The Steampunk World

Being the continued explorations of a living steampunk.

The steampunk world is all around us, lying just out of sight, in a continuous thread of steampunk builders and culture that extends from the Victorian era to the present. You'll find no science fiction here: This is real life steampunk.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

World of Wearable Art & Classic Cars

Location: Nelson, New Zealand

This is a strange museum. The World of Wearable Art started out as a small tent show and has grown to a huge production that draws designers from around the world and gives out tens of thousands of dollars in prizes. While a usual fashion show displays ridiculous contraptions with the conceit that one would theoretically wear them, this one does away with that limitation and displays ridiculous contraptions that noone could possibly wear through the day. Fashion is quite enjoyable, actually, when you drop the pretense that it is reasonable.

Some of the works drew inspiration from Victorian fashion. Like this outfit, "Rattle Your Dags":

'Dags' are sheep dingleberries and this outfit had black gems and crystals streaming down the posterior.

There really was some stunning work:

some way out there stuff:

...and some premium-grade art-world bullshit that I won't dignify showing.

In order to get the tourists in the doors, they need something for the husbands to do. So they have a collection of classic cars for you to stroll around while the wife looks at the pretty clothes.

They've got a nice Excalibur outside but I didn't even bother to take a picture of it. If you want to see one just google it, they're not uncommon. You could order one up yourself if you wanted, it's a freakin Studebaker!

Inside there are a surprising number of pre-1930 autos. I was pleased to learn that the Model T Ford got 20 miles to the gallon of gas, while their new 2009 "Fuel Efficient" pickup gets 21. One early auto had a range of 150 miles, meaning it could carry more fuel than there were properly built auto roads in America at the time.

I like this delivery bike because it is very much like something I would build:

From World Of Wearable Art Museum

Check out this lovely early 1900s Locomobile:

From World Of Wearable Art Museum

The thing about these early cars, as Leno says, is that because they were luxury items they were made to tip-top perfection and could give any modern luxury car a run for its money on the road. Just look at the locomotive wheels on that thing!

And the lovely flip-down windscreen:

From World Of Wearable Art Museum

I like the storage boxes, outside-of-the-cab shifter, and long horn. The bulb is in the upper right:

From World Of Wearable Art Museum

Just look at those lantern headlights! Some worked off acetylene. Boom!

I have mixed feelings about this museum. The work is stunning, but it's a one-room deal and it costs $18 to take a peep. Somehow I thought the "World" would be a little bit bigger than one room, but it turns out they cycle through their collection. For $8 I would have left this place feeling inspired and amazed, but for $18 I left feeling slightly snookered.

Visit it!

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