Convention After-Action Report

After battling some of the worst traffic we’ve ever experienced, we’re finally back home. Wheew! What would normally be a five-hour drive became nearly an eight-hour drive and everyone was exhausted, even the terrier peeps. But, after a good night’s sleep, we’re ready to sort out everything from our trip up north and start working on various new projects. 🙂

In spite of the long drive, we do want to add that Clockwork Alchemy was a delight to attend and we have a very good time. Naturally, the fashion show was the high point of our experience and it went off for us without a hitch, in spite of having to do some last-minute adjustments in the hotel room the night before (when it comes to fashion, that’s a given).

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Getting Ready For The Show

The show staging was amazing and the director masterfully designed and executed his vision with the assistance of an extremely dedicated and talented staff. As an alternative to the catwalk that’s a staple of fashion shows, the director opted to utilize more of a salon setting in which the models occupied various risers scattered throughout the room- it was a large ballroom- with each model framed with a large picture frame made up steampunk style to simulate metal with rivets.

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Setting The Scene

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Showtime!

The lighting was contrived towards creating an evening scene, utilizing bright LED lights, and engineered to show off the clothes in the most optimal fashion; the background tended to blue out thus bringing the model forward. While the LED lighting tended to wash out the faces of the models, it did emphasize the clothes; taking photographs was a bit of a challenge but in no way did it detract from the overall experience.

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I’m Ready For My Close-Up

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Striking A Pose

Once everything was set, the doors were opened and the public was admitted. The show was well-attended by a large crowd and it seemed that everyone was taking pictures of all the models. The models were instructed to strike any sort of pose that they wanted and to change periodically- the goal was not to create stiff figures as if they were in a painting. Also, the models could interact with audience, responding to their questions in regard to their outfits.

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Dressed For Success As The Light Man Does His Magic

The Lucy dress was modeled by a good friend of ours who did an excellent job of making the dress come to life, displaying its details to the greatest advantage and especially with the train. 🙂 Karin modeled the Camille dress and her position was such that it was the first dress that was seen with people entered the room. The modeling took place over an hour and while it might have seemed effortless to the audience, it’s actually pretty draining but our models rose to the challenge and went far above and beyond. Kudos to both of them! 🙂

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A Full-Length View Of The Train

The last day of the convention was spent with Karin visiting with clients while I gave our last presentation on Victorian fashion styles and the American West. Finally, with a quick wardrobe change into travelling clothes and began packing everything up for the long trip south.

As we sort through our various pictures from the fashion show and the convention in general, we’ll be posting them along with commentary so stay tuned for more. 🙂

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Showing Off The Train – A Vision In Amethyst

Lily Absinthe At Clockwork Alchemy

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It’s been so busy that we haven’t been able to get many pictures of us but here’s one. 🙂

 It’s been crazy busy here for us here at Clockwork Alchemy. Between presentations, meeting with clients, and getting ready for the fashion show, we’ve haven’t slowed down (much) and we’re getting by on way too little sleep and room service. The terrier peeps have been keeping us company and keeping our spirits up- they’ve been the most well-behaved dogs and have been acting as good-will ambassadors. We owe them big when we get home.

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Terrier Peeps

On the presentation side, yesterday we presented Bygone Bijoux and we think it went pretty well although it was thinly attended because of the 5 pm time slot. The audience was mostly a younger crowd than we’re used to and I think we exposed some people to new possibilities in regard to using accessories and small details to really set off their costumes and communicate to others their impression- i.e., the look they’re trying to create. One thing we thought was interesting was that the younger crowd getting into costuming/living history/steampunk et al. are not as aware of the potential sources out there. For future presentations, we’ll prepare some sort of a hand-out on sources.

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Taking a small break…

For costumes, things are moving into high gear as we prepare for the fashion show (which follows another presentation we’re doing). As with all new creations, there’s always various last-minute adjustments to be made along with some precision ironing to ensure that every pleat hangs just right.

Pleats

Pleating like a boss…in a hotel room… 🙂

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We’ve brought the Altelier with us… 🙂

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We even brought our portable vintage Singer 301 sewing machine- it goes with us everywhere to events, weddings, et al.

So here’s to another busy day- stay tuned!

And For More “The Wild Wild West”…

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While James West might have been the star of The Wild Wild West, he could not have succeeded without the help of his associate Artemus Gordon, played by Ross Martin. Although just as suave and debonair as West, Gordon was more the cerebral type, utilizing his mastery of disguise and mechanical devices to foil the villains’ various nefarious plots. Gordon’s mechanical device were often instrumental in rescuing West at some critical moment. It was a perfect contrast to West’s more direct physical approach and provided a nice one-two punch that set the show apart from either the usual sorts of Western or spy television series of the 1960s.

Today we’ll take a brief look at Gordon’s costumes which tended towards the flashy (when he wasn’t in disguise). We begin with a few in black and white:

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Gordon dresses just as flashy as West although his clothes tended to be a bit more functional (no wardrobe malfunctions here! 🙂 ). Interestingly enough, the gunbelt pictured above is far more historically accurate than the usual run of low-slung “buscadero” rigs that were usually used in film and television Westerns during the 1950s and 60s.

Below are a few pictures of Gordon in his various disguises:

And here are a few of Gordon as himself- note that like West, the colors on Gordon’s outfits were selected to take advantage of the newly emerging color television technology: 🙂

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Gordon’s bright blue suit with complementing tie and waistcoat makes an interesting contrast to West’s more understated brown/green color palette.

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And here we have a contrast between Gordon’s brown windowpane plaid coat and West’s hunter green jacket. And finally, here’s Gordon and West at their finest:

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The above is a little over-the-top, combining 1960s rental wedding wear with older elements. The waistcoats could work for c. 1900 although the ivory silk satin might be pushing things a bit (by the 1870s, waistcoats/vests were becoming subdued). It’s hard to tell from the picture what sort of coats they have on but they work. The shirts are a bit overdone with the ruffled sleeves; it definitely reads 1960s formalwear. While the above outfits are by no stretch of the imagination representative of the historical 1870s, they work for the purposes of the show. 🙂