Sunday, September 23, 2007

[OOC] Victoriana Fashion

No doubt being a New Yorker makes it easier to imagine incorporating Victoriana enthusiasm into everyday dress. You can get away with alot on the streets here in the right neighboroods.

The first time I realized Victoriana fashion was becoming "in" was watching a rather theatrical fashion show from Dolce & Gabbana. Since then, I've found several other examples of big name fashion houses incorporating clothing styles from the Victorian era or times close to it. I'll be concentrating on women's fashion due to my own bias, but there's men's fashion to be found too.

Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2007 runway
Inspired by Napoleon and his wife Josephine, this show features women in military style outfits and empire waist dresses. It's also interesting to see the hair and make-up designers struggle to find a reasonably period appropriate look that foregoes pure white pressed powder and wigs.

Ralph Lauren Spring 2008, 40th Anniversary
Inspirations included My Fair Lady and Toulouse Latrec paintings. The male "dandy" of yore has undergone a gender change here. And she don't look half bad neither. ;) Even with my high speed connection, it took a long time to download the runway video. Try the look book instead.

Trelise Cooper
Go to her Lookbooks and check out the 2007 Winter season. She describes it as Victorian Goth, in her case by dressing women who seem distinctly down on their luck. Her use of modern fabrics makes it quite clear she's pointing towards today's youth trend. (More on that below.) "I love adding historical elements to my garments while giving them a modern interpretation..."

A relatively new designer, Marchesa increasingly incorporates elements from vintage dress into mostly modern garments. There is a Second Life feel in part because she will design different versions of the same look: a half-length dress and matching full-length dress, for example. With a few exceptions, everything here would seem appropriate in a modern context

Well before the designers caught on, I could very occasionally see the odd character on the street dressed in a sort of broad period fashion. This would often be mixed with more modern clothes, such as incorporating platform boots or a leather corset. Such would be part and parcel of the goth/punk scene, though standing apart by embracing the social niceties with a sly wink.

New York appears to be slow catching on compared to other cities. Londoners take it as a sort of revival birthright, where Tokyo fashion rebels add their youth obsession to create a Lolita or boy dandy. The style draws from early goth evening wear and includes corsets, tall boots, chokers, and long gloves for women and for men ornate suits/coats plus obligatory bits of lace.

FairyGothMother (UK)
Here's a fairly traditional British goth store that includes some period style stuff. You'll see plenty of long dresses, high heeled dress shoes, petticoats, and long capes. There's common use of materials like velvet, beads, ribbons, and feathers.

Here you will see the other recent offspring of traditional goth fashion, the futuristic cybergoth. It's impossible not to mention this phenomenon, since it crosses into steampunk sometimes with its hardcore nostalgia for early scifi. Some marks of the crossover include kilts, goggles, ornate watches, and occasionally wings. Circuitboard patterns may take the place of lace or filigree patterns in clothing. You also see pinstripes and rare fur trimming.

Gallery Serpetine with a sidetrip to Pennangalan
Here it comes together through Victorian goth outfits that liberally incorporate cybergoth materials and patterns. The clothing here is so elaborate that it has entered high fashion territory without really trying. It's a clear line from here to the high fashion trend above.

As for the average person in North America brave enough to give it a go, I can only think to point to Hot Topic outlets. Now is the time to visit, as their Halloween selection includes period clothing and accessories. Larger outlets may carry goth wear all year.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Loose pages

[Several loose pages are folded in half and fitted just behind the diary entries and sketches.

Upon closer inspection, the thickest appears to be a punched file for Zenmondo Wormser's ingenious quizophone invention. 'Caledon Quiz' is written in small, unassuming letters at the top.

The rest is a series of short entries under various headers spread across some six pages. Some of the listed entries look familiar if not famously so, but others draw a mental blank. Now, what would persuade a lady to write such a list? Most mysterious.]

Fire arrow sketches

Dear Diary,

To be quite clear, the sketches below are not of existing vehicles.

They're modifications of the local aesthetic based on my own patented "Fire Arrow" rockets. My rockets emit steam and require coal plus a bit of bottled oxygen to operate at full capacity. There's a hinged compartment on each model to accommodate the refuelling process and an outlet valve that that doubles as a steam whistle in case of temperature overload. I'm afraid I can't divulge my secret for reclaiming steam heat and channeling it back into the engine. ;)

Bringing my patented Fire Arrows to Caledon would require considerable resources. As a new arrival, I wouldn't even know where to start. But it's such a lark to dream big! Don't you agree?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

To new beginnings in Caledon

Oh, blessed shore! I feared the weeklong steamliner voyage to Caledon would never end.

Of course, I blame my friend Zenmondo Wormser for inspiring me to take the voyage. Our long distance epistollary conversations have gone on for many years now. We share a few rare interests and a certain eccentricity that is difficult to define precisely. When I was concerned he might be drifting away from himself, he began telling stories to the effect that he had found himself anew... in Caledon. Needless to say, my curiosity was piqued by his vivid descriptions.

My husband wishes me well on my 'Hello Kitty Island Adventure' - whatever that means! I've seen several islands on Caledon, but few felines of the natural variety. Anyway, Sir is perpetually away on his deranged safaris, often to defeat giant ogres or banish ghosts or hunt demons down. I followed him about for a spell, but I fear I'm ultimately unfit for such consistent madness. Where is Rationality and Sensibility, I ask you?

Apparently, it has been hiding in Caledon! Adventures certainly seem to occur here, but not as a matter of daily recourse. People are eminently sensible and polite, not to mention forward thinking. So I have applied for basic Caledonian citizenship by contacting Guvnah Desmond Shang. Sir Excalibur Longstaff has already granted me access to the local off-hours communion hall. My, but it seems there are a thousand introductions in order yet.

Though I would like to be more sociable, I fear my spare time will be quite limited. There is much to see yet, and my introverted nature renders me easily overwhelmed. I also have matters of my prior homestead to wrap up before I will be free to pursue my whimsy.

I truly have no idea whether my stay at Caledon will be brief or lengthy, nor whether my husband would approve of me creating a permanent homestead here. If I am sufficiently inclined, I shall insist upon Sir's sufferance. It's ultimately my home to keep, after all. But it is a matter of learning whether my interest in Caledon is fleeting or seeming eternal. For that, only time will tell.