What is Steampunk?

Jules Verne and the style depicted in his literature is a great inspiration for Steampunk.

Most of our guests have asked us about steampunk. There have been equal parts confusion and excitement for the theme we selected for our wedding, so this section is intended to pique your interests and help with your selection of an outfit. Steampunk, in it’s simplest form, is an fictional time period that runs parallel to the Victorian era. Steampunk mostly exists within the pages of novels, on the screen in movies and television shows, and as a setting for video games. Lately this sub-genere of science fiction has been picking up traction and the aesthetics are becoming much more popular in modern culture and IBM has even said that Steampunk will be the largest trend in retail fashion in 2013-2015. The Steampunk clothing style is very similar to that of the Victorian eras of both Europe and America, as we traveled out west to discover a new frontier.

THE VICTORIAN ERA

The last spike of the First Transcontinental Railroad is driven in Utah on May 10, 1869, connecting the country and opening new possibilities for America.

The Victorian Era is the period marked by the reign of Queen Victoria over England, dating from 1837 to 1901. It was preceded by the Gregorian period and succeeded by the Edwardian Period. These time periods are all denoted by similar clothing styles. These time periods were full of strange practices, modesty, and nativity and were a turning point for both Britain and America. While Britain was enjoying a peaceful, prosperous time, America was finally discovering the west. The newly-invented steam engine and the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869, successfully linking the United States from one ocean to the other and opening up new trade routes and travel options. It’s within this era of change, invention, and ingenuity that Steampunk has taken it’s seat. For our wedding, we expect to utilize many of these elements and we are really looking forward to seeing what our guests come up with as inspiration for their characters. Victorian clothing of any or all styles are welcomed – encouraged – but it doesn’t have to be hard to put together an acceptable outfit. Men can easily get away with dress slacks, a vest and suspenders while women can get away with a nice vintage-esque dress. All of these should be readily available at local retail stores or online. Obviously, we encourage you to get “lost in the world of Steampunk” and make additions to your outfit or character.

STEAMPUNK

Airship battles are a favorite amongst Steampunk enthusiasts.

Many lost limbs fighting in the Civil War, but modern technology granted them another.

Women are allowed much more agency in the Steampunk world than the actual Victorian era and they used that agency to kick butt.

It is based within this quickly changing world in a time where steam power was quickly being replaced by the newly harnessed power of electricity we find Steampunk. Steampunk authors and connoisseurs have a preference for the steam-powered, old ways of producing energy. It’s within this new world of invention that the fictional aspect of Steampunk begins to take root. At it’s base element, Steampunk is simply the fusion of high tech invention in the old world of steam power and oil lamps. This imaginary world begins to meld with the real world as actual inventions like the locomotive exist within the same world as less realistic inventions like the steamp-powered airships. Steampunk, as it’s own genre, introduces many elements that are quite distant from reality such as (but not limited to) airship pirates with steam-powered airships that are literally pirate ships attached to blimps,

Steampunk_by_flyingdebris

Steampunk concept art by flyingdebris (http://flyingdebris.deviantart.com/)

powerful steam-driven machinations such as robots or artificial extremities, mad scientist who harness the power of newly discovered (but certainly fictional) elements which provide great power sources, and many other elements, which are literally invented at an author’s whim, though they

generally stay within certain generally-acknowledged guidelines.

WHY “PUNK”?

Steampunk_Picnic_by_tanuki_chan

Because of Steampunk’s own deviation from reality or what is “normal”, it does attract a different crowd, but this “crowd” was not, is not, and is in no way should be representative of Steampunk as a genre. Steampunk is a world in which all types can, and do participate.

Nathan-steampunk

Nathan Fillion in a Steampunk-themed episode of the popular TV show “Castle”.

The largest misconception of this theme so far has definitely been the existence of the term “punk” in the title. The uninitiated have assumed this is in reference to punk or metal music and sensibilities (or lack thereof). This is, in fact, not the case. A simple google search of Steampunk clothing hasn’t always disproved this sentiment, though you can rest assured that Steampunk in itself has nothing to do with any music genre or deviant lifestyle. In fact, some of these goth or punk subcultures have picked up on the Steampunk trend because of it’s deviation from the normal, something they can relate to. As best I can tell, the actual “punk” element of the Steampunk name is simply to highlight Steampunk’s separation from reality, or their difference from the norm (both historically and aesthetically), this is the only way that the genre is connected with the punk lifestyle, though it’s also an obvious reason why it’s picked up and loved by punks as well as everyone else.

The sky is the limit with Steampunk (literally!). We have chosen this theme as it represents interests of our own (antiquing, history, science, adventure, travel) as well as being that it just looks really cool! We can’t wait to see everyone dressed up for our wedding!

INSPIRATIONAL MEDIA

MOVIES:

These movies are all either Steampunk themed or have elements of Steampunk within them and were used by us as inspiration. All are family friendly except for Sweeny Todd.

A scene from Sweeny Todd featuring Sweeny Todd and Helena Bonham Carter in very Steampunky clothing.

Wild Wild West

Steamboy

Lemony Snickets A Series of Unfortunate Events

The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Sky Captain and the World of  Tomorrow

The Golden Compass

A scene from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Some more reserved, but acceptable attire for Steampunk.

Sweeny Todd (not a kid’s movie)

Van Helsing

Stardust

Sherlock Holmes

The Prestige

Hugo

A scene from Steamboy, a entirely Steampunk themed children’s movie.

Firefly (TV)

Serenity

 

 

 

 

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