curious oddities

A window to the retro-future

If you find yourself in downtown Toronto, be sure to stop by Malabar Costumes at 14 McCaul Street, they currently have the most fabulous Steampunk window displays. Delightfully inspiring!

Malabar Steampunk window 1

Malabar steampunk window 2

Bustles, and Gaiters, and Ruffs! Oh, My!
June 29, 2008, 1:46 pm
Filed under: Steampunk | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Now, I consider myself to be fairly sensible and practical in my daily wardrobe choices. That said,  I must admit that sometimes I truly enjoy getting very uncomfortable for fashion. I don’t mean a push-up bra and heels to go out for a nice dinner. I mean extremely, frivolously uncomfortable: laced, lifted, cinched, compressed, extruded and exaggerated.

Rudman’s sumptuous felted Victorian collar

While the corset has been included in every decade’s fashion line-up, the glorious bustle has rarely been Miss Bunny Bustle Skirtseen (except perhaps on John Galliano’s runway). To my delight, I am not alone in my frivolity. From Toronto designer Miss Jenn A. Lopez’s bustle bags to Miss Bunny‘s sexy little kilt-style bustle skirt (pictured on the right), there are pieces to satisfy any historically inspired appetite. And for the real thing visit ParaNoire (I am in lust with her delicious black Victorian gown) or LestatCouture for custom designs.

Seductive, sweet or sultry, not since the Elizabethan Era has neck-gear been so fabulous: the ruff is back, in rich velvets, silks and taffeta, leather, feathers and felted wool. Other noteworthy designs include Emmapardos’ collars, Larime loom’s scarflets and Tickled Pink Knits.

“Someday my prince will come” neck ruff by Dainty Things

daintythings black ruff

misfitchic medieval ruff

White historical ruff by Misfit Chic on left

If you have not yet discovered spats or gaiters, get excited. Shortened from spatterdashes c1802, spats are the low version of gaiters (cloth leg coverings that fit over boots or shoes and have a strap around the instep.) Originally designed to protect the boots and leg from mud, snow, branches and general wear, they have been reinvented as the best thing ever for boot lovers. For the mad scientist: a flashy white pair with black buttons, a strappy beige pair for the gentleman explorer, and perhaps a red and black brocade pair by Mariapozo for the refined Lady. You can transform almost any boring old pair of heels, shoes or boots into a fabulous new pair of expressive footwear. For a custom pair, contact Straight Razor Slasher -be sure to look through the sold item section of her shop for some fabulous inspiration!

straight razor slasher white spats

straight razor slasher short spats

Beige and white gaiters by Straight Razor Slasher

And For further inspiration, check out this impressive collection of designs by German designer Maide, a delightful pair of knit gaiters by Chronographia, and cut leather gaiters by Le Frivolites.