Tokyo Steampunk Society Brings Mecha-Victorian Style to Shibuya’s Trump Room
Steampunk is a subculture still relatively unknown in Japan, but musician and artist Kenny Creation is looking to change that. Having recently formed the Tokyo Steampunk Society, he organized the group’s inaugural event “Steam Garden” at Shibuya’s Trump Room on April 13.
The venue couldn’t have been more fitting: The furniture was plush and mirrors hung literally everywhere, reflecting the light and the gorgeous outfits the patrons had put together. The society added their own touches of gramophones and pistols and even set up a shisha bar and an absinthe bar for patrons to indulge in. The music was not your typical industrial goth fare. Instead, the organizers had gone out of their way to find re-imaginings of shanties, folk songs, and turnof-the-century songs that still worked for the club environment. The only problem was that the event was apparently too well-anticipated. The place was so packed it was impossible to move, much less dance, and the crowding hindered some of the entertainment.
Said entertainment included a pair of belly-dancers styled as wind-up dolls and controlled by puppet master DJ Chaos Royale. “The latest in 1896 technology!” he boasted as the talented dancers performed a robotic belly dance that was sexy, difficult, and definitely unusual.
Kenny also directed a fashion show of his own steampunk designs. The first was the wild look of a runaway from a horde, with horns on her head and a sack dress with stenciled gears. The model got into character, stabbing a roll from the decorative platter and eating it as she moved down the makeshift runway.
The next models could have been the intrepid hero and heroine of a steampunk story, clad in period activewear and smeared with greasepaint. The female model clasped a gun. They were followed by a more feminine look, a long dress with a flowered headpiece. The model ran and jumped crazily around the runway like a Victorian madwoman in the attic. The pièce de résistance was the villainous final outfit: sporting tubes, a mask, goggles, and gears, it was both figuratively and literally hot. Later the event heated up even more with a fire dancer and a second fashion show put on AC-Key featuring sexy and intricate designs that gave steampunk bondage flair. Steampunk rock unit Strange Artifact and an accordion player also showed to add their atmospheric music to the rocking party.
Fashion was not only found on the runway. Customers showed their creativity, most attempting to add at least a few steampunk elements to their gothic and lolita outfits and a few in perfect period dress. Some even managed to add elements of period Japanese wear to their steampunk look, calling to mind the fashions of the Meiji era where a Western-Eastern blend was all the rage. For those who wanted to take a bit of the style home with them, Harajuku store “a story” had a booth on hand, selling intricate watches and other accessories to set off the steampunk look.
There are 38 photos in this visual kei exclusive.