Neo-Victorian Design: Steampunk Fashion, Art and Decor


Steampunk design adds whimsy to Victorian decor. If you wonder what we mean by “Steampunk,” click here to learn more. If you’re curious about how a literary subgenre become a home decor style, read on.


vintage art prints

Below right: “I’m an antique-oholic,” says artist Alexandra Wolf, who uses vintage art prints and book pages to create prints and ceramics. To learn more about her work or to purchase one of her creations, visit (Photo and design by Alexandra Wolf).



In spite of film’s importance to the Steampunk movement, Jeff Vandermeer calls fashion the “missing link between Steampunk literature and the rise of the subculture.” Once fashion designer Kit Stolen began making and wearing Victorian-style clothing and calling it “Steampunk,” it was only a matter of time before Steampunk clothing design found its way into the arts and, ultimately, interior design. Jewelry maker Jema Hewitt describes the Steampunk design aesthetic as “the elegance of form and the combining of the unusual with the beautiful.” The hallmarks of Neo-Victorian fashion—goggles, fingerless gloves, pocket watches and spats—found a platform with artist Jake von Slatt’s online “Steampunk Workshop,” where artists can show off and discuss their works’ rivets and gears.

Steampunk artists also found a platform via the Steampunk art exhibition that ran at the Oxford Museum of the History of Science in 2009-2010. Artists from America, Australia, Japan, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and the U.K. displayed their work at this revered institution—adding an intellectual element to the movement and pushing Steampunk art and design into the mainstream consciousness. Since then, countless events have spread the Neo-Victorian aesthetic worldwide, including the Mobilis in Mobili and Steampunk House exhibitions in 2011, both of which showcased artist Bruce Rosenbaum’s work. For Rosenbaum, “Steampunk design is about infusing the best of two worlds—marrying form and function—to preserve the past while making our future.”


Steampunk Fashion

“Steamers” enjoying the annual Steampunk World’s Fair in Piscataway, New Jersey, in 2012; to learn more, visit (Photo courtesy of The Steampunk World’s Fair).


As Steampunk crafters Sarah and Jenny Nunnink say, “Steampunk design embodies both masculine and feminine style, balancing the hard lines and industrial look of the Machine Age with the softer edges of the Victorian era.”

To learn more about the evolution of Steampunk for literary genre to lifestyle, read “Te Steampunk Bible” by Jeff Vandermeer and S. J. Chambers, published by Abrams Image, click here.

Get in on the fun of decorating in Steampunk style by creating your own time capsule–you’ll find all the instructions you need in our next post.

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by Elaine K. Phillips



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