I’ve been noticing, over the past few months, several things both remarkable and related. Maybe even a trend. I’ve seen references to “steampunk“, as a fashion, nay, a life style. Words like artisanal, handmade, workshop, applying not only to cheeses. Wedding invitations in the style of old saloon slash rock ‘n’ roll posters. Even the love shown my dear Mulholland Brothers bag and its turn of the previous century air. I kept thinking, hmm, hmm, hmm, this is something.
Well, today the New York Times concurs. The late 1800’s are where it’s at.
“As with home design, where curio cases, taxidermy and other stylish clutter of the Victorian era have been taken up by young hipsters, many of today’s popular men’s styles have their roots in the late 19th century.”
And it’s not just the men.
Bloggers say it best. Audi at Fashion for Nerds tells us what “steampunk” is, and goes it one better by wearing a corset to work. Hollister Hovey and her sister wear old-fashioned military-style coats in Prague. Purchased at Forever 21. James, at secret forts, shows image upon image of men making bags and shirts by hand. Turns out that “indie style,” (here I point you to east side bride, and etsy of course) may not fall too far from the nostalgia-for-earlier-eras tree. The, we don’t like machines, nor glitz, nor foreign manufacture, tree. That one.
Ironically, just as we leave behind our own turn of the century excesses, we fall in love with workaday artifacts of an earlier Age of Innocence. And so, I suppose, my little hunt for a buffalo plaid shirt was perhaps just part of this larger wave. A wave heading towards mainstream America, by the way. Watch out for suspenders. Wait, I mean braces.
Now that the jacket is real, and not a fantasy of an earlier, simpler, woolier day, do I have the same urge to acquire? Or was I, are we all, hipsters and traditionalists alike, channeling a zeitgeist that cannot, in fact, provide the imagined comfort?
I read the Times article this morning and started this post. When I came to finish writing later, I saw that both the steampunk site, and Hollister, had already taken note. OK. Compelling sub-groups are excited. Are we?