Get Your Steampunk On!

August 4, 2012

Steampunk fans create their own fashion designs, an adventurous pastiche of neo-Victorian, Edwardian and military style accented with sometimes crudely mechanized accouterments like brass goggles and wings made from pulleys, harnesses and clockwork pendant necklaces, not to mention the odd ray gun dangling at the hip. Steampunk style is corseted, built on a scaffolding of bustles, crinoline petticoats and parasols & high-arced sleeves, often made with leather.

At the fall Alameda Point Vintage Fashion Faire, Steampunk lovers will be able to shop for accessories and clothing and show off their own creations on September 14th and 15th. I’m excited to assemble my own fashion creation as hostess of this event.

Comic Con just wrapped and the Steampunk set was in full throttle. Esteemed novelists as panelists such as Gail Carriger (The Parasol Protectorate Series) who attended our last Vintage Fashion Faire, were on hand to discuss their research but also discussed their originality in descriptions of Steampunk attire. After all, the Victorians didn’t have walking, talking robots but such an invention wouldn’t be out of place in a Steampunk book or show. Retro-futuristic technology, however, isn’t the only thing Steampunk has up its sleeve ~ when asked what drew them to it in the first place, more than one panelist said “the clothing.” Steampunk isn’t just about comic books, novels, and webseries.  It is also a style many women (and also men) like to sport.

Allow me to share some pointers about Steampunk’s Victorian-inspired style:

1. Steampunk Equals Originality .

Key features include goggles, facial hair for guys (sometimes artistic mustachios), and corsets for women. Dressing up is a big part of Steampunk’s appeal for creators and fans alike.  One of the reasons we chose this as a theme for the fall Vintage Fashion Faire as a style for our costume contest is it allows a new way to do costuming where one doesn’t have to necessarily dress up as somebody else’s character. It’s about creating your own character and your own world.

2. Looking good is cinched up with a corset.

Many corset experts agree that corsets can be more comfortable than a bra. The trick is to get one that fits correctly ~ it shouldn’t prevent you from breathing or sitting. Don’t wrap the laces around your waist, which damages the corset.

Everyone knows that corsets are also sexy. You can feel beautiful in Steampunk clothing. In the authentic Victorian era, women “were second-class citizens” but the Steampunk aspect of it allows women to be powerful & strong.  While most Victorian women didn’t get the opportunity to be scientists or world travelers, women in Steampunk garb can imagine a world where they could do those things while still embracing the beauty of the Victorian aesthetic.

3. Use bold accessories to add authenticity to your ensemble.

Steampunk enthusiasts can add Victorian verisimilitude with reticules, bowler/top hats, and exaggerated eyewear such as goggles.  Celebrate the genre’s fusion of past, present, and future by putting high-tech information devices (iPads, iPhones) in Victorian-like cases.

4. Get Steampunk flavor with wares at The Alameda Point Vintage Fashion Faire and Antiques Faire!

The Steampunk subculture is gaining in mainstream popularity, in large part due to the appeal of its aesthetic. The Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies are an example of mainstream Steampunk style. Disney has started incorporating steampunk into its merchandise (fans have followed suit with their own Disney steampunk art). Steampunk jewelry and accessories are popular on Etsy and Pinterest, and the movement shares stylistic elements with the work of designers like Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga’s Nicolas Ghesquiere. Even Prada has come out with a men’s line featuring the dashing Gary Oldman and Willem Dafoe in their ad campaigns. Women are rejoicing to see men in waistcoats again.

The Alameda Point Vintage Fashion Faire Preview Party will be held on Friday, September 14th, and the Steampunk Costume Contest will be held at 8PM in the Main Ballroom. If  you sell Steampunk clothing or accessories we still may have availability. Please call the ABB office at 510-522-7500. Stay Stylish in Steampunk!


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