Sunday, 8 October 2017

How to do Steampunk

Voodoo Street Steampunk Hats

Some of you may have noticed (and at least one of you bought one) some elaborate new additions to our ranged during the summer months – our handmade Steampunk hats.  We have long been voyeurs of this scene and incorporated the top hat (the lifeblood of any steampunk outfit) into our logo.  We were also inspired by our visit to Goth  HQ, Whitby and more recently, the TV series Taboo.

After a couple of weekends off and mourning the end of the summer festival season, we decided we needed another road trip adventure, preferably one to top up our levels of human contact (working from home Monday to Friday can occasionally send you hurtling towards the edges of sanity).  With leaves falling and Halloween - our favourite time of the year - just around the corner, Chepstow Steampunk Winter Festival presented itself and seemed like the perfect option.  

Monmouthshire is a stunning area and Chepstow, with its Norman Castle and proximity to the Forest of Dean, seemed like a great place to make our first foray into the world of steampunk.  We pitched and awaited the decision of the organisers.  We were anticipating that the event would be over-subscribed and when decision day came and went, assumed that we had not been successful.  So we were over the moon to receive an email from Alice the following day, blaming a faulty laptop for the delay in informing us that we had been confirmed as a Saturday trader. 

Cut to one day later and I am running around like a headless chicken, making lists (not sure how effective they are, but lists is what I do!)  We have just over a month to make some hats to replenish our stock, plan our steampunk set-up and, more importantly, pull together some killer outfits that will turn Gaz into Tom Hardy... 

Tom Hardy, as Delaney in Taboo

...and me into Vanessa Helsing!

Kate Beckinsale, as Vanessa in Van Helsing

For those not on board with steampunk, it’s a creative movement with a backdrop of either Victorian England or America’s Wild West, where modern technologies (think steam power, rather than Apple technology) are re-imagined as elaborate works of art, fashion and mechanics.  

Courtesy of Pinterest, a quick Steampunk outfit this guy cobbled together!

Devotees really go to town on their outfits and we need to be on it – no loose cogs, shapeless jackets or ill-fitting corsets for us.  So, I’m currently trawling the internet for inspiration.  Here’s what I have learned so far.


It's all in the detail
Key outfit elements include:-

  1. A fitted jacket or long coat.
  2. Victorian shirt.
  3. Waistcoat.
  4. Top Hat.
  5. Industrial boots.


Key outfit elements include:-

  1. Top Hat.
  2. Victorian blouse.
  3. Corset.
  4. Skirt with bustle.
  5. Fitted jacket.
  6. Granny boots.

Courtesy of Pinterest

Sounds relatively simple doesn’t it?  Until you dig a little deeper and start Googling images of steampunk outfits.  My head started spinning when I came across reference to “current trends in steampunk.”  What if Gaz’s goggles are all wrong?  Are DMs acceptable? 

One swift absinthe later and I had put things into perspective.  The whole event is celebratory.  Fun.  This won’t be Devil Wears Prada, it will be Voodoo Street Victoriana!  So whether we go traditional with rich coloured velvets, brocade and lace embellishments or embrace the new off-white or go cirque de steampunk, remains to be seen.  

Now, I’m thinking late November might be pushing it to camp, particularly if we’re going for a look less “festival”, more groomed and polished. So I need to get booking some digs for the night.  The B&Bs are all country dwellings with names like “Foxes Reach” and “Church Farm Cottage” and the 90% of the self catering cottages appear to be converted cider barns. you’re talking.

The result of a "Best Cider in Chepstow" Google search

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