One place you can always count on for period pieces and beautifully constructed costumes is the Masterpiece Theater on PBS, and The Paradise is no exception. Set in an 1870s shopping Mecca, this series is a veritable parade of inspiration for Steampunk fashion. The hats alone already have my mind whirring! And as the visionary store owner, John Moray says “how can such beautiful women ever have enough beautiful things?”
Before the Victorian era, all clothing was sewed by hand. The industrialization of the garment industry led to a growing collection of “ready-made” dresses, but the upper class ladies were slow to move away from their couture gowns. This is one of the hurtles that the staff of The Paradise must overcome, and fast-thinking shopgirl Denise is able to make the “hard sell” from the very beginning.
“This isn’t a shop. This is a kind of heaven!” cries one of their customers. Keep in mind there was no such thing as Harrod’s or Macy’s in the form we know it today until the 1890s, so the convention of a store that caters specifically to women and their buying power was all but untapped of at this time.
You can see full episodes on PBS’s website by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom of the page for Episode 1.
“Steampunk style has become synonymous with many things as it has become more pervasive in popular culture, for good and ill: 19th-century, retrofuturism, neo-Victorian, colonialism, stuff white people like. What the steampunk community needs is a game-changer: more examples of what steampunks are really doing, and why does this subculture fit their wheelhouses. When you’re an outsider looking in, however, how can you avoid being blindsided by what has become the “tropes of the genre” (gears, goggles, pith helmets, and all)?”
Follow the link for the full article.
America’s Next Top Model has been around for a long time, and they do their best to push the boundaries of fashion and aesthetics for their photoshoots. It should come as no surprise then that Steampunk would eventually make an appearance. In the gallery above I picked my favorite images of ANTM contestants bedecked in Clockwork Couture, who have also featured celebrities like Mythbuster’s Grant Imahara in their photos.
Mere days after I wrote my Steampunk in the Mainstream post I watched the November 7 episode of Glee (Season 5, Episode 4). Adam Lambert shows up as “Starchild,” aka Elliott Gilbert, a golden-throated vision in top hat and tails to join Kurt’s band in NYC.
I was looking at some tasty Steampunk fashion at Clockwork Couture and I thought I recognized one of the male models. It turns out I was right! Grant Imahara, who is the robotics guru for one of my favorite shows, Mythbusters, appears in the online catalog. You can also see pics featuring Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Emma Caulfield and Felicia Day of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog (among other things.)
Photos by PixieVision