The Well-Dressed Wound: An excerpt from the new book about fashion, death and designer spirits

Photography by Andy Paradise/WireImage

When it comes to writing about horror and fashion, few authors can compare to the sinister stylings of Derek McCormack. The Toronto-based writer’s obsession with haunted beings has served him exceptionally with his latest project, The Well-Dressed Wound. Part play, part fashion show and part séance, McCormack’s creepy story is set during the Civil War, a time when a fictionalized Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln hold a séance to communicate with their deceased son. As they open up the gates of the spirit world, the Lincoln family finds themselves toe-to-toe with Satan—who emerges in the voguish form of Belgian designer Martin Margiela. Like most of McCormack’s work, The Well-Dressed Wound tackles sexuality and subversion in ways that aim to disturb the Status quo and bring forth scary and stylish imagery. Below is Act 3, Scene 3 of The Well-Dressed Wound, a snip of McCormack’s story where an unholy runway is conjured from the bounds of hell.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Margiela says. “I give you
the future of fashion—faggotry!”

Spirit. Spirit.
Spirits step from the spirit cabinet. They’re models.

They walk like models. They walk like they can’t walk.
They have white hoods over their heads.
The models stalk around the salon as the characters
stare at them. They carry cards. The cards bear numbers.
The numbers correspond to the looks that the models
are wearing.

It’s Margiela: The cards are blank.
The looks:

Outfit displayed:

Ball gown, painted white.

Pair of ankle boots, painted white.

Outfit displayed:
Dress, cut up the front and worn as a waistcoat.
Used pair of men’s jeans, painted white.
Pair of ankle boots, painted white.

Outfit displayed:
Coat cut from a dress, fitted by darts at the shoulder,
along the body and on the arms.

Ankle-length skirt based on the form of deconstructed
men’s trousers in light wool. The skirt is completed by
adding extra pieces of fabric in the same colour.

Pair of cuffed sleeves cut from a used man’s shirt,
fitted with ribbons so that they may be attached above
the elbow.

Pair of ankle boots, painted white.