Friday, December 9, 2011

Justin Bieber Steampunk Christmas Video

Did Justin Bieber effectively kill Steampunk for the rest of us?  The teeny bopper prince of junior pop has taken the look mainstream and happy for the masses.  While I love some of the sets and costumes, (kudos to the designers) I just feel that Steampunk was always a movement for artistic, edgier, fringe, visionaries or romantics.  The thought of Steampunk being something that will be mass-marketed by huge corporations is a little creepy to me.  Am I being cynical?  

What do you think of the video?  Watch it here and discuss...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Olivier Theyskens, Gothic to Couture

One of the most influential designers of our current times gave an informal talk at the Museum at F.I.T. recently.  Olivier Theyskens, at a young age was appointed creative director at the House of Rochas, followed by artistic director at legendary couture house, Nina Ricci.  He currently designs a caspule collection for Theory.

Refreshingly, Mr. Theyskens was charming and matter-of-fact.  He chose to show slides of the various things, abstract and practical that inspired him.  He described his humble beginnings, creating "Gothic extravaganzas" (pictured left) out of his grandparent's sheets.  On his own response to media questions about his "muse", he thinks to himself, "whoops..." at not having one prepared.  

For someone with such a lofty resume and impressive creative work, I expected a more pretentious, jaded man at the podium.  I expected a lengthy speech about his direction, work, and a lot of other self-absorbed stuff one expects of designers of his caliber.  

Instead, he described his favorite images, like the blue and mystery of one, how he was moved by the contrast of rough boots and ethereal dress of another with childlike awe and enthusiasm.   He frequently referred to his design team sitting in front of him and noted it was a collaborative effort.

I loved his response to a tough question from the audience.  Someone asked for his response to the theory that women are more qualified to design for women because they know what they need and like to wear.  He was not offended, and did not disagree.  Rather, he explained that yes, women absolutely know themselves more, but he designs from the view of what looks beautiful on them as an outside admirer. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Le Cabinet de Curiosites

 Stroll into a historical financial building in Tribeca and enter a macabre fantasy.  The New York Mercantile Exchange building is currently hosting an elegant, unusual exhibit presented by the Malborough and Steinitz galleries.

The unique show is the collaboration of artists, Thierry Despont, Manolo Valdes and Claudio Bravo.  The show is intended to be a multi-layered experience to evoke wonder in the viewer.  It features a mix of opulent antiques, like Napoleon Bonaparte's Empire table, giant preserved insects, fantasy creatures made of found objects, artfully arranged animal skulls.

Had I had to room to do so, I would have twirled around the floor, but the gallery was filled with the glitterati like Princess Firyal of Jordan and a Baroness...Maybe even aristocrats have a dark side...

The multiple rooms had the Gothic ambience of Victorian mystery and scientific whimsy of Steampunk.   Gilded, but aged walls.  Treasures with a dark edge.

The exhibit runs until January 31, 2012.  It is located on the 2nd floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange Building at 6 Harrison Street.  Admission is free and open to the public.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Snow White & The Huntsman Costume Style

I am totally geeked.  I admit it.  Along with millions and millions of fans on Twitter, I have to gush about how much I loved the new trailer for upcoming Snow White & the Huntsman movie.

It has an elegant, exciting, Goth/elegant looks to the production and costumes.  No surprise, my favorite costume designer, Colleen Atwood is behind the lush style of the wardrobe.  Charlize Theron, as the evil queen wears elaborate, sharp, intimidating ensembles that give new meaning to word fierce.  Kristen Stewart's Snow White is no wallflower.  She wears romantic, elegant period-esque gowns but transforms into a mighty warrior.

In an interview with MTV News, the designer describes . "Her costume evolves as the story unfolds," Colleen continued. "She runs away from a situation, and she's on the run for a long time, so as she's going, bits of it get torn away and it becomes a totally different animal by the time we get to another point in the movie. She has a couple other moments that are more 'costume' moments, but her basic costume—I think she wears it well, and I think it works really well in the parameters of the story."

Haven't seen the trailer yet?  Click here: 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lolitas and Gothic Lolitas at New York Comic-Con

I love New York Comic-con.  It's like Halloween came early, but with better cosplay and outfits.  There was no shortage of Lolitas and their darker counterpart, Gothic Lolitas.  There were several panels that addressed the nuances of the style and brought out a bunch of fashionable fans...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Steampunk Haunted House

What kind of haunted house guest are you?  Blood and gore?  Guts and psychological torture? New York City has plenty of that (with or without the haunted house).  If you want a little elegance and steampunk with your Halloween outing, look no further than Third Rail Project's Steampunk Haunted House.

For its third year, the theme of the show is "Through the Looking Glass".  A nightmarish version of the Alice in Wonderland tale.  You are taken through a journey through three floors of a century-old playhouse.  The experience is a mix of performance art, dance, rusty clockwork and neo-Victorian elegance.

This may not be the most terrifying haunted house in the city, but I'll place my bets that this is the most stylish.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Halloween Guide: Dracula's Ball Philadelphia

So what are YOU doing for Halloween?  If you're looking for sexy, vampy fun, check out the Dracula Ball in Philadelphia.  The chic band Psyche Corporation and The Last Dance are headlining.  The organizers have wickedly themed parties every few months, but Halloween is their big one.  As you can see from past event photos, the dress code ranges from fetish, to Goth, to inventive costumes. 

Besides the performers, expect music ranging from 1980's to New Wave, metal to world music.  All genres of vampire are welcome (Bela Lugosi or True Blood?).  Costumes and Gothic garb is not required, but it just wouldn't be as fun!  

 People from all over the country and overseas make the journey to this event.  Philadelphia in general is a great city for wicked fun. If you want some good scares at one of the most spookiest places in the U.S. check out the (truly) haunted house held at the historic Eastern State Penitentiary.  Admire the wall of Dia de los Muertos dioramas with a strong margarita and great food at one of my Philly faves, El Vez.  

Are you ready? Get dressed and go!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Edgar Allen Poe Red Velvet Cake

The weather is cooling down and I am indulging my love of baking. One of my favorite food blogs just posted a wickedly good red velvet cake...

Perfect for any Gothic gourmet gathering, Heather Baird of the baking blog Sprinkles Bakes has created a visual masterpiece honoring the dark author Edgar Allen Poe...

Check it out at

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gothic Lolitas at Betsey Johnson Spring 2012

Betsey Johnson has always stood for girly flirtatiousness.  She had a darker, more rock n' roll edge for Spring with playful takes on skulls and skeletons.  A rib cage was embroidered for a trompe l'oeil effect on corset dresses, a rose adorned skeleton was used in jackets and dresses as well.  A fun skull print was used on a few separates.

Black lace, corsets and jagged embroidery were used to great effect in other Lolita-like outfits.  Flamboyant personalities like Johnny Weir, Beth Ditto and Nicki Minaj flanked the front row of this audience.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Anachronism Steampunk: Visit to Edo in NYC

Legendary NYC nightclub, Webster Hall (it used to host the original Surrealist balls with Salvador Dali) hosted the Anachronism’s Steampunk: Visit to Edo event. 

The event had a fashion show, several music acts, dance, art demonstrations and even a cosplay burlesque showcase.   Vendors offered handcrafted Steampunk jewelry and fashion. 

Thirsty?  The cocktail menu was appropriately themed, ranging from the "Tesla Coil" and "Clockwork Lotus" and an entire section devoted to Absinthe.

Of course, the ensembles were the real stars of the venue.  Outfits of guests ranged from courtly Renaissance, to studious spectacled gentlemen.  Corseted kimonos were popular, with many ensembles made by hand by artists and crafters themselves.  My favorite of the day had to belong to Genevieve of the Goth/Steampunk band, Psyche Corporation, who co-sponsored the event.  She had a fantastic outfit crafted from vintage spindles and spools. 

The cosplay burlesque show was truly original, though the performances were definitely uneven.  Acts were inspired by everything from Cowboy Bebop, Bioshock’s Little Sister, Dr. Van Helsing, and disturbingly (on many counts) Freddy Krueger and Hannibal Lecter.  The definite favorite was the woman who based her act on the famous Japanese painting, “Fisherman’s Daughter” and ended the show with a provocative entanglement with a giant octopus…(Hentai fans anyone?)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Othelo Gervacio PostBoredom

The Fuse Gallery recently hosted a show by Othelo Gervacio in NYC.  The art was a mix of inky Gothic calligraphy, moody grim reapers.  Skulls incorporated into religious icons or poetic death images collaged on the walls.

The artist has a great blog on Tumblr showcasing his work as well as his passions.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

Gareth Pugh - Summer Rooftop Goth

NYC has been hit with record high temperatures and unbearable sun.  Those are not exactly the ideal conditions for Gothic fashionistas, but it didn't stop them from supporting Gareth Pugh's launch of his M.A.C. cosmetics collaboration.

The season-defying black-clad guests at the New Museum's patio enjoyed having their nails in done in various wicked shades of off-black.  Many wore the designer's label.  Pugh's nails himself were a witchy iridescent green and purple. Vampire-worthy crimson lips kissed cheeks while clueless pastel-clad tourists passed by below.

Gareth Pugh had previously collaborated with M.A.C. for his "Goddesses from the Grave" runway show in 2010.  One of the reasons the designer created this line was to that there would be a product with his aesthetic that was accessible to everyone (pricewise, style-wise, etc.)  The cosmetics packaging will be a special edition in his signature palette of black and grey and will hit stores in November.

Photos By Steve Eichner

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Comic-Con Cosplay - Raise Your Glass

If you're on the West Coast, San Diego Comic-Con has all the fanboys and girls all giddy with anticipation.  However, London's Comic-Con has set the bar really high...A fantastic viral music video of cosplay characters is making the rounds set to Pink's Raise Your Glass. 

I love the energy, the fun and above all costumes! Shadowcat is hot, and Jack Sparrow is almost too authentic...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Grange Hall - Urban Flower in Dallas, TX

Posh, chic and macabre.  Not exactly the style one would associate with Dallas, Texas.  However, if you find yourself down South, Urban Flower/Grange Hall is a must-shop store with a gorgeous collection of jewelry and home decor.  Witty porcelain skulls (with a gold tooth), delicate treatments on taxidermy, candelabras made from doll heads make an elegant addition to any Gothic home.

Intricately cast jewelry from great designers look great with your corseted fashion.  Owners Rajan Patel and Jeffrey Lee produce beautiful floral arrangements as florists, but the curated dark-tinged merchandise is chosen with a sense of humor earn them a loyal customer following.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gothic Fashion Bonanza at Wave Gotik Leipzig

It's one of the biggest displays of Gothic fashion in the world.  2000 20000 fans converged on Leipzig, Germany for Europe's most popular Gothic music festivals.  The most impressive spectacle of course, was the fashion on display last week.

Almost every sub-style was represented at Wave Gotik Music and Art Festival.  You had your romantics, your Renaissance and Victorian groups.  Cyber punk Goths mingled with Steampunks.  Lolitas were on board, along with new styles like Camo-Goth.   While black and red are the classic Goth palette, there many who used bright colors in their ensembles.  

photos by Carsten Koall, John MacDougall

Monday, June 6, 2011

Toronto Steampunk Exhibit - Difference Engineers: Reinventing Steampunk

Those of you who know Steampunk, know that it is a mix of history and science fiction.  Fans of this site love the aesthetic and beauty of the eras the costumes portray and marvel at the craftsmanship.  Fans of the literature love the historical detail and fantasy.  

How much do people really follow the science though?   Students of the Master of Museum studies degree at the University of Toronto have put together The Difference Engineers: The Origins and Development of the Steampunk Counterculture Movement at the Ontario Science Center.
The exhibit imagines an alternate history for downtown Toronto.  One where the skies are filled with "sky-seeing" trips from steam-powered airships while workshops produced clockwork robots next to ladies at afternoon tea.  

Some of the fashion offerings include Steampunk renditions of popular X-men characters.  More elaborate creations that mix function and style came in the form of the gear-filled glove below.  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Todd English's Cross Bar Restaurant

Looking for some Goth gourmet?  NYC has the best eateries for whatever you might want.  The big "nose to tail" trend of using the whole animal has come to Chef Todd English's Cross Bar.  The new restaurant is housed in the legendary former church turned Limelight Nightclub (now Limelight Marketplace).

The decor encompasses red leather, onyx crosses and wrought iron light fixtures throughout.  The food includes roasted suckling pig and gourmet snacks like caviar potato skins.  There will be two wine walls and three fireplaces.

photos by: Oleg March

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Savage Beauty: Alexander McQueen Exhibit at the Met

Shocking, visionary, artist, a true designer.  Alexander McQueen's death shocked and saddened many of the fashion world, but his creative legacy is eternal.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC launches Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty today.  The extensive exhibit is one of the most elaborate, dramatic tributes to a designer I have ever seen.

The exhibit opens with two mannequins in a darkened foyer.  One dressed in an ombre red feather gown, the other in a sculpted dress made of razor shells.  You then proceed into soaring black walled halls with antiqued gilded mirrors and horror movie sound effects.  The display of impeccably tailored black suits showed of McQueen's Savile Row background, but the rebellious variations of draping and corset finishing was all his vision.  This was the most sedate part of the exhibit.


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