Continuing the theme of consumption on the catwalk, I read that in the 18th century, TB was also sometimes regarded as vampirism. These folk beliefs originated from two observations: firstly, following the death from consumption of a family member, household contacts would lose their health slowly. This was attributed to the deeds of the recently deceased consumptive, who returned from the dead as a vampire to drain the life from the surviving relatives. Secondly, people who had TB exhibited symptoms similar to what people considered to be vampire traits, such as red, swollen eyes, sensitivity to bright light, pale skin, and a blood-producing cough. They "waste away" and "lose flesh" and at the same time remain active, and conserve a fierce will to live. This dichotomy of lust and "wasting away" was reflected in the vampires' desire for "food", which forced them to feed off living relatives, who, in turn, suffered a similar wasting away (Sledzik 1994).
Looking at the Roberto Cavalli show, with make up created by Pat McGrath, and also Rick Owens and Nina Ricci, it is clear that this is a theme that has not only invaded popular culture with the success of television recent series such as True Blood and the Vampire Diaries.
Roberto Cavelli as seen on Style.com
Nina Ricci as seen on WWD.com
Rick Owens as seen on Style.Com