Goggles, top hats, hoop skirts and mechanical-futuristic devices: obvious, we are talking about the Victorian fashion of the steampunk movement! The cultural trend based on the stories of the Victorian science fiction authors Jules Verne and H.G. Wells has finally taken Germany by storm after many years of niche existence! In other countries, above all Great Britain and the USA, retrofuturism has enjoyed increasing popularity since the mid-1980s. You want to know what this fantastic art genre actually consists of and how it is now expressed in imaginative fashion and exquisite trendy events? Then let us take you on a fascinating journey into a slightly different present!
With steam power into a fantastic future!
What if electricity had never been "invented" and if in the Victorian age technology based on steam power and the legendary element "ether" had developed? In this way one can briefly outline the extraordinary world of a so-called steampunk. But how did this concept turn into a worldwide increasingly successful scene movement? Quite simple, by means of fantasy!
The entire story began in the early days of industrialisation: As at any other time, at the end of the 19th century, a time of great (industrial and educational) upheaval, people living at that time thought about the future, fantasising about steam-powered carriages, airships and submarines. These often not so far-fetched visions of the future were of course also manifested in literature of that time. Just think of novels like "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" by Jules Verne or "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells!
Back to the present!
Let us now, from the perspective of that time, venture a leap into the future, our present. In the 1980s, the so-called cyberpunk developed in science fiction culture, which took a rather somber view of the future and was immensely successful with novels such as "Neuromancer" by William Gibson, and still is today. In 1987, the US-American science fiction and horror author K.W. Jeter named his historical-futuristic novel style in reference to cyberpunk with a wink as "steampunk literature" - and thus the term for a new historically based science fiction genre was born!
The wonderful world of steampunk fashion
The term steampunk does not only stand for a fascinating literary genre, of course, all around retrofuturism a completely own fashion world has developed, which not only reaches hardcore enthusiasts, but also more and more fancy fashion-loving people and inspires them. The style of clothing is not at all dissimilar to the "Victorian Gothic", which has been popular in the black scene for decades, only not quite as dark. Instead of black (which is certainly used!), the colours brown, gold, copper and brass dominate the clothing. But warm shades such as purple, moss green and ruby red are also found in the clothing of ladies and (!) gentlemen, which is based on Victorian fashion.
By the way, this is another special feature that steampunk fashion has in common with the gothic scene. Not only the female followers of the scene value exquisite styling, but also the men set a high value on their clothing and have an eye for the matching accessories, which may show some unusual mechanical features.
New imaginative events are on the rise
With the steadily growing number of fans of the retrofuturistic movement it is hardly surprising that more and more steampunk events are developing in Germany and numerous neighbouring countries. Some people even talk about these special retro events soon becoming a serious competition for the numerous medieval markets! That wouldn't be too surprising, because the historical-futuristic genre is not subject to obligatory rules like the medieval genre, appeals to young and old regardless of private music or art taste. In addition, the appearance of the imaginatively nostalgically dressed ladies and gentlemen is simply good entertainment even for the "average consumer" and makes the eyes of children and adults shine in equal measure.
Darkly colorful major events such as the Wave Gotik Treffen or the M'Era Luna have been attracting more and more people dressed in Victorian fashion for years. But also completely independent steampunk events, which are not only an add-on to museum events and steam engine exhibitions, are becoming increasingly popular. Take, for example, the one-day Steampunk Jubilee premiere of the LWL-Museum Schiffshebewerk Henrichenburg near Dortmund on August 11, 2019, which immediately attracted 4,500 visitors (of which about 1,500 were steampunk-dressed guests) coming from near and far. The fact that this visitor and organizer equally inspiring success now leads to a two-day repetition (08. - 09.08.2020) of the fantastic international steampunk-meeting in the year 2020, should not surprise anyone.
The Asylum Festival in Lincoln/Great Britain can serve as a model for successful big events. According to the organizer, the world's largest steampunk meeting will take place from August 28th to 31st, 2020, and for the twelfth time the historic district of the city will be populated with exceptionally dressed ladies and gentlemen and a variety of art and culture.
Looking for suitable clothing for retro-romantic people?
Would you like to wear seductively beautiful steampunk fashion and opulent retro-futuristic accessories? Then just have a look at Boudoir Noir! Here you will find beguiling corsages, delightful blouses and opulent skirts and dresses for her, but also elegant leg dresses, perfectly shaped shirts and elegant coachman's coats for him.
Foto: © pixabay – darksouls1 – Enrique Meseguer