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Skull Fashion: Drop-Dead Gorgeous?


Taking their cue from bottles of arsenic, fashion designers around the world are going gaga for Mr. Skull and Crossbones, adorning everything from jeans to jewelry with his bony image.

"We shipped the first skull jacket out in October and it blew out of the stores," said Melissa Hodgson, president of Anoname, a company that sells denim embroidered jackets and jeans to Macy's stores around the country. "Macy's did a whole ad campaign featuring the skull."

While boho chic is out, death is very in. Fashion pioneer Sienna Miller has been seen accessorizing everything from jeans to dresses with a $450 Alexander McQueen skull-and-crossbones scarf, and Lohan made a killing at a December party wearing the same Thomas Wylde "Skull Row" scarf that Carmen Electra used to keep warm at Utah's Sundance Film Festival.

Lohan, Ashlee Simpson, Kate Moss, Mary-Kate Olsen, Nicky Hilton and Nicole Richie are also partial to the McQueen scarf Lohan has hers in three colors, according to In Touch Weekly.

"These girls are wearing [skulls] without the biker edge. The McQueen scarf is printed on really fine silk and comes in beautiful colors," said Life and Style magazine senior fashion writer Julie Ann Orsini, a fan of the Skeletor trend.

"I own a McQueen scarf. It's really pretty and feminine. It mixes elements of both hard and soft," she added.

The skeletal scarf is so in demand that Hodgson went out looking for one, only to find they were sold out.

"The only place I could find one was on eBay and people were bidding as much as $800 for it," she said.

Like McQueen, Dior's Spring 2006 line seemed inspired by the underworld. Morticia Addams-like dresses and $18,000 skull pendants captured the essence of this not-so-cheerful trend.

Novel items are also taking a turn toward the dark side. Pixiegirlshop.com sells cutesy skull hand towels by Kathy Steig, $15, some of which have heart-shaped eyes, as well as a glow-in-the-dark skull-and-crossbones dog T-shirt, $30, and a polka dot-and-skull iPod mini case, $25.

"The response [to skulls] has been amazing. I have been doing skulls for at least two years and there are more sales than ever," said designer Deborah Lindquist , who juxtaposes soft cashmere with the abrasive symbol.

"I'm getting calls from Florida, London, New Orleans. I've gotten over 10 calls in the past couple of days just because they showed my cashmere skull scarf, $150, in a magazine," she added.

While Lindquist is grim-reaping the benefits of this trend, she also acknowledges how some can be put off by it.

"When I went to Mexico and saw all these skull figurines, I thought they were creepy. I didn't plan on doing a line with skulls. It came to me after I saw Johnny Depp in "Pirates of the Carribean." I put them on sweaters and people just went crazy. It surprised me."

But not everyone finds the fun in graveyard chic.

"The whole style reminds me of those poison bottles from Looney Tunes. No matter how pretty or pink something is, if you stamp a skull on it, it's going to look demonic," said 18-year-old college freshman Melissa Skye, of Long Island, N.Y.

"I think Lindsay Lohan looks stupid. The only reason she is wearing this stuff is because it's new and expensive, but that doesn't make it attractive. The worst part about it is that people follow her, thinking it's cool to wear skulls, but they just look stupid also," Skye said..

But even the teen critic admits to admiring a dreary pair of jeans.

"I was walking in the mall with my friends and I saw cute pair of Citizen of Humanity jeans and they had skulls on the butt," she said. "I was thinking about trying them on, but my guy friend dissuaded me from purchasing them, because he said skulls are ugly and girls shouldn't wear skulls."