As I close the side door of the cosy, bright pub behind me, I’m engulfed in darkness of a little cobbled passageway. I emerge into Gunthorpe Street and turn left towards Wentworth Street. Crossing Commercial Road I start walking faster, fighting an urge to look behind me. I walk past rows of dilapidated houses, their empty dark eyes staring at me. I can see dim lights in some of them but that only adds to the feeling of oppression and despair. There’s life teeming under the dark surface, life going on in these derelict houses yet I’m alone on in the street. Or am I? I think I can hear the sound of someone’s footsteps. I walk faster and after a short stretch of cobbled street, in a blink of an eye, I emerge back into 21st century. Did I go back in time? Only just over a decade. Where now you can’t move in Spitafields for hipster everything, a decade ago it was still a dark and desolated place. Victorian London.
Who isn’t fascinated by Victorian London? By Dicken’s Miss Havisham, living in a decaying manor, never taking her lace wedding dress off…By murders of Jack the Ripper, one of the greatest unsolved cases of all times. Victorian era seems to be that bleak yet fascinating time we take inspiration from over and over again.
This autumn catwalk followed suit. From Givenchy to McQueen, designers’ muse has darkness about her. She wears floor sweeping gowns and high neck blouses in black lace. Yet, she is modern. Dark but sexy and polished- think Eva Green in Penny Dreadful, high neck blouse but leather pants thrown into the mix.
Outfit you see on the photos was what I wore last Sunday. As winter draws closer and the Black Museum opens in London to the public for the very first time, I find myself embracing Victoriana trend. I don’t want to look like Queen Victoria though. I’m also not one for looking sexy so I skipped the sheer blouse (plenty of which you can find on the high street this season) throwing on my tweed, military inspired coat over lace top and leather trousers.
It was only much later, when I was about to move away from East London, that I found out I was living in the middle of Jack the Ripper’s roaming ground. Gunthorpe Street was where his first victim was found (the building has now been demolished). Old Spitafields, Hanbury Street, all these places I walked around at night, unease creeping down my spine. Still, I loved it. How could I not love finding this area on the steps of bright modern City of London. It’s all about Cereal Killer Cafe now (and other hipster places) but during that one year I felt like I’ve found an entrance to a bygone era.
Lace top by Jadzia Doroba
Tweed coat by Jadzia Doroba
Faux leather pants Zara
Ankle boots L K Bennet