The Top Hattiest Night of the Year

Steampunk's annual prom, the Edwardian Ball, returns to Hollywood.

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013  |  Updated 3:48 PM PDT
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The Top Hattiest Night of the Year

Marco Sanchez

The Edwardian Ball dons its steampunk finery at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood on Saturday, Feb. 23.

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If we had a magic phone -- we picture it looking like one of those classic princess phones from the 1960s -- we'd ring up various eras like the early 1800s and 1986-1989 and the time just after the Renaissance. And we'd give them this advice: If you want to have a resurgence in popularity, and a place in contemporary pop culture, you only need look at what writers and costumers and role-players and artists have done with the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Stopping by the Edwardian Ball & Faire on Saturday, Feb. 23 is a good start. The Fonda-based festivity celebrates the style of the Edwardian period, but the Edwardian period sent through the looking glass. So, in a word? Steampunk rules. OK, that's two words.

Top hats and lace and bustles and strange brass corsets and diving bells will be the look of the night. And the activities? They have a slightly early 20th-century air, with a dash of the supernatural and strange. Think sideshow performances, acrobatics, feats, parlour games, and dancing. A steam-powered tea garden and other wondrous sights mark the night.

A general admission is $40.

This may require a costume store swing-by or at least a lot of creativity and panache when dealing with your own costume. Chances are good you'll feel under-dressed if you spend less than an hour preparing your steampunk'd, ball-gown'd, high-hair'd, monocle-cool outfit. Just sayin'.

And we're just sayin' to all other time periods ever to look to the steampunk era for inspiration: No, people in the late 1800s and early 1900s didn't walk around whimsically attired, but modern fans of the era take the basics -- industrialism and big gowns and top hats -- and make 'em extra fabulous.

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