Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gold Steampunk in San Francisco

So Etiquette & Espionage (my new YA book and the first in a four book series) launched into the world on Tuesday night. The organizers of the event said they woudl love it if I would wear something steampunk. I was left with a bit of a quandary. With Nova Albion around the corner, a local steampunk event thus allowing me to pack and wear ALL my favorite steampunk outfits and ALL their companion parasols (YES!!), I didn't want to wear one of those to this event. Too much repeat in too story a time. Plus I needed something I could drive in that was a little more casual. I'm rather chuffed with myself for concocting this outfit:

Outfit front & back

 Outfit side shots

I started with my Fashioned By Flobért gold robe carriage dress (which might, more properly, be called a coach dress) with buttons all the way up the front.

 The dress hanging, and at World Con in Reno in 2011

The dress is stained and slightly faded, in a heavy satin. This makes it only suitable for low-light late evening events, and warm, and in ever great need of ironing. I bought it on sale for $10, it needed repairs and new buttons all up the front. I have a great source for vintage buttons in Petaluma and I sourced 32 abalone shell replacements for $10 plus narrowing every single button hole. It was quite the task. I do like the architectural details in the bodice. I'm now in possession of a nice wide belt, which I'll be wearing with it in future when it's not all steampunked. It did steampunk nicely though, didn't it?

It actually has a bit of a train, so the front hem is shorter than the back, which shows off the shoes and looks ever so slightly bustle-like with the waist cinch. It's very robe like, not surprising as it turns out Fashioned By Flobért was mainly a boudoir designer.

Similar styles:
 1930s Elsa Schiaparelli  Kerry Taylor Auctions; 1970s Halston

 1940s Dress  Charles James for Elizabeth Arden  The Frock

I paired my Flobert with patchwork boots and long dark red vintage gloves inherited from my Grandmother.

The boots, Kenneth Cole, from Buffalo Exchange, Berkeley some 20 years ago, $20. 
I was so poor at the time my best friend bought them for me.

I also wore this little octopus necklace. I like to have octopus on my person somewhere.

Adorable octopus necklace, gift from a reader

The hat from my Autumn steampunk outfit, and when I'm not facing a windy San Francisco night I susually perch it far forward on my head.

Signing with the hat and a perched spinner from VivianWestwood SS runway

Christian Dior Haute Couture 2010 and a very cool hat on one of the guest!

I was reminded of this recent photo shoot in Restoration Hardware.

Along with the accessories I wore my custom stripped Dark Garden pointed waist cinch as a Swiss Waist with Ruby Blackbird Corset buttons to make it look more belt like. I was drawing on this kind of thing for inspiration.

 1910-1915 Motoring Ensemble, The FIDM Museum; 1896-1899  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 1900 Ball Gown  The Metropolitan Museum of Art; screen cap from the Pallisers

So there you have it! Another event, another outfit.

Before you ask, the waist cinch is 22" but I don't have it laced fully down.

Something in this vein for the characters?

For Professor Briathwope in Etiquette & Espionage:

1850s Men’s Dressing Gown  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Ivy:
1885  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Prudence:

1895 Dress  Museo del Traje

By Cake Central member CakeDiva11

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.


  1. Fabulous! (As always) I'll be looking for this one. :)

  2. OMG! You're wearing the necklace I sent! I'm so pleased you like it. And I have serious boot envy.

    1. Yes, thank you! It went perfectly with the outfit. And I do love those boots, I got them ages ago at Buffalo Exchange in Berkeley.


If you are using LJ to comment, it may not work.