Well, I love Steampunk – mostly because it combines a few of my passions: history, clothing, culture. with this collection I sought to add to the mix and enhance my perception of Steampunk through some more of my passions – horse riding, side saddle, and different cultures.
After a few months of drawing, researching and picking up bits and pieces that vaguely went with the idea, the first sketches were ready – we had 7 amazones, from different continents and backgrounds. A few weeks later, most of the fabrics etc were assorted ( I wanted to use the stuff I had in stock, so sometimes the choice was a bit limited.) A bit of a disaster struck when we realized we wouldn’t be able to shoot the collection in the original venue as the friend who worked there, my side saddle mentor Becca Holland,had her hand in plaster and was off sick, plans had to be changed – and soon we had a solution: splitting the shoot in 2 parts, with one part taking place in the North, and one local. Atkinson Action Horses were recommended by a friend, who trains there – and the plan was hatched. We could have an action photo shoot and at the same time we got a model – not only a rider but a falconer, running Flight and Feathers Historical Falconry.
The result of the cooperation are below – let us meet the first 4 Amazones
1. North America: The Neonavajo ( working name: Pocahontas…). having always been inspired by the Native American Indians ( my childhood nickname was Apache! ), this collection was just a perfect medium for playing around with leather, feathers and beads. The model for this look, Amy, was chuffed at being the Steampunk Pocahontas – and pulled the look off admirably!
The initial sketch:
The skirt was just a fun idea – 6 panels laced together – and unlaced for riding. the corset was perhaps the most demanding piece form the collection – there is a fashion layer, coutil layer and a cotton lining. it is fully boned and sports external waist tape – all embroidered. Flossing, reminiscent of eagle feathers took quite some time ( and sore fingers…) as did the beading- we used different kinds of beads and metal bullet cases. My husband even produced some matching necklaces:-).
To finish the outfit off, I Steampunk’d a jacket ( from Next) that I purchased at the Stamford Steampunk market – simply added beads, bullets and cogs. feathers, funk 70ties boots and some weapons, including the guns from RP Outfitters, completed the look. The horse chosen for this character played his part extremely well – Badger was very patient and charismatic. He was fine with people putting tassels, braids and feathers on him, shooting bows off him – perfect.
2. Europe: The Ringmistress ( still looking fora better name…)
This was the least time consuming project as I utilized gear I already owed – the jacket i made as a part of my 1885 Riding Habit, and a corset ( 1884 Higby Patent)
this was the original habit:
and that was the sketch for the Amazone:
Add a Steampunk topper and my hunting whip, and sorted!
and without the jacket, with just the corset, worn on my old salsa top ( !)
I also wore lovely earrings from The Navigatrix🙂
My stead was a hunter, Charlie. Charlie was one of of those horses who do not care much about anything unless they are ridden. so for the static shoots, he was half comatose, happily dozing away. Things changed once I climbed on board and soon Charlie was cantering around the school.
alas, the Steampunk topper, unlike my proper one, did not sit tight enough and was blown off shortly after… still, we did have a good run!
3. Africa ( and Middle East): The Neobedouin.
One of my favourite characters – I spent some time with the Egiptian Bedouins, crossing the White dessert, Black Dessert, and the Great Sand Sea, before staying in Siwa, a Bedouin oasis ( and going for some sand surfing…). they were great folk, polite, with great sense of humour – and completely bonkers mad, especially when driving was involved. Great people. Not surprisingly, I have already used the character in my previous collection – this one just needed a slightly different look.
and the realization:
Amy was modelling thins one – and the outfit consisted of loose linen pants, original gallabiya in silk/linen -brought from Egypt a few years ago, adapted for riding. The underbust corset in sateen was decorated with leather strips, gold braid and quite a lot of Egyptian coins… Headdress – lots of scarf ( including my Nubian one from Aswan), braid and a silk mask, based on the original mask Bedouin women wear. the hip chain and amber bracelet were provided by The Navigatrix, the gun by RP Outfitters.
The mount was a spectacular Spanish Stallion, Almonzor. A truly magnificent beast, very well schooled – and looking quite dashing in the Scythian tack…
here Almonzor just showing off…
Amy also brought her young kestrel, Shira 🙂
4. Asia: Mulan? ( again, still looking for a better name..).
Here I again combined things i love – I adore Chinese and step people clothing – and have bee fascinated with them since my tender teenage years – I have been training kung fu since i was 16, and i am now learning Mandarin. putting the martial arts, costume and equestrian ideas together was just fun.
and its rendition:
The outfit had several layers – loose silky pants, silk kaftan, leather corset and matching collar here – but there are also separate sleeves that hook up to the collar, and another kaftan, in metallic cloth, with a belt.
As for the mounts, we first selected another gorgeous stallion
He wasn’t particularly impressed with having to work on his day off, and standing still was just not cutting it. He playfully headbutted me, then kicked the owner, Ben and legged it, seeking greener pastures.
After a few rounds around the paddock, he consented to being caught and Ben rode him a bit – perfectly fine. still, for safety sake,we decided to get a bit more sedate mount for the shoot, and so Seamus was brought in to stand by for Mulan’s ride. and he was perfect:-)
we did a few charges on him too – alas, i forgot that we were shooting a fierce warrior so I was smiling a lot – not best for the shoot:-(
and there it is – 4 amazones, the next 3 are in Part 2 – here
photography – believe it or not, my husband ( after a course with MOckford Photography)
Horses and Location: Atkinson Action Horses
Kestrel: Feathers and Flight
jewellery, as indicated earlier – The Navigatrix
Steampunk guns: RP OUtfitters
models, Izabela PItcher and Amy Wallace
Many, many thanks to Ben and Fran from Atkinson Action Horses – you were a great help- providing professional and friendly advice and service – the horses were turned out spotlessly ( i thought me and Amy would be doing the horses ourselves, so that was a huge bonus – we had more time to make ourselves look pretty! ), and they were stunning and well behaved, including the young naughty boy 🙂
Huge thanks to Amy to not only agreeing to the wild idea, but also arranging the shoot, modelling and bringing her kestrel – you both looked superb!
thanks to Sarah from SDWD, who did a make up and hair trial with me!
and kudos to Lucas Pitcher who took the pictures and edited them so promptly!
jut to finish it off:, a few behind the scenes shoots… 🙂
well, that is it for now – the part 2 soon – after that the collection will be shown at the Fashion show at the Steampunk Asylum in Lincoln – and then some outfits will be put on sale:-)