I am fascinated by all things Steampunk. So of course I had to design and create a special ensemble for American Girl.
For those of you who may not be familiar with Steampunk, Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, and speculative fiction. Steampunk involves a setting where steam power is still widely used—usually Victorian era Britain—that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or more recently Philip Pullman and China Mieville. There is much more about the genisus and philosophy of the Steampunk movement at Wikipedia.
One of the most noticeable aspects of steampunk technology is its sheer improbability. Strange devices abound, and often they don't have any immediately discernible purpose. In a world like Second Life, it's easy to assume that whatever it is is only there to look cool. However, in a well-crafted novel or movie, one has to assume a background to such objects, assume that they do something and that someone knows what that is, that someone in fact designed this improbable conglomeration of steel and brass and steam. In Girl Genius, a steampunk webcomic, the heroine at one point builds a device composed of "the fencing clank, part of the wrecked flying machine, bits of the furnace and the mechanical orchestra, [another character's] good lathe, and a pneumatic nutcracker" - in her sleep. The fact that one has to take that sort of thing seriously is part of what makes steampunk seem so outrageous sometimes.
H. G. Wells would be proud—steampunk fashion has emerged from relative obscurity. By remixing styles from the Victorian era, classic Goth, gypsy, and industrial fetish, steampunk fashion creates a unique and beautifully disturbing look. (Thanks to Steampunk Fashion Resources and More and The Steampunk Workshop for an in depth discovery of Steampunk Fashion. Visit their sites to learn more.).
I searched the web for inspiration for my creation and below are some of the outfits that contributed to my design:
My Steampunk Ensemble for American Girl Dolls.
The design elements of this look that I believe reflect the Steampunk style are the clockfaces, the chain, the high boots, the hat and the overall Victorian feel of the dress.
I throughly enjoyed this project and am very proud of the final result. If you want to see more, there are more pictures at my store, CSBSEWS Doll Clothes. (Update: This item is sold)