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Chloé Delecolle 04.17.23

Death becomes us: the new fatal trend

Decodings

In the news, on the radio, on internet … the information is very (too) often negative. With the war in Ukraine and all the other global conflicts, one climate catastrophe after another, threats of new pandemics, declining fertility, and ageing populations, many people are saying our end is near.

Collapsology, a school of thought that since 2010 has predicted the imminent collapse of our civilization and planet, finally doesn’t seem so ridiculous. In Eastern philosophies and in Mexico, death doesn’t have a negative connotation. On the contrary, it’s considered a renewal (reincarnation) and even celebrated, for example on the Day of the Dead. So, instead of being defeatist and dramatizing death, many are able to take a positive outlook and laugh at a topic that was once so frightening and taboo.

Bit by bit, mentalities change. And obviously … new businesses are developing.

In Japan, Willife lets clients test coffins at home. The American startup Recompose offers an eco-friendly funeral service that composts bodies. Lonité transforms ashes into a diamond, while And Vinyly puts them in a vinyl record which can record a will, last words, and even a playlist. Celestis takes ashes for a ride in space (minimum cost $2,995); and Mark Sturkenboom can make them part of a sex toy … so loved ones will never be forgotten.

 

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Une publication partagée par Recompose (@recomposelife)

Internet is playing a role in how our relationship to death evolves. For example, on Facebook we can send digital prayers to departed friends by posting on their commemorative wall as a way to stay in touch. The Replika virtual reality app provides digital companionship with an avatar that becomes our friend and maybe even partner. Initially, the application created by Eugenia Kuyda helped her communicate with a virtual version of her best friend who had died. By recording his messages, tweets, and conversations, she developed an AI that shared the same memories, memes, tics, etc. as her friend.

 

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Une publication partagée par Replika (@replikaai)

This fascination for death and its slightly unhealthy side is found especially in series and other forms of entertainment.

After the excess of zombies thanks to the “The Walking Dead,” they’re making a big comeback on screens in “The Last of Us” series and Netflix’s “Army of the Dead” movie. We don’t need to remind you of the “Squid Game’s” success and the very violent consequences it created in school playgrounds. And yet, Netflix is now making it a reality television show. The filming, which began in January, has already caused numerous injuries and a lot of controversy. On YouTube as well, these topics are intensely popular. The Thread Horreur videos from Squeezie, the best known French YouTuber, tell scary stories, paranormal and otherwise, and are some of the most popular content on his channel.

 

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Une publication partagée par @xsqueezie

The Hellfest, a French music festival specializing in “extreme music,” along with rock and metal are all becoming more mainstream, and these musical genres, once considered satanic, are listened to more and more frequently. At the Grammy Awards, Sam Smith performed his “Unholy” song, playing the role of a devil straight from hell accompanied by servant-dancers. He was apparently so convincing as Lucifer that members of the American right wing party accused him of having enacted a satanic ritual. Finally, even Mylène Farmer will use gore visuals in her 2023 Nevermore concert tour.

These repulsive or frightening esthetics are, of course, inspiring fashion designers.

In 2021 Lil Nas X collaborated with MSCHF on the creation of Satan shoes, an exclusive design with soles that contained … human blood. Last May Balenciaga released its Paris Sneakers, torn tennis shoes that looked like they were covered in mud and graffiti and sold for €1,450. At the latest Comme des Garçons Hommes Plus show for FW23, the models wore metallic structures in their hair that were part bird cage and part strange torture device.

 

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Une publication partagée par Comme des Garçons (@commedesgarcons)

The topics of death or disgust are evidently predominant in the art world. In 2022, artist Anish Kapoor’s Venice exhibition included work using Vantablack. The blackest pigment ever invented is so dark it creates the impression of a total void. The show also featured his bloody, gut-like pieces.

 

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Une publication partagée par Anish Kapoor (@anish.kapoor)

In the beauty sector, the subject is still low key (and terrifying). But we still clearly remember the facial masks made from menstrual blood that got so much press in 2022.

Would you like to know more about upcoming trends? Contact Claudine Martin (cmartin@nellyrodi.com) to request a personalized presentation of our “10 Trends for 2023” report for your teams.

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