Photo and editing: Rebeca Saray | Models: Rachel Kleines and Anneke Necro | MUA: Sofía Sicilia Gómez & Alassie | Wardrobe: El Costurero Real | Atrezzo: Félix Googles and La Cámara del Alquimista | Fine jewelry: Decimononic | Assistants: Juanma Zoombie & Carlos Galant
Steampunk was born as literary genre, with precursors such as Jules Verne and H. G. Wells among its main influencers. In any case, may the works of additional coetaneous authors become inspirational? Gothic novel, Romantic movement, early science fiction?
As individual experience, Steampunk can be as you want it to be. The Decimononic team knows that this ‘individuality’ is one of the exciting elements unique to the style- It really is ‘tailor-made’ to its wearer! One is able to literally make it up as one goes along. But surely there must be elements, links that we can base our look on?
Everything is covered, Steampunk is inspiration for fashion, art and lifestyle so it’s not just about aviator hats and goggles. This was abundantly clear as I looked through the thousands of images. We know the elements that make up the style of the Victorian cyberinventor or that bumbling air pirate look that we all love.
Another question cropped up during this research: How has the Steampunk ‘word’ spread? One way is through the media, more importantly through popular culture. I wanted to get to the very beginnings of the media aspect for Decimononic, and where better to start than in literature?
1.- The relationship between Steampunk and Literature
The archetypal Science Fiction authors most likely were unaware of what they were beginning as they were published. The distinct lifestyle look began life as a small seed stemming from the imagination of these authors. Most notably two of the earliest pioneers of Science Fiction: Jules Verne and HG Wells.
If you are reading these lines there is no doubt that you are looking for information about Steamgoth. I have written this blog post as an introduction to it, so let’s see if I can throw some gaslight on this issue.
1.1.- Steamgoth: the concept
Our first mention to this may be found at the first blog post we dedicated to our attendance at Wave Gotik Treffen 2013. As far as we know, the term Steamgoth was coined by the British writer James Richardson-Brown back in 2007:
‘Steamgoth is a far darker view of the steampunk world. Whereas steampunk can often be said to be science fiction set in an alternative Victorian-era world, Steamgoth would be horror set in that same world’.
Source: Steamgoth – An Introduction
But wait a minute. Is Steamgoth something brand new? Is it called to have significance enough per se? Is it a real answer or it just does not make any sense at all? Certainly these are not minor questions as, the way I see it, many of the trends derived from -punk (or let’s say cyberpunk derivatives) add very little.
For the Western world, the Victorian era was probably a time of wonder. It was a time of adventure, discovery, progress and, from the perspective of the contemporary man, romanticism. However, this historical period had an obscure side difficult to ignore. Not only due to colonialism, child labour, gender repression or racial discrimination, but to the widespread obsession with all things mysterious and paranormal.
I have always thought that both utopian and dystopian visions have room within the Steampunk genre; however, I feel that the current of thought that gradually prevails is the utopian one. As The New York Times stated quoting Captain Robert from Abney Park: ‘Steampunk is not dark and spooky, it’s elegant and beautiful’. If this comes to be true, Steamgoth is called to fill its own space offering a less ingenuous and idealized approach to the Steampunk paradigm. Does this mean that any manifestation of Steamgoth must be dystopian? Probably not. But with all certitude it should offer a different perspective to the Steampunk realm.
1.2.- Steamgoth: the roots
What fires Steamgoth? Which sources can we track back? What shall inspire it? I will try to answer some of these questions in the following parts of this blog post:
- Steamgoth in a nutshell (1 of 6).- Intro: The darkest side of Steampunk
- Steamgoth in a nutshell (2 of 6).- Literature: The Precursors
- Steamgoth in a nutshell (3 of 6).- Technoscience: The Knowledge of the Supernatural
- Steamgoth in a nutshell (4 of 6).- Occultism: The Forbidden Wisdom
- Steamgoth in a nutshell (5 of 6).- Victorian Society: Lights… and Shadows
- Steamgoth in a nutshell (6 of 6).- Fashion: The Black Obsession
Without further ado, let’s begin our walk on the darkest side of Steampunk: Steamgoth!
There are so many elements that make up the Steampunk style and make it so popular. But the most important of them all has to be the fantasy of it all: The bulshy air pirates roaming the sky in H.G Well’s style flying machines looking for loot! Victorian clad heroines in stylish fascinators!
One thinks back to the images from the fantastical ‘Laputa- Castle in the Sky’. The 1980’s Studio Ghibli animation creates a striking Steampunk image with the villainous pirates patrolling the air looking for the elusive Laputa!
Steampunk is not rosy or sweet smelling, it is of engine oil and action! The fashion is top hats and cogs, fitted leather corsets that sit on top of the cotton day dresses. The full length skirts are figure flattering and so very feminine. The essential elements from the past when it comes to dressing also make this style aesthetically pleasing!
The overwhelming amount of ongoing projects at Decimononic’s headquarters at present are going to prevent us from attending this years’ Retrofuturistic Week. Nevertheless, this should not stop us from encouraging everyone to visit Barcelona and make the most of it!
This event, that is going to be held from 11th to 16th February, offers a wide variety of possibilities: from workshops to conferences, from vendors area to different kinds of contests…
Besides, remember that this event is directly linked with the temporary exhibition ‘Steampunk: futures that never were’ at MIBA, Museu d’Idees i Invents de Barcelona (‘Museum of Ideas and Inventions of Barcelona’ in English) that is going to remain open until May 2013. As you know, some of our pieces have been chosen to be displayed here.
Feel free to visit the official website of the event in order to learn more about it: www.semanaretrofuturista.tk
And do enjoy it!