H.M.S. Chronabelle: An Adventure with the Grand Duchess

The Grand Duchess, by Krista Bren­nan

As our week aboard the H.M.S Chron­abelle con­tin­ues, we stopped to chat with the Grand Duchess, a.k.a. Stephanie Fair­bairn.  Anoth­er devo­tee of steam­punk via its diy roots, the Grand Duchess explores an aes­thet­ic of util­i­ty with a par­tic­u­lar fond­ness for pock­ets.  As with the oth­er crew mem­bers, the Grand Duchess uti­lizes fash­ion as a tan­gi­ble method to nar­rate life aboard the H.M.S. Chron­abelle and with­in the larg­er steam­punk realm.

The Steam­punk Bible: What is your per­son­al def­i­n­i­tion of Steam­punk?

Grand Duchess: To me, steampunk’s core is the ele­gent, funky brass machin­ery. I dress up respectably (or not so respectably) to match the con­trap­tions and to give them a sto­ry. I also strong­ly asso­ciate steam­punk with respect, opti­mism, and adven­ture, but that might just be me.

SPB: How long have you been involved/interested in Steam­punk?

GD: About two and a half years, although I admit I’ve fall­en a lit­tle out of touch recent­ly.

SPB: What dif­fer­ences do you see between now and when you start­ed?

GD:The cul­ture has grown and become more com­plex. I see larg­er and more ambi­tious projects being under­tak­en which is very excit­ing.

SPB: How did your crew come togeth­er? 

GDWe were high school friends with a sim­i­lar sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ty to the excite­ment of dress up and Steam­punk. But Lady Almi­ra and Cap­tain Mouse were def­i­nite­ly the dri­ving force that brought us togeth­er as a crew.

SPB: What is it about out­dat­ed tech­nol­o­gy – like diri­gi­bles – that appeal to and inspire you?

GD: The DIY aspect of Steam­punk is one of the parts that real­ly appeals to me. Old tech­nol­o­gy, mechan­i­cal things, are much more com­pat­i­ble with the urge to get your hands dirty.

SPB: Why did you all decide to “live” on an air­ship?  What does it pro­vide for you that 21st cen­tu­ry real­i­ty can­not?

GD: Adven­ture! The mobil­i­ty and abil­i­ty to explore is incred­i­bly invit­ing.

SPB: What is it about the steam­punk aes­thet­ic that appeals to you?

GD: It is very ele­gant, but it also empha­sizes the util­i­ty of objects. I appre­ci­ate the Vic­to­ri­an ori­gins, but steam­punk aban­dons much of the frou-frou, and adds pock­ets, util­i­ty belts, and ray guns. I real­ly just have a soft spot for func­tion­al things that are made beau­ti­ful­ly.

SPB: Where do you all get your inspi­ra­tion for your cos­tumes, and can you talk about its influ­ences?

GD: I usu­al­ly find some­thing that I like that seems either punky or steamy and then build an out­fit around it.

SPB: Future of Steam­punk fash­ion?  Where do you see it evolv­ing too?

GDI hon­est­ly couldn’t say; fash­ion is art, so I don’t real­ly know what all the cre­ative minds out there will be com­ing up with. I do think it will adjust to incor­po­rate some of the cur­rent fla­vors in fash­ion, just because that is what is eas­i­ly avail­able -bomber jack­ets, etc. for exam­ple.

“H.M.S. Chronabelle: An Adventure with the Grand Duchess” was published in Uncategorized.

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