When Lace Becomes Skin: The Serge Lutens Mystique

Please welcome two new guest bloggers to Coilhouse this week! Tomorrow, we have S. Elizabeth (who you may know as ghoulnexdoor on Tumblr) joining us for a fascinating look at Jane Quiet, Occult Detective. And today, we’re premiering a post from decadent fashion designer and long-time friend of Coilhouse, Kambriel. In addition to our two new guests, you will soon be treated to an account of San Francisco’s Edwardian Ball by Neil Girling, last seen on Coilhouse covering the Great Handcar Regatta of ’09. Without further ado, I give you Kambriel! – Nadya

“Beauty is the moment when you raise your head” – Serge Lutens

If there was one person who almost mystically inhabited the stylistic world of my own dream-mind starting in the mid-late ’80s, it would be the seemingly not-of-this-world French visionary, Serge Lutens. If you remember the eye-catchingly surreal and over-the-top, yet starkly minimalist graphics he created for Shiseido cosmetics in that era, they embodied a fantastical mystery taken to the extreme ideal. Sometime around 1989, Serge partnered with Shiseido to develop an eyeshadow trio entitled “Black Variations”. Packaged in a Zen-like, sleek black case, it was comprised of three shades. The colours in question? Black, black, and… black! The set was said to be inspired by lava – something that’s often inspired me in my own design work as well, with its ever-changing play of light, contrasting the depth of ultra-matte and sultry shimmering highlights – all translated into a language of divine and utter blackness.

Wizard of variations in black, Serge Lutens also is a master of conjuring extremes in vivid hues of whimsy, creating a world inhabited by willowy court jesters descended to visit us awhile from another universe:

For those with a spare $400-$600 burning a hole in your velvet-lined pocket, an oversized coffee table book of Serge’s photographic, surrealistic splendor is available here.

More images by Lutens, after the cut.