Thursday, May 08, 2008

Finally, (for better or for worse): Steampunk article in the New York Times

Steampunk Moves Between 2 Worlds

Photo by Robert Wright for The New York Times

For better or worse, a mainstream newspaper has picked up on the Steampunk movement.

Quaint to some eyes, or outright bizarre, steampunk fashion is compelling all the same. It is that rarity, a phenomenon with the potential to capture a wider audience, offering a genteel and disciplined alternative to both the slack look of hip-hop and the menacing spirit of goth.

The elaborate mourning dresses, waistcoats, hacking jackets and high-button shoes are goth’s stepchildren, for sure, but the overall look is “not so much eyeliner and fishnets,” said Evelyn Kriete, who sells advertising space for magazines like Steampunk, The Willows and Weird Tales, and who manages Jaborwhalky Productions (, a steampunk Web site.

Ms. Kriete and her eccentrically outfitted cohort of teachers, designers, writers and medical students, drew stares last week at a picnic at the Cloisters in Manhattan, but provoked no shudders or discernible hostility.

“As a subculture, we are not the spawn of Satan,” Ms. Kriete said. “People smile when they see us. They want to take our picture.”

Robert Brown, the lead singer for Abney Park, a goth band that has reinvented itself as steampunk, echoed her sentiments. “Steampunk is not dark and spooky,” he said. “It’s elegant and beautiful.”

While I normally play in the Renaissance, I have been picking up patterns for Victorian costumes, with a mind to modify them for everyday wear ala Steampunk (to be fit for work, of course). Believe it or not, my son is extremely interested as well, especially in Steampunked tech. Geeks like costumes, you know.

I think we'll see more of this on the runways next year, which would be refreshing...

"“I’m so sick of baggy pants hanging off your bottom,” he said. “This is more refined. It goes back to a time when people had some dignity.

“It’s a new day.”" - Mr. James

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