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There was a sinister undercurrent in the London collections this season, with damsels in distress, dungeons, dragons and the odd skeleton creeping into many of the collections. “Fashion has been flirty, feminine and pretty for so long, it’s refreshing to be dark,” said Inacio Ribeiro, whose  Clements Ribeiro collection this season was inspired in part by the “Day of the Dead” and Wednesday Addams. “We had a great desire to be black and moody, verging on the sinister. It just felt right.” To wit, a skeleton dressed as a musketeer adorned one of the house’s black slip dresses, and models wore earrings with dangling clay skeletons, while one jacket featured a black skull wearing a white top hat.

Meanwhile, there were skeletons in Ashish’s closet, too. A full-size, multicolored skeleton design covered a black tracksuit, while smaller sequined versions sparkled on lavender sweatshirts. Basso & Brooke and Eley Kishimoto, both known for their thought-provoking prints, were inspired this season by Rapunzel in the tower. The former showed an image of orange flames licking at the ends of the princess’ hair on the back of a coatdress, while the latter used Rapunzel’s blonde curls  — and tears — as a motif for dresses and skirts. Camilla Staerk was also in a sinister mood, sending out prints of a black panther crawling through tangled leaves. “It’s my dark little universe, but not in a pessimistic way,” she said.

This story first appeared in the February 17, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.