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Stash Diving: Steampunk Advice?

I've been meaning to post this for nearly a week, but it took me awhile to find all the pictures... I’ve got this Steampunk Social Climber idea - someone like Jeannie Churchill; an aristocrat that rides the line of respectability. I’ve got my basic dress concept: it’ll be this great black chiffon with gray and silver satin modernish art-nouveau patterns on it that I acquired a couple years ago from modehistorique . =)

It’ll be made up in a very plain high-necked, floor length princess-lined 1900s-esq dress. Like the all over lace dresses that just seem painted on over the corset:

Photo of Winifred Sprague Walker Prosser, 1901 from pg. 48 of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin Fall 1987

This is the same dress as was worn in the previous photo, from pg. 47 of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin Fall 1987

c1908 Italian Lace Dress from pg. 343 of Fashion

That’s the kinda thing I’m gonna try for as my base garment ;-) Less poofy sleeves then the top dress, but 3/4 length. I want to make this a bit more egdy, though – I don’t want to do a period hair (or wig) style – I’d like something more in the vein of these:

This is not an esthetic I’m familiar with – I need many more examples to be “seeped” in it enough to do my own design in that style. Do any of you have pointers?

Initially, when I wrote this I was having trouble with accessories. Which was a real roadblock to the project, as Steampunk is ALL about the accessories. I was having trouble ‘cause the standard “adventuring”, “gears”, and “mad scientist” type accessories don’t quite go with my Steampunk Social Climber idea. But I surfed and found some brilliant ideas:
  • A totally oversized feather boa: http://www.ostrich.com/boa/Turkey-Ruff-Feather-200-gram-Large.html
  • Edgy kick-ass Victoriana boots: http://www.goodgoth.com/ladiesboots.htm (the Splendor-130 style, about halfway down the page. Lots of other cool ideas there, too ;-))
  • And the real piece d’resistance: I’m gonna get one of those purse-dog sized robotic dog toys (this or this) and re-paint it to be steampunk-ish, in coppers, golds and bronzes =D (I don’t know how much more kit-bashing it will require then just painting; I haven’t seen either in person…) I’m having visions of saying “Come, Fido” and being a complete bimbo over my “pet dog” like the heroine of Legally Blond :-D
  • Of course there will also be long ropes of pearls, a monocle, net gloves, some sort of asymmetrical hair ornament, etc. But it’s those three accessories that make me feel like the concept has really gelled ;-)

Before I thought of the robotic dog, I was kinda worried that my accessorizing was going to be too historical and not punk enough. Very few of the posts on steamfashion are anything like what I’m going for… I think this one was the closest (and quite wonderful it is, too ;-) even if I only saved the corsetmakers post, not the steamfashion post :-S) But robotic dogs, while cute and fitting in very well with the socially elite is NOT historical ;-) Hopefully it will be feasible to drag the robotic toy around on a leash... 8-) It all depends on how the toy's movement works, I suppose.


Oct. 13th, 2009 12:07 pm (UTC)
We were supposed to be following some leads on getting old clock and watch parts so that I could make some steampunk jewelry.
Oct. 13th, 2009 12:09 pm (UTC)