Corsets, bustles, top hats, neckties and frock coats are mainstays, while military, scientific, gothic and boudoir influences create a sepia-toned look that evokes H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and romantic 20th Century Victorian fantasies. However, the commando swagger that transcends time and even gender - and the fact that while it may look like Oscar Wilde's dressing room, the lace tablecloth actually disguises a computer or other modern contraption - sets this aesthetic firmly in the modern age.
Adherents of the Steampunk movement present a refracted mirror of reality as we wished it to be. Moving the natural world into the machine age of steam engines & dirigibles, and fusing handmade and remade items with a futuristic Victorian sensibility, this nostalgic/forward-looking wave of literary, artistic, and aesthetic influences raises the question: Can you use the murky aviator goggles of the past to peer into the future?
In an effort to evoke the gaslamp era by way of 2008, these Victorian time travelers are influenced visually by designers like Alexander McQueen, Nicolas Ghesquiere, and even Ralph Lauren. The New York Times credits author Paul DiPhilippo with coining the term Steampunk, which, like the present-day nostalgia for a more beautiful and compelling past, is a movement that is picking up, well...steam.
- Jennifer Raiser, aka Raiseroni, the San Francisco Treat