18 May 2013
It is easy to understand why Wave Gotik Treffen is considered one of the most important events for the goth (and steamgoth!) scene worldwide. An overwhelming concerts agenda, countless leisure activities, visitors from everywhere and a friendly environment are more than enough to reach this objective.
I just wanted to drop a line to share with you a handful of pictures of our stall (these photos were taken with my mobile so do not expect high quality). As you can see, its decoration is quite sober… but we needed to travel light from Madrid to Leipzig by plane.
Decimononic stall at Wave Gotik Treffen 2013
We are meeting some amazing people here (kudos to the charming team of Psylo Fashion) and I even had the opportunity to greet Captain Robert from Abney Park this morning, this is what happens in this kind of amazing festivals.
We are very pleased to provide you with our sterling silver jewelry handmade in Spain… with Steampunk flavour, industrial nature and singular spirit. If you have the opportunity, feel free to drop by and say hi!
Many thanks for your support!
Updated by JF ALFAYA
15 May 2013
1.- The interviewee
G. D. Falksen is an author, lecturer, public speaker, and MC. He also studies history and blogs for Tor.com. While his repertoire spans a range of topics, he is currently most noted for his steampunk work and is one of the most recognizable figures in the steampunk literary genre and the related subculture. He is the author of The Hellfire Chronicles series, which includes Blood In The Skies and Ash On The Wind, and the Ouroboros Cycle series.
2.- Steampunk as literary genre and… subculture?
Q.- Your article ‘Steampunk 101’ is one of the most popular introductory pieces to the genre. You begin this blog post stating that ‘in three short words, steampunk is Victorian science fiction’. This may be an excellent way to describe Steampunk in a few words, but we would like to go a bit further. We could not help but notice that your official bio goes ‘he is currently most noted for his steampunk work and is one of the most recognizable figures in the steampunk literary genre and the related subculture’. In your opinion, is there a real Steampunk subculture at present?
G. D. Falksen (G. D.).- Yes, I feel that there is absolutely a steampunk subculture. Steampunk fans have developed a very real and thriving worldwide community with a shared sense of identity and common interests. Steampunk has fashion and music, art and literature, and I think it truly can be called a subculture.
Q.- In 2011 we wrote a blog post entitled ‘Steampunk raison d’être: it’s all about values’. Which values do you think that could be considered characteristic of Steampunk?
G.D.- Obviously specifics will vary from person to person, but I there is very much a shared love of art, history, and craftsmanship. In my experience, fans of steampunk are polite and creative, and they believe in getting along with others.
The Ouroboros Cycle: A Monster’s Coming-Of-Age Story
Q.- Your most recent novel, The Ouroboros Cycle Book One: A Monster’s Coming-Of-Age Story is receiving really positive reviews and we know that you are very satisfied with the result. When will the next book of the cycle, A Cautionary Tale For Young Vampires, see the light? Is there any other forthcoming release that we should keep in mind?
G.D.- A Cautionary Tale For Young Vampires is planned for release in 2014, and the third book in the series will follow in 2015.
Q.- The Ouroboros Cycle Book One: A Monster’s Coming-Of-Age Story is a fully illustrated paranormal adventure with vampires, werewolves, cults, science, intrigue… has anyone told you that this could be very close to Steamgoth?
G.D.- I like to describe A Monster’s Coming-Of-Age Story as a paranormal adventure story, so it certainly draws upon influences such as Victorian Gothic and classic adventure tales along with historical fiction.
Q.- Due to our attendance to Wave Gotik Treffen 2013 we have been exploring Steamgoth recently. As historian, you have paid attention to the darker side of the Victorian era in the past, for example with articles like ‘Steampunk and History’. Do you think that there could be room for the development of Steamgoth as autonomous movement?
G.D.- It’s certainly a possibility. It really depends on whether people interested in both steampunk and Gothic themes feel the need to develop a distinct subculture rather than existing as fans of both genres. And honestly, that’s entirely their decision: there’s neither a right nor a wrong choice in that regard. Though there is certainly ample room for exploring the darker side of the Victorian Era in steampunk.
Q.- You have been speaker in many events and lecturing is a frequent activity in your agenda; fortunately there is no need to choose but, if you had to do it, which Steampunk event would be absolutely indispensable for you?
G.D.- I honestly would feel wrong playing favorites. There are just so many wonderful ones out there.
Q.- We know that you have experience working for the videogame industry. Knowing that developing videogames is almost script writing, may we expect any future project for the cinema industry? If you had the chance to see one of your literary works transformed into a movie, which one would be the perfect choice?
G.D.- It’s always a possibility, but my primary focus has always been prose fiction. So while I expect I will do more script work at some point in my career, I don’t think it will ever eclipse my novel-writing work. If I were to have any of my current works adapted into film right now it would definitely be The Ouroboros Cycle. It’s been the result of over ten years of work and I would love to see a really good movie adaptation of it at some point.
3.- The importance of Steampunk jewelry
Q.- You have a very active presence in social media, making the most of these resources to communicate with your fans and share your inspiration sources (like we do). A glance at your Pinterest account, for example, will suffice to realize that you a pay meticulous attention to the detail and it is also obvious that jewelry has a place in the universes you create. How should Steampunk jewelry be from your point of view?
G.D.- I think it’s important that people realize and appreciate the level of fine detail and adornment that existed in the 19th and early 20th centuries. For fans of steampunk, I think jewelry really is an incredible accessory option that should definitely be explored. In addition to staples like earrings, rings, and necklaces, tie/cravat pins and lapel pins are wonderful options.
Oruroboros Cycle | Illustrations by Lawrence Gullo
Q.- ‘If you’re afraid that your outfit is “too Victorian” you’re probably doing it right’, you said in 2008. We agree with you and think that 19th century jewelry should be point of departure for Steampunk-inspired jewels. Which other influences would you point out?
G.D.- I quite agree. Jewelry has the ability to tie an outfit together in wonderfully subtle ways. More generally, I think all forms and styles of 19th century fashion should be kept in mind. In addition to suits and dresses, there are shoes to be considered, hats, gloves, eyeglasses, ties, scarves, etc. My advice has always been to “start Victorian and then add” when constructing a steampunk outfit. Find historical imagery that you like and would like to copy, then modify for embellish to taste.
Q.- Would you dare to describe Steampunk jewelry with a single word?
G.D.- I always hesitate to describe anything so complex and diverse in only a single word, but if I were to try I would probably say “elegance”.
Q.- Would you tell us a bit about the ‘Falksen Fox Charm’? Have you ever considered the possibility of designing jewelry?
G.D.- The fox has always been a favorite animal of mine and its symbolism as a clever trickster creature is just so appealing. When I was speaking with RockLove about doing a charm associated with me, the fox was the obvious choice.
Q.- Do you think that there is a place for Steampunk fine jewelry?
G.D.- No doubt about it. The wonder, creativity, and beauty inherent in steampunk makes fine jewelry a natural fit.
Q.- Some of your portrayals are among the most popular images to represent the Steampunk aesthetics and anyone can clearly see that you care about your attire. We are convinced that jewelry for men deserves to be brought into focus (this is why we designed our Sky Captain Series, nominated to this year’s Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Awards). Should jewelry for men receive more attention?
G.D.- One of the tragedies about modern fashion is that men are often discouraged from taking pride in their appearance. But historically men have always cared greatly about their appearance and have worn jewelry and accessories. Just going back to the 19th century, it was normal for men to adorn themselves with watches, rings, tie pins, and lapel pins, and I would love to see them revived today.
Q.- May jewelry for men recover the importance that it had in other periods of history?
G.D.- I certainly hope so.
Q.- Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to exchange opinions with you, just one last question to bring this interview to an end. Is there anything else you would like to add?
G.D.- I’d like to encourage people to explore the things that they love. Steampunk is such a large and diverse topic that there really is room for every fan to find what they love about it.
Disclaimer.- The opinions or statements expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of Decimononic.
4.- Next interviewee!
On the 15th of June we are publishing the interview for Aleksei Sigaev, a master jeweler who lives in Moscow. He is a member of the Creative Union of Artists of Russia and the winner of the National Competition in Jewelry Design “Golden Constellation” 2002. In addition, he is very well known for his ‘modding’ skills. He is an active member of the Russian ‘Steampunk’ community and many of his creations can be found at Steampunker.ru.
Remember that all the published interviews are available for your delight: ‘Steampunk jewelry tonight with…’ the brief interviews series by Decimononic.
Updated by JF ALFAYA
4 May 2013
As we have previously explained, modern fashion is based on 19th century fashion. Goth and Steampunk styles are not exceptions to this… perhaps ‘discovering brown’ is not so important?
6.1.- 19th century fashion: the importance of mourning
In March 1861, Victoria’s mother died, with Victoria at her side. By the beginning of December, Prince Albert was diagnosed with typhoid fever and died on 14 December 1861. Victoria was devastated. She entered a state of mourning and wore black for the remainder of her life. Queen Victoria avoided public appearances and rarely set foot in London in the following years. Her seclusion earned her the name ‘widow of Windsor’.
Queen Victoria was the model for upper and middle-class behavior during 19th century. This meant that there was social pressure to make grief public. Then a man, as breadwinner, had to get on with life and resume his working uniform; for this reason, the woman, guardian of the home, tradition and all that was sacred, was expected to act out the family’s sorrow and wear its livery.
As we explained in this blog post entitled ‘Ornamental hair jewelry’, a Victorian woman could spend a great deal of her life wearing black:
For the Victorians death was a common and accepted part of everyday life. Because of high mortality rates, death and mourning became a way of life for survivors: houses were filled with mementos and after the loved one had actually passed, women were expected to follow a complex code of mourning that lasted for two and a half years.
In the ideal world of the etiquette books, the woman mourner was sequestered at home, and widows went out only to church. The mourning material was crepe (sometimes spelled crape), a silk fabric chemically treated to achieve a crimped surface. Crepe was favored because it didn’t reflect light; anything shining or sparkling connoted richness and festivity, out of place when honoring the dead. Other dull silky fabrics called bombazine and paramatta were good alternatives, but lacked the scary immediacy of crepe.
Said The Manners of Good Society, 1893:
The regulation period for a widow’s mourning is two years; of this period crape should be worn for one year and nine months, for the first 12 months the dress should be entirely covered with crape, for the remaining nine months it should be trimmed with crape, heavily so the first six months, and considerably less the remaining three; during the last three months black without crape should be worn. After the two years two months half-mourning is prescribed…
Mourning attire was the perfect way to show the wealth and respectability of a woman. Some went so far as to dress their servants for mourning when the head of the household passed away. Middle and lower class women would go to great lengths to appear fashionable in times of mourning. However, most average people probably didn’t have the resources or the social pressure to mourn expensively with strict propriety. Women with lesser financial means tried to keep up with the example being set by the middle and upper classes by dyeing their daily dress. Dyers made most of their income during the Victorian period by dyeing clothes black for mourning
In previous eras the colour had been in fashion for periods, in fact Spaniards introduced black into English courts in the 16th century. The early Victorians mainly associated black with mourning, but as Victoria continued to wear it, the colour started to be adopted by the mainstream as a fashionable colour. Beyond mourning, a lot of black clothing was made in the 19th century. To qualify as a specialized mourning article, an antique clothing garment had to be more than black; it had to fulfill the rules of etiquette.
An average woman could expect to have a good dress possibly once in 10 years. If she had any smarts she would made it from a strong, long-lasting black fabric. Black was practical and versatile; it could be worn almost everywhere and with everything, and it didn’t show dirt. Even clothes made in other colors could be dyed black to cover spots, fading and alterations as clothes were handed on and worn out. And people never knew when they might have to mourn or attend a funeral, so it was best to be prepared.
Bonus.- in 1866, Victoria developed a curious relationship with a Scottish servant of her household named John Brown, a Scottish highlander who had been in service to the Queen for several years as a horse attendant. Slanderous rumours of a romantic connection and even a secret marriage appeared in print, and the Queen was referred to, jokingly, as ‘Mrs Brown’. Much gossip surrounded their unusual relationship. Some Britons said that he was acting as her spiritual medium, continually contacting Prince Albert from the beyond… but we have talked already about about Spiritualism.
6.2.- Steamgoth fashion: Dark Beauty
6.2.1.- The meaning of wearing black
Wearing black clothing has often taken on a social significance and it has become a real statement in many cases. Black clothing recalls clergy and asceticism, and for more than 500 years wearing black signified bereavement in Europe and America.
Black dyes were terribly expensive during the Middle Ages; in fact, wealthy Spanish gentlemen wore black velvet to display status and mourning attire was limited to people of the highest social strata. Furthermore, sumptuary laws established rules for dress and the practice of wearing black during bereavement. This prevented the lower classes to follow this trend until the 18th century, when mourning dress became more or less ordinary.
In the 18th century the ability to afford expensive fabrics and fashions was no longer limited to the aristocracy, due to the economic development of the European economy and the middle-class citizens. As explained before, black clothing became all the rage in the 19th century thanks to Queen Victoria, as she and her daughters were the fashion models of the later 1800s to early 1900s. ‘Coco Chanel really popularised black as a fashion in the early 1920s, but it was kick started by Queen Victoria’, says Butchart.
6.2.2.- Haute Couture, Goth, Steampunk
Although there is no doubt that goth subculture has punk roots, classic romantic, gothic and horror literature has played a significant role in its evolution. Nevertheless Goth attire styles are often borrowed from the Elizabethan, Victorian or medieval period.
As noted by researcher Maxim W. Furek, ‘Goth is a revolt against the slick fashions of the 1970s disco era and a protest against the colorful pastels and extravagance of the 1980s. Black hair, dark clothing and pale complexions provide the basic look of the Goth Dresser. One can paradoxically argue that the Goth look is one of deliberate overstatement as just a casual look at the heavy emphasis on dark flowing capes, ruffled cuffs, pale makeup and dyed hair demonstrate a modern-day version of late Victorian excess’.
In the later part of the first decade of the 21st century, designers such as Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, Ann Demeulemeester, Rodarte, Hedi Slimane, John Richmond, John Galliano, Olivier Theyskens, and Yohji Yamamoto brought elements of goth to runways. This trend was baptized as ‘Haute Goth’ by Cintra Wilson in the New York Times, who defends the thesis that ‘the origins of contemporary goth style are found in the Victorian cult of mourning’.
We would like to bring back up this video… ‘Haute Couture & Steampunk Fashion’.
And now, just a handful of pictures… may this be considered Steamgoth? Judge by yourself and let us know what you think!
Photo: Lip Creative Studio | Model: Angélica Elfic | Costume: Elfic Wear
Photo by SoulStealer.co.uk | Yaksha I | Taken at Gala Nocturna – The Virgin Queen, Antwerp, Belgium, February 2011
Photo/Edition: RebecaSaray with Pentax645D & Bowens | Model: Lorena Lopez | Make-up: Hugo | Corset Necklace: El Costurero Real | Fascinator, Patch and Necklace: Rs Love | Goggles: Factoria goggles
Photo: Lip Creative Studio | Model: Angélica Elfic | Costume: Elfic Wear
Photo by SoulStealer.co.uk | The Steampunk Source | Steampunk At The Seaside, Camber Sands, UK, March 2013
Photo/Edition: Rebeca Saray with Pentax645D & Bowens | Model: Action ActionMan Misterios Submarinos | Styling: El Costurero Real
At this point we do hope that you have found this introduction to Steamgoth enlightening. If so, feel free to share it and leave your feedback, so that other aficionados to Steampunk have access to it.
Have you read the complete introduction? Many thanks then for your time and interest! If you have not had de chance to do it yet, you can read further through the links below.
Remember that this introduction to SteamGoth is divided into six parts:
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- 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
Updated by JF ALFAYA
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Alfaya posted a comment on Amoelbarroco & Decimononic present... Fortune teller!Many thanks Lauren, if you like these photos you will love the results our collaboration with El Costurero Real! II Photo Maraton http://www.decimononic.com/blog/el-costurero-real-ii-photo-marathon
2012 has been a formidable year for Decimononic... but 2013 looks even better! Take a peek at our expectations and at our '2012 Selection' video :)Decimononic Selection 2012 You will find in this video a selection of fine jewelry pieces designed and created by Decimononic in 2012. Photo and video by Decimononic crew. Addi ...
Alfaya posted a comment on Amoelbarroco & Decimononic present... Fortune teller!Thank so much for your kind comment, Lady Soderstrom We have some new projects in mind, stay tunned!
Quote: Yes , really good collection and have nice appearance too. They are really looking more elegant than i have imagines. Can give the cool looks to men easily. Many thanks! You are probably going to like our new Sky Captain series. This set includes sterling silver lapel pin, tie bar and cufflinks. May it be pure Steampunk jewelry for gentlemen? ;)
Decimononic and Amoelbarroco present: Fortune Teller 2012 What can happen if Amoelbarroco and Decimononic join forces? This is the result, Amoelbarroco aesthetics with a pinch of Decimononic style. May this b ...
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Alfaya created new blog entry Amoelbarroco & Decimononic present... Fortune teller! in Fashion, Gear & GadgetsWe have known the Spanish fashion designer Viveka Goyanes for many years. She explores the intersections between fashion and art through her alter ego Amoelbarroco. As we share common interests, we started to think about further collaboration possib ...
This blog features contents about Decimononic, a creative experiment that has one purpose... empowering you through one-of-a-kind fine jewelry inspired by Steampunk and other retrofuturisms, Art Nouveau, XIX Century, ancient civilizations and much mo ...