Sunday, May 30, 2010

steampunk convention report, ConQuest 41, 2010

Tony & I took a mini-vacation for Memorial Day weekend, and went to ConQuest in Kansas City. Saw some friends, ate some overpriced food, wore our pseudo-Victorian finest, and generally had a good hedonistic time.

I hadn't been to ConQuest in a few years. Too busy, too broke, not writing anymore, generally put-off by the fandom scene. But the Steampunk theme lured me back, and gave me an excuse to make up the red ballgown I'd been promising myself for the last 5 years.

Of course, I gave myself 2 weeks to get it done, which probably would have been ample time if I had a) started with a strong plan of what I was going to do, and b) not volunteered to make Tony a vest and alter 2 or 3 other garments for him as well. (Not that I regret it; he was unbearably handsome in that vest.)

Naturally, I was tacking down linings an hour before we left for the hotel. But all turned out well:

It's red/black shot dupioni silk for the underskirt, and black/red iridescent velvet in silk/rayon. Slinky, soft, decadently rich and heavy. Black nylon fringe at the skirt hem and sleeves; black beaded trim at the bodice hem. Silver and garnet necklace from my lover.

I had a heckuva time finding garnet earrings to go with this ensemble; in the end I found some "butter-colored" amber stones in a silver setting. There was an amber-jewelry dealer at the con who had some lovely cherry-red pieces, so I bought a ring set in filigree and a pair of drop earrings.

There were a lot of other costumes to see, which was part of the fun of going. Steampunk is so funky and creative, and quite wearable. Tony & I wore our tweed ensembles all day Saturday and were quite comfortable.

I made my skirt and vest a few years back; Tony's vest I made last week, out of some old wool stash I had. He found his pants and shirt in consignment stores, and we accessorized via antique malls and ebay. I think his ankle-gaiters are particularly cool.

Then there were were the lovely folks we encountered in the hotel halls (sorry if there's a slight blur on some of these--convention hall lighting is never optimal for photos):

Susan Satterfield, doyenne of the Con.

A dancing Sultana...

A couple of waifs...

A fun-loving lady...

a pair of steamy street urchins...

A couple of proper ladies, and a lad who took the "punk" to heart and said, "[bleep] this Victorian [bleep]."

Klignons, of course, make their own fashion:

Nice use of cogs and striped stockings:

This young lady was quite charming. She looked to me like she'd just popped over from a dig in Cairo. She did a skit in the Masquerade on Saturday night, as well--something about Miss Pomeroy searching for golden bells to save her world? The reference was lost on me, but the costume was adorable.

This dapper gentleman had a booth in the dealer's room, selling leather pouches, belts, top hats and accessories. He also had some serious weaponry. His website is

A genial trio of airship time-travellers.

This guy was one of my favorites. From his boots to his waxed mustache, to his slightly reticent and blustery air, he was perfect. His weapon was a marvel, too. See those glowing cartridges on his bandolier? They had LED lights inside to make them glow, and they detached from the bandolier to plug into his gun, for back-up ammunition.

He had probably the most detailed accessories belt, too. A gentleman should never go into the wild without his tobacco and tea cup.

And here he is with a hunting companion, set for adventure. I figure they'll be taking down pterodactyls with those guns.