Sarah Mosberg, our 2018 OTR Chair has been planning her Caver meets Steampunk theme since last OTR and the creative juices are flowing! You might be asking, “What is Steampunk, anyway?” Here is a great write up that she presented at the TRA Board meeting held on March 24.
Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre, steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, in a future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power.
Steampunk also refers to any of the artistic styles, clothing fashions, or subcultures that have developed from the aesthetics of steampunk fiction, Victorian-era fiction, art nouveau design, and films from the mid-20th century. You will see modern utilitarian objects are often altered into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical “steampunk” style. A cell phone that runs with gears and cogs. Retro-futuristic, if you will. Think of the Nautilus in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954).
Steampunk is influenced by and often adopts the style of the 19th-century scientific romances of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Mary Shelley, and Edward S. Ellis’s The Steam Man of the Prairies. Several more modern works of art and fiction significant to the development of the genre were produced before the genre had a name. For example, the film Brazil (1985) was an important early cinematic influence that helped codify the aesthetics of the genre. The 2014 series Penny Dreadful is an example of gothic steampunk. The 2016 Alice Through the Looking Glass utilized steampunk vehicles, clothing and props. There can be an element of magic in the genre as well rife with dragons, both real and mechanized, as well as mechanized everyday creatures such as birds, pets.
Steampunk fashion has no set guidelines but tends to synthesize modern styles with influences from the Victorian era. Such influences may include bustles, corsets, gowns, and petticoats; suits with waistcoats, coats, top hats and bowler hats (themselves originating in 1850 England), tailcoats and spats; or military-inspired garments. Steampunk-influenced outfits are usually accented with several technological and “period” accessories: timepieces, parasols, flying/driving goggles, and ray guns. Modern accessories like cell phones or music players can be found in steampunk outfits, after being modified to give them the appearance of Victorian-era objects. Post-apocalyptic elements, such as gas masks, ragged clothing, and tribal motifs, can also be included. Aspects of steampunk fashion have been anticipated by mainstream high fashion, the Lolita and aristocrat styles, neo-Victorianism, and the romantic goth subculture.
Who is getting their costume ready to stroll down Vendors Row? This should make for an awesome Doo Dah Parade theme too!