There is something very tantalising about Steampunk. As a sub-culture it has a lot of depth and is not just about cool clothes and whimsical alterations to every-day things.
It is a sub-culture that started out based in speculative literature and as a subgenre of science fiction, in which the writers speculated what the world would be like if the information revolution had happened a century earlier in Victorian times (also in the Wild West era in America). It explores the paths not taken in history and also potential technologies laid out in books by writers such as H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. As well as Victorian era style and science-fiction, it also incorporates elements of fantasy and horror. This slogan I think summarises the culture beautifully:
“What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner.”
Steampunk became prevalent in the late 1980′s and early 90′s and has continued to grow in popularity, going from a fiction based sub-culture to a design aesthetic and way of life.
The design aesthetic focusses on revealing the inner workings of mechanical objects such as the cogs and gears (this is particularly evident in the customised jewellery). It also concentrates on adding a modern touch of technology to more old-world-style clothing, adding a flare of adventure that was apparent within Steampunk fiction. The basic raw materials for ‘Steampunking’ an object are mediums such as brass, steel, glass, engraved wood, and never forgetting to add little details such as tiny cogs and gears or etchings (just for detail’s sake).
Pretty much anything can be ‘Steampunked’ from iPods, jewellery, dolls, clothing, to computers. Hollywood has got in on the trend and has released a bunch of movies that all fit into this particular style, for example titles such as Sherlock Holmes and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow slot quite nicely into this category. But movies are not the only industry to capitalise on this culture. The gaming and music industries are getting in on it too. The Bioshock games are a perfect example of Steampunk and plenty of bands have featured the aesthetic quite prominently in their artwork and music videos. The band Panic! At The Disco are a good example of this, in particular, the video for their song ‘Mona Lisa’ is full of Steampunk imagery and costumes.
Below are some very cute objects given the Steampunk treatment:
It is a unique blend of literature, exploration of the future, design aesthetic and personal style. It is also, in my opinion, very beautiful and super sexy… But then I am a bit of a sucker for the naughty Victorians (which might have something to do with their corsets and bloomers…just saying) and well, anything remotely Sci-Fi.
Below are 10 examples of some super sexy Steampunk fashion. Which picture is your favourite?
Tags: bioshock, fashion, h.g. wells, jules verne, panic at the disco, steampunk