1.- The interviewee
As we said in the presentation post of this brief interviews series, Hilde Heyvaert is our first interviewee. She is a Belgian fashion & costume designer and editor with a college education and training in Graphic Design.
House of Secrets Incorporated is her independant designer identity and, now that her old column, ‘The Steampunk Wardrobe’, is no longer in roulation due to the discontinuation of the Gatehouse Gazette magazine, she provides handy information for steampunks and dieselpunks on The Gatehouse blog.
2.- The Interview
2.1.- Steampunk Jewelry in general
Q.- Hilde, you have been fashion editor and reviewer for the Gatehouse Gazette since the very beginning of this initiative. Could you tell us how did you get involved in this project?
A.- Back in the day (somewhere in 2008) there was pretty much only Steampunk Magazine, and whilst that was a great initiative, it wasn’t the easiest to submit to, and it wasn’t released in a very timely manner (no one ever really knew when the next issue would be out). So at some point someone on the Smoking Lounge forum ventured that we might as well make our own magazine. Something everyone that wanted to would be able to easily submit to, and something that would have a steady release. We ended up going for 21 bi-monthly issues, covered a myriad of topics and ran several colums and had over a dozen contributors so I like to think we did a pretty good job on that.
I was involved from the start, because I thought it was a great idea, and I thought it would be really cool to have a column that helps people getting to know some of the substyles of Steampunk and Dieselpunk and help them with ideas for outfits and costumes. Especially if they’re on a budget.
So basically I got involved because I happened to be around when it was suggested and started and thought: oh here’s a good idea!
The Gatehouse Gazette may be no more by the way, but we haven’t really quit, we are now The Gatehouse blog so Nick, Marcus and I are still very active doing what we were doing before, just in a different format.
Q.- Furthermore, you studied a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and you are specialized in advertising. And, as if that were not enough, you are a self-taught fashion and costume designer. All this background gives you a really broad perspective on the Steampunk scene and aesthetics. What’s Steampunk jewelry for you?
A.- On to my masters! That aside, to me jewelry is a necessary part of fashion (any fashion, not just steampunk) because it really adds to an outfit or costume, just like accessories. It can really complete what you’re wearing. Or make a casual outfit just that little more special.
Q.- Which influences should it have then?
A.- I don’t think anyone or anything should necessarily be influenced by certain things. I think that inspiration can be found anywhere as long as you keep your mind and eyes open.
Q.- And what challenges do you think Steampunk jewelry designers face?
A.- I think that competition from big chains such as H&M, TopShop etc poses a very real problem right now. They have the size and means to produce bits and pieces at far lower prices than independant designers can.
I have to admit I know little about the business and process of making actual proper jewelry as I’m not schooled in that.
Q.- Which would be your main recommendation for them?
1.- The challenge
Have you ever wondered what is steampunk jewelry? Does every jewelry piece hide a story? Is it fashion, is it art, or maybe both? Which trends are arising? We have asked these and many more questions to ourselves and, even though we have already come to some conclusions, we would like to gauge the pulse of the Steampunk scene. We want to find out what steampunkers think about all this, but how? That’s an excelent question.
2.- The solution
Alright. Conversations are powerful, aren’t they? After taking different possibilities into consideration, we are very excited to announce that we are going to begin a series of brief interviews entitled ‘Steampunk jewelry tonight with…’.
We are planning to interview movers and shakers, opinion leaders, rebels, outliers, visionaries. Fashion designers, journalists, photographers, musicians… do you think you can throw light on this issue? Something to say about this topic? Then we would love to hear from you. If you consider yourself suitable or you know someone who would suit this profile, feel free to contact us any time.
3.- The kickoff
Hilde Heyvaert has kindly accepted the defiance invitation to become our first interviewee. Hilde has been fashion editor and reviewer for the Gatehouse Gazette since the very first issue and has her own fashion and costume project: House of Secrets Incorporated. There is no need to say that we feel really grateful for her generosity.
This series of brief interview’s may not be a talk show, but these interviews are expected to be fun and revealing. The first one is going to be published soon, stay tuned!
PS. If you have not subscribed to our newsletter yet maybe you should do it now…
As you know, after Romanticism a Realist political and aesthetical ideology prevailed, receiving different names all over the world (Victorian era in Great Britain). From the 1870’s onward, the ideas that history and civilization were inherently progressive and that progress was always good came under increasing attack, questioning of the axioms of the previous age. This was the seed of Modernism, a wide array of cultural movements derived from deep changes in the Western society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
You have probably heard of Barcelona as the greatest exponent of Modernist architecture in Spain with its ‘Modernisme’. It usually refers to the movements known in other countries as Art Nouveau, Modern Style, Jugendstil, Stile Liberty, Sezessionstil, etc. It is a style derived from the English Arts and Crafts movement, the Pre-Raphaelite movement, the Gothic revival and the Aesthetic Movement (a restrained prelude to Art Nouveau), as well as from Symbolism. It is characterized by the predominance of the curve over the straight line, rich decoration and detail, the frequent use of vegetal and other organic motifs, and the taste for asymmetry and dynamic shapes.
Vigo, my home town, has also a very rich Modernist heritage. Like Antoni Gaudí, architects as Antonio Palacios, Jenaro de la fuente, Manuel Gómez Román and many others were inspired by organic forms handing down to us numerous architectonic treasures.
It is said that Art inspires Art. This is what happened to my partner Irene when she saw this architectonic detail in this building designed by Mr. Jenaro de la Fuente in 1913, located at 28th Urzaiz Street.
The result is this oval pendant made of copper and matt sterling silver, which includes a 17 jewels Phenix watch movement.
Are you interested in steampunk? Do you have a Twitter account? Then you should be already checking out #SteampunkChat.
Steampunk jewelry was the chosen topic (transcript available here) on 21st October. We missed this chat due to time difference, but we would like to do our bit. For this reason we have made our own selection of tweets to share with you our own vision. Hope you find it enriching!
I.- The concept: what would we consider steampunk jewelry?
Steampunk is one of the main inspiration sources for the Decimononic crew and probably many of our pieces could be categorized like that. So… what can we say about this?
What exactly makes steampunk jewelry? #SteampunkChat
— Ashley Wade (@crankyashley) October 22, 2011
Honestly, we cannot answer this question. However, we can give our particular point of view about what could steampunk jewelry be. In fact we agree mostly with Ms. Cheryl L. G. Trent, as we think that Victorian Era could be taken as point of departure… but always with a multicultural approach. Besides, we do think that Art-Nouveau should be taken into consideration too. And an industrial touch should be always welcome.