Far away in the caverns of modern cultural conscious resides a little known phenomenon called Steampunk. The inspiration behind steampunk sprang out of the novels of H G Wells and a fascination with steam powered gadgets of all shapes and sizes and its always lingered awkwardly on the peripherals of unpopular culture despite finding its fans in literature, TV, film and music. Until now, that is.
Steampunk is apparently about to make its leap from social subversity to mainstream fashion, via the High Street. If you’re finding it hard to picture what the actual clothes look like, think Helena Bonham Carter’s outfits in almost every Tim Burton film she’s ever been in, or Johnny Depp’s for that matter. The steampunk wardrobe is that of an eccentric Victorian inventor.
Introspective, intelligent and full of time travel in jokes, it’s hard to imagine this cultural corner ever breaking out onto the High Street. But fashion forecasters (computer giants IBM; who’d have thought) have predicted, after studying what people are talking about on social media, that by this time next year we’ll all be marching out on a Saturday night in Victorian get-up, adorned with antique timepieces, goggles and parasols.
The fashionistas at IBM haven’t completely made this up though. If you saw Prada’s A/W 13 collection you’ll have spotted Gary Oldman, Adrien Brody and Willem Dafoe bespectacled in Willy Wonka-esque glasses and sporting smart Dickensian tailoring. And it didn’t look that absurd, but then again they are Hollywood royalty so they can get away with wearing whatever they want, especially on a catwalk.
When it comes to the ladies, steampunk fashion is a little more believable, as it’s all about lace, velvet and corsets, the former two have already been back on trend for the last few seasons?
So to an extent steampunk might in some moderate form traverse its way into popular fashion. But I still I find it hard to imagine any of my friends sitting in the corner of the local comparing their faux time travel apparatus and stroking their velvet lapels.