Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away, I was a little bit goth and had the desire to add a touch steam punk to my attire. (I also had bright blue hair for a week. My hairdresser was only impressed by his inability to do anything to dampen the colour, not the fact that I did it in a fit of “sure, why not!”. We ended up going the full chop in the end. Melancholy face.) Sadly, the funds available to me at the time meant I had limited access to the frocks and accessories needed to fulfil my Victorian dreams. I didn’t want cheap knock offs, I wanted the full velvet and silk experience and lacked the skills to create over the bust corsetry and bustles for my skirts in the year 2000.
A girl can dream though, and to this day my love for steam punk and goth continue, and I try to weave elements in where I can without being too obvious. And then some days I am a little more obvious, when I’m feeling adventurous or am attending a special event (Hi Trent, yes this dress was for you. Cursty!) . It’s interesting how self conscious one feels when stepping out in more of a costume than everyday wear. I find it frustrating that it draws so much attention, when my reason for dressing up is for me, not for others. I believe a lady should be able to go bonnet to boots Victorian without having to explain herself to the common folk. Although I am happy to talk about the making of and inspiration behind my outfits. Which leaves me in a rather silly position… So take your chances and ask me! There is only a 50/50 chance I will bite.
So it was with much delight that I found the Antipoedian Steam Punk exhibition in Melbourne, through a page that actually managed to turn up in the rather hit and miss feed of the dreaded FB. One day I will travel to Sydney to call upon Gallery Serpentine and Clockwork Butterfly, but until then I Internet stalk and attend exhibitions.
I had decided early in the morning that I wouldn’t go as I had already postponed several times and the weather was rather inclement on Friday, but I obviously forgot because I found myself on the train to Melbourne at 9.30. Lucky too, as the exhibition closed yesterday and I would have been very upset to have missed it.
There is such novelty in attending an exhibition by oneself, without having to worry about little creatures or bored partners. It meant I was able to give the couple ahead of me a very stern look for making too much inane conversation (shakes head and puts blunt fork away in purse whilst taking a deep breath) and start at the end and weave my way to the beginning by myself.
The exhibition was held in a beautiful building called Tasma Terrace in East Melbourne near Parliament, across three floors, and was beautifully dark and gothic. Rooms filled with hand made crafts, brass hearts and wings, clockwork mechanisms, bones, velvet and corsetry, gears and cogs, time machines and mp3 music players.
My dress, whilst not steam punk, is made from a Victorian fabric for the skirt and a 1930’s block print for the bodice. It’s the first time this dress has ventured out and not attended a child’s party, so the tiara was left at home. It was fitting considering the age of the fabric and that I have put my corset in a safe place, and was unable to a find it on my last hunt. Why do I insist on safe places when I can never remember them!
Such talented artists making these wonderful crafts by hand. If only I had participated in metal work at high school…