal rules don’t apply to supermodels”(nine times out of ten the article pertains to nutrition and the “rules” reference model metabolism). My typical response consists of a quick eyeroll, since I neither exalt nor envy these women for their prized physical attributes. However after viewing this Vogue spread, I felt inclined to agree with the “supermodels are special creatures” camp. After all, if making phonecalls straight from the operating table isn’t a tell-tale sign of superhuman abilities, than I don’t know what is.

Things to ponder: What cost more- the implants or the dress?


IV bag on a stand, a bandaged head and an evening gown do sound like the beginning stages of a really great Halloween costume. Just sayin’.




“La Panthère Ose”

Vogue Paris December 2010/January 2011

Photographed by: Tom Ford

Styling by: Carine Roitfeld

With: Crystal Renn


Anyone else feel the Hellraiser 2 vibe emanating from this image?


Fun Fact: Crystal Renn’s exaggerated “post-op” cheeks and lips are actually prosthetic.


“Fast Forward”

US Vogue August 2012

Photographed by: Steven Klein

Styling by: Phyllis Posnick

Hair: Paul Hanlon

Makeup: Linda Cantello

The accompanying article emphasizes the perceived irony of seeking “preventative” injectable fillers and facelifts at a young age, taking a stance against such practices by concluding that the recipients of the aforementioned procedures often end up looking older. And while it can debated ad infinitum whether “looking like you had obvious work done”, implies that you “needed it”, therefore unintentionally aging you, I’m just here to wax poetic about this shot. A departure from the classic “incision road map marked onto a model’s face” type of imagery we’re used to seeing alongside cosmetic enhancement-focused stories, the photograph depicts a woman holding her flayed face in her hands. Yet her exposed countenance reveals no grotesquely familiar siginifiers that would indicate that what we’re looking at is human, with no bloodied muscle, sinew nor bone in sight. Instead we’re treated to a plastic white visage. Immediately three words come to mind: human taxidermy form.

Full disclosure: I, for one, welcome the idea of interchangeable faces(which is NOT the point of this article in the slightest), but transcending the limitations of the “meat suit” happens to be something that I favor on multiple levels. Hurry up, cyberpunk future.


Model Jordan Almen finds herself on the receiving end of a tape facelift in “Pull Yourself Together”, photographed by Baard Lunde for Noi.se, an Australian publication.


Vogue Mexico October 2013

Photographed by: Jamie Nelson

With: Margarita Babina

Styling : Anna Katsanis

Makeup : Martin Schmid

Hairstyles : Lacy Redway

Manicure : Kelly B

Thanks to the heavy dosage of painkillers prescribed to numb her discomfort after a recent rhinoplasty, the model remained blissfully unaware of the metric ton of bling weighing down her neck.

*The quote was purely theoretical. But I’ll be damned if it doesn’t sound like a soundbite straight from any of those characters.

Until next time,


Vanity Kills


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