Monday Inspirations: Steampunk Fashion
Written by
Lena Corazon
August 2011
Written by
Lena Corazon
August 2011

For this week's installment of Monday Inspirations, I return to the world of fashion. Today, we're exploring steampunk fashion, my current obsession. I've loved the 19th century ever since I was a little girl -- the result of watching films like Anne of Green Gables and My Fair Lady obsessively.  I penned silly romances set during the period, and fantasized about living in a big Victorian house, complete with a glass-enclosed conservatory filled with palms and white wicker furniture; in my mind, I would host fancy tea parties and champagne brunches while flitting about in gorgeous gowns.

Years may have passed since those early childhood fancies, but one thing remains constant: my appreciation of 19th century fashion.  It should come as little surprise that I am unbelievably enamored with the whole steampunk movement, which marries Victorian sensibilities with steampowered technology.  As I work on tell me no lies, my steampunk romance/murder mystery, fashion is a central focus.  The following is a selection of some of my favorite pieces that I've encountered during the research process.

gowns and full outfits.

This bridal gown, designed by the Australian-based Gallerie Serpentine, is one of my favorites.  I adore the gold-striped overcoat (particularly the leg-of-mutton sleeves, and the lace ruffle around the cuffs), and gown is also exquisite.  And, of course, I love the model's brass goggles -- an essential accessory for every steampunk woman.

The full story over at Rock n' Roll Bride boasts a number of wonderful photos.
This two-piece taffeta suit from Clockwork Couture is another of my favorites.  Details like the high Chinese collar and the fitted cuffs, along with the teeny buttons running up the front of the bodice, are really lovely.  I also can never refuse a bustle -- the draping is just beautiful.  This is something that I can imagine Tempest, my protagonist, wearing during her day-to-day life in San Francisco, as it's a bit more sedate than the fancy and brightly colored costumes she wears while performing.
I also enjoy this outfit, where trousers, rather than voluminous skirts, are paired with a corset and cropped bolero jacket.  I'm not sure how common it is for women to dash about in trousers in this tale, but I imagine that Tempest would enjoy wearing them, if only for the freedom of movement that they provide.

corsets, skirts, and other fripperies.

This corset is designed by VeneficaCorsetry over at Etsy.  I absolutely love the black and gold harlequin pattern here, as well as the tiny hat.  This is definitely something I can imagine Tempest wearing on stage.
This corset from Harlotsandangels is also awesome, particularly because of its "rough and tumble" nature.  Functional yet still attractive, it could be the perfect item for a lady airpirate or outlaw.
I'm also obsessed with these short little bustle skirts from Lovechild Boudoir -- super sassy and cute, perfect for the dancing girls who grace the stage of The Belladonna, the fancy saloon where Tempest works.

shoes and jewelry.

The late and great Alexander McQueen designed some kick-ass shoes for his Spring 2010 collection.  The aesthetic is just perfect for a steampunk world.
And I really have no words for these shoes from Octavio Vero, which I need to have in my life.  The tiny silver filigree detailing on the heel, along with the cameo on the toe, are wonderfully creative, and offer a great steampunk twist on the traditional high-heeled pump.
Finally, this whole collection of creepy Victorian-inspired jewelry from Loved to Death thrills me. According to the description on the website, the necklace is made from the wings of an Eastern European starling, and has a genuine parakeet skull in the middle. *shudders*  The necklace is beautiful with the touch of the macabre, which fits the dark vibe of this tale very well.


There's a lot more on my pinterest board for tell me no lies, but these are some of my favorite pieces.  Upcoming: a bit on setting (I'm really excited about this one!), and more historical photos.

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