This year the theme for Steamcon V is Around the World. Steampunk is Victorian era science fiction, but isn't limited to Victorian England. We did explored this a bit at Steampunk II, which was the Weird Weird West:
But this year, the world's the limit! They used to say the sun never set on the British Empire, and influences from the colonies are still prevalent in England to this day. Hello, India! Who doesn't like a nice spot of tea, or a good curry?
I've always been fascinated with India. It all started with a doll I was given as a baby, from my mother's former college roommate, who was a native of India. The doll is a rani with a porcelain head, wearing a gold sari, with a nose ring and tikka. It's packed away right now, as the head finally came detached from the body and the hair's a bit of a mess, or I'd post a picture. (Side note - I think it's entirely because of this doll that I ended up getting my nose pierced in my 20s. As I child I thought that was the coolest thing ever.)
Anyways, my mother has kept in touch with her old roomate over the years, and a few years ago she took the trip of her dreams for her 70th birthday and went to India, and when she came back she gifted me with two sets of salwar and kameez, tunic and pants sets with matching scarves. They are both stunningly beautiful, but my instant favorite was the one in rich blue with silver thread embroidery.
Because accessories are everything when it comes to costuming, I turned a yard of silver brocade fabric into a matching set of cincher, cuffs, and gaiters to go with the clothing, as my outfit for this year's Steampunk Exhibition Ball, also to be used at Steamcon later in the year.
I started first with a necklace, as these things go more often than not. I'd bought a jar of jewelry bits and bobs from a thrift store and in it was a fragment of a necklace from India, three pearl flower shaped medallions strung together with some linked pearls. I ended up completely redoing the links and finishing the necklace off with sterling wire and rice pearls, and added some vintage chain and an antique music box key. The background in this picture is the closeup of the fabric for the salwar:
Here's the full outfit:
And here's the cuffs - I took a belled anklet and cut it in half, then hand-sewed it on:
I'm planning on sewing a wig clip onto the scarf, as well as a hook on the corners of each end, to attach them to the cuffs, and if I get really ambitious I'll be adding bells and pearls along the bottom of the cincher and tops of the gaiters. I've got almost six weeks before the ball, but even if I don't get to it before then it'll happen for con!