The French Side Of… Steampunk Crafts

Crafts and costumes are a great part of steampunk world (and fun!). You may know some American steampunk designers, such as Tom Banwell or Dr Grymm. Here are a few French ones, in three very different styles and very different medias.

Volute Corsets

What’s more Victorian than corsets? Beautiful, sexy, elegant, intricate, austere… one may choose between many aspects but they’re still our favorite fashionable lady’s garment. At least they are mine.

And if you’re really fashionable, you should definitely buy them in Paris.

Left: This marvel was created for Alina, singer of the band Marquize. It was inspired by one of Mina's dresses in Coppola's Dracula. Right: A Steampunk-style Corset. Image: Anne-Laure Camilleri for Volute Corsets. Used by permission.

There’s a small shop, painted red, 80 rue des Gravilliers in Paris’ 3d district, which is a place of wonder for all corset lovers. They design corsets of all types for all types of women (and, more rarely, men) as well as beautiful corsetted bridal gowns. They’re so successful that their order book is full until July 2011, at least.

Its founder and designer, Caroline Branck, very recently became a mom but she found time to send me pictures and links about her work, and to write in her LiveJournal. She’s a steampunk fan and sees steampunk costumes as “reinterpreting Victorian fashion with ochre, brown, lustrous bronze shades, something like an old photograph. Materials like copper and brass are in favour.”

Be careful: The shop is only open by rendez-vous (how Parisian, isn’t it ?) You still may dream on the Volute Corsets website (there’s an English version).

If you’re interested in Volute Corsets, you will enjoy the wonderful three-part article (translated into English) on Stella Polaris in which Caroline explains, among many things, why corsets aren’t “an instrument of torture or oppression for women.” To answer my fellow GeekMom Andrea’s concerns about women and Wikipedia, Caroline is the author of the article “Corset” on French Wikipedia.

Image : Captainsmog. Used by permission.

Captain Smog’s Lego Steampunk

Captain Smog aka Sylvain Amacher creates steampunk Lego.

He likes steampunk technology for its “naive but very aesthetic side, close to poetry,” and Lego he considers being “the most intelligent and creative toy of this universe and others.” He sees Lego as well-suited to representing steampunk spirit and its delirious “amateur” crafts.

He uses his own Lego for his creations, or pieces he buys on Bricklink. The Lego magazine Brickjournal #16 issue will focus on Steampunk and feature Captain Smog’s work on 2 pages. He’s very proud and honored! You may visit his Flickr page.

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Futuravapeur

Futuravapeur aka Vincent Bénard is quite famous in the French world of geek crafts. He’s a professional prop man and stage designer for theater and TV. He’s also the author, along with AnXiogène, of the incredible “Historiettes de Monsieur Sandalette,” a “daguerreotype-novel entirely colorized by a difference engine.” The Historiettes were even featured on the famous British Steampunk website Brass Goggles. But he’s a multi-faceted talent, as you’ll see on his website (as he says, “sometimes in approximate English”).

Image : Futuravapeur. Used by permission. From left to right: Astrodestructurator with alternative combustion, Steam-horse ordered by his son, Steam-blaster in Star Wars style.

 

You can meet Futuravapeur, Captain Smog and many other talented French steampunks on the very active forum of the French steampunk community.

The GeekMom blog is captained by Jenny Bristol and Corrina Lawson, and supported by a brilliant team of writers. Since launching in 2010, we’ve created a robust community of writers, readers, and media geeks, dedicated to the vision of creating a smart, savvy, social online experience for geek parents everywhere.