It’s full steam ahead: Steampunk is the new craze for Halloween

Got Steampunk? Downtown Redmond’s Pacific Northwest Costume shop does. Pacific Northwest Costume owner Sherrill Taylor said the Steampunk craze began brewing a couple of years ago and is intensifying with Halloween and a regional Steampunk convention on the horizon.

Pacific Northwest Costume employees Megan Ingersoll (left) and Monika Mosher model Steampunk costumes that will be all the rage this Halloween and at an upcoming regional Steampunk convention

Got Steampunk? Downtown Redmond’s Pacific Northwest Costume shop does.

Pacific Northwest Costume owner Sherrill Taylor said the Steampunk craze began brewing a couple of years ago and is intensifying with Halloween and a regional Steampunk convention on the horizon.

The Steampunk look is reminiscent of the 1960s TV series and 1999 movie “The Wild Wild West,” mixing Victorian fashions such as corsets, quirky eye wear and hats with futuristic gadgets.

“There was also a comic strip called ‘Steampunk’ and now there’s a guy who is even making Steampunk headsets for Bluetooth,” Taylor commented. “People are coming in a lot for the convention, Steamcon II … and we just got a new shipment of goggles, called Machinist Goggles. Even some 13-or-14-year old girls have come in looking for lace gloves, dresses and goggles.”

Pacific Northwest Costume also outfitted a Steampunk-themed wedding party this summer, Taylor noted.

A Redmond fixture since 1981, Pacific Northwest Costume moved to its current location in the Marbella Center, 16134 NE 87th St., in January, from its former, smaller location in the now-defunct Redmond Shopping Square.

Naturally, Halloween brings in plenty of shoppers but Pacific Northwest Costume is a year-round source for costume sales and rentals, with clients such as school drama programs, professional and community theatre companies and organizations needing costumes for mascots. Plus, there are many folks who want specialized clothing for weddings and other celebrations.

“We’ve done lots of Medieval or Renaissance costume weddings,” said Taylor. “We had one with a ‘Cinderella’ theme and the guys wanted Colonial hats to look like the coachmen.”

Another couple rented costumes inspired by “Pride and Prejudice” and invited all their friends to a non-specific costume party, not letting on that they were planning to tie the knot at the party.

“They yelled, ‘Is there a preacher in the house?’ They knew they were getting married but their guests didn’t. Guests were wearing everything from doctors’ scrubs to the hospital gowns with fake plastic butts hanging out in the back,” Taylor explained, laughing.

“We now have a Belle dress because a lot of schools are doing productions of ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ Eastlake High School recently had a ‘Through the Decades’ dance with kids dressing as a flapper, a gangster or a hippie — all over the place, just a lot of fun,” she said.

A fat scrapbook at Pacific Northwest Costume shows photos of happy customers decked out as everything from Cleopatra and Mark Antony to characters from “The Wizard of Oz” or farm animals.

In addition to the Steampunk look, Taylor said hot costumes for Halloween 2010 will include characters from the movies “Alice in Wonderland” and “Toy Story 3,” as well as pop star Lady Gaga.

For more information about Pacific Northwest Costume, call (425) 881-8618, e-mail pnwcsherrill@msn.com or visit www.pacificnwcostume.com.


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