Steampunk is modern technology – iPads, computers, robotics, air travel – all powered by steam and set in the 1800’s. That is it in a nutshell.
It also encompasses so much more. As a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy incorporating technology and aesthetic designs all inspired by the 19th century industrial steam-powered machinery. The literary origins are associated with the cyberpunk genre, steampunk works are set in an alternative future history, 19th century British Victoria era (the American ‘Wild West’). In a fantasy world where steam power has maintained mainstream usage and steam power. Technology is a key aspect of steampunk. Most recognizably featuring anachronistic technologies (retro futuristic) inventions as might have been envisioned in the 19th century, and rooted in this era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style and art. Including fictional machines such as those found in the literary works of H G Wells and Jules Verne, Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, Stephen Hunt and China Mieville.
Stories teeming with the technology of steam cannons, lighter-than-air airships and air balloons, analogue computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. Incorporating elements from the genres of fantasy, horror, historical fiction, and alternate history . The term ‘steampunk’ first appeared in 1987, though now it retroactively refers to many works of fiction created as far back at the 50’s or 60’s.
From this aesthetic fiction, many styles of clothing, art, literature, music have become increasingly popular. The clothing itself is a visual code including a balanced blend of futurism, Victorian aesthetics and post-industrial elements. Based on a narrow colour palette: metallised dark and light brown, gray, black, silver, copper and gold.
The classic steampunk women’s’ outfit: the leather corset laced over a white shirt, two-tone skirt, and sexy leather boots. A long, top hat and dripping in steampunk jewelry: bracelets, necklaces and sunglasses.
And for the men? Long top hat, leather bell pulls, white shirt, brown trousers and long calf leather boots.
Goggles are an icon and symbol trademark of the Victorian age – it screams industry. Aviators and drivers wore goggles to keep dirt, oil, sparks, wind and steam out of one’s eyes.
There is a delicate blend in between steampunk and Victorian. As soon as gears, cogs, brass and copper attachments appear on any outfit, the steampunk style is on.
Do you have a flare for the old and new, Steampunk is for you.
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