Pack Rat is now powered by steam…coming off the top of our hot cocoa
Last Saturday saw the first annual Steam Punk Theme Show at the Brooklyn Indie Market. We broke out the camera and headed to Smith Street to catch the action. Due to traffic, we rolled in right at 2 pm, just in time for the fashion show. The small red and white circus tent setup in Carroll Gardens was jam packed with spectators and looky-loos, but even though it was five past, there was no ethereal music, no trussed up men and women marching down the catwalk, no murmur from the crowd. What gives? we asked ourselves.
Politely as possible, we pushed toward the front. There a young man dressed in a long, black, wool coat; pocket watch; and vest (and don’t worry, those of you who are faint of heart. I am sure he was wearing some kind of pants as well, but I didn’t get an opportunity to see them) was pacing the catwalk, describing the history of the modern Steam Punk movement and it’s fashion sensibility. I discovered, after the fact, that this dapper young man was G.D. Falksen, resident aficionado and master’s candidate studying, among other things, the Steam Punk movement.
Although the information that Mr. Falksen relayed sounded pretty interesting, I only caught about half of it, as he was pacing up and down the catwalk as he spoke, and his voice drifted off as he moved away from where we were standing. Also, he did go on a bit, and after a while most of us in the crowd were shifting our weight and checking our watches. I mean, history is all well and good, but we came for fashion, damn it!
Fortunately for us, a few people in front got tired of waiting and shuffled out. We tried to sneak in as close as possible, when finally, the music started and Victorian styled gowns paired with modern day accessories, velveteen jackets with aviator pants, and huge, Dark Crystal-looking headpieces all came down the run way. There was one outfit in particular that I adored: an electric indigo gown with billowing hood which, once the model pulled it down, revealed a shocking red lining and also an avian headpiece. There are a few pictures below, but I will warn that because of the crowd jostling, they are a bit out of focus.
Now, one thing I did manage to catch from Falksen, is that there is a fine line between Victorian costume and Steam Punk fashion (the definition of the latter seeming to hinge on whether it involves something technological) . However, after watching the show and eyeing our fellow market-goers, I would say that the fine line is actually between Steam Punk fashion and plain old Hot Topic Gothika. Some things, like floppy crochet wristlets, and boob smooshing corsets were boring at best and tacky at worst. But pleasantly, there were also a strong handful of stand-outs from the crowd.
The aptly named SteamedPunk.com crew were plying their wares, including their assortment of “Cranial Protective Apparatus,” or army helmets adorned with gears and cogs. While their merch was a little costume-y, it did have a great sense of humor and an honest, eye-catching quality that set them apart. Also, Ami Nyitray Designs had a wonderfully captivating curio collection of alligator heads in glass jewelry boxes, daguerreotype necklaces, and tunics silk screened with an assortment of creepy crawlies.
To sum up, like any counter culture movement, some of the Steam Punk members had more interesting points of view then others, but overall, it was a great way to shake up a rainy afternoon in Brooklyn.
As a side note: if you are ever in the area, we have to recommend the cupcakes at Downtown Atlantic Bakery, at 364 Atlantic Ave. I got the chocolate cake with chocolate ganache icing and pink and orange sprinkles, and Paul got the yellow cake and vanilla butter cream icing. They were both DIVINE and so huge that I couldn’t even finish mine in one sitting (which says a lot for me).
And (last thing, I swear) while you’re shopping indie at the market and cramming your face full of cupcake, top off your day by wandering down to 108 Wyckoff St. and you will see the most delightful house, completely covered in mosaic from garden path to second story window. It was enough burst of color to break through the gray of our rainy day.