Review: Steampunk Fashion by Spurgeon Vaughn Ratcliffe

Many people are confused on what Steampunk is. Basically, Steampunk is another branch of Sci-Fi that uses steam-based technology in a Victorian/Western/post-apocalyptic vintage setting. The same goes with the fashion of Steampunk culture. Some aspects have a technology look to it and some have a Victorian feel – and it’s taking the world by storm!

I was looking to create an outfit with a Steampunk look and needed inspiration. I looked through various websites and movies to get ideas, but then I came across this book Steampunk Fashion by fashion journalist and designer Spurgeon Vaugh Ratcliffe. This book introduces costumers/cosplayers their creations and their contributions to the Steampunk culture.

The book features leather mask maker Tom Banwell and the story of how he started designing Steampunk-themed gas masks – including photos of his famous bird-inspired mask: Dr. Beulenpest – Steampunk Plague Doctor Mask. His use of leather in his creations are visually stunning and makes it look impossible to recreate (and I’m guessing it is very difficult).

This book features Steampunk jewelry, fashion, props and conceptual designs from the most popular Steampunk cosplayers/artists and their stories of how they became involved. The book features 21 designers and artists – including Impero London, Steampunk Couture, Mechanical Mirage and Lost Legends – just to name a few. There are samples of their work and also information on where you can purchase some of these creations (some are featured on the craft website – Etsy).

There were so many beautiful designs and inspiration for my costume. One of my favorite sections was the vintage Victorian look of Purpuratum. The designer’s inspiration comes from the designs of “Vionnet, Dior, Alexander McQueen and, of course, Steampunk itself.” Not all the designers are the same. There are different types of looks within Steampunk fashion and all of them are featured in this book.

As a person looking for inspiration for a costume, this book is definitely needed. I would consider it as a guide to Steampunk fashion and the designers in the genre. If you want to be “in the know” regarding Steampunk Fashion, I recommend this book.

Grade: A+

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