If you’re like some of us here at Steampunk Heaven, you probably got your first taste of Steampunk on the big screen. Good lighting, perfect hair and makeup, and of course -- the unbelievable costumes. Maybe it was an animated film, or an action-western, but regardless, seeing those outfits on the silver screen undoubtedly left an impression.
According to most film buffs, the trend of depicting Steampunk in film started with the 1958 classic, The Fabulous World of Jules Verne. From that point on, there have been hundreds of examples of Steampunk themes and outfits in cinema.
These jaw-dropping getups are works of art in and of themselves. They are, in a sense, the perfect fusion of fantasy and Steampunk style.
By the way, movie star or not, if you're a lady who is looking to add a bit of Steampunk style to your everyday outfits, take a peek at our catalog here: The Steampunk Heaven Catalog.
With that said, here are 7 of the most memorable women’s Steampunk outfits ever shown in movies. While this isn’t a complete list, it highlights some of the more glamorous looks from the Steampunk genre. Lights, camera, Steampunk!
Salma Hayek SLAYS in this wild getup from 1999’s Wild Wild West. This is the only Steampunk western on our list, and the results are incredible. The unique necklace around her neck looks downright cool. The hair feels a bit 1980’s as opposed to 1880’s, but those awesome fishnet stockings and Victorian style corset make up for it. Yee-haw!
Claire Foy is all attitude in Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal. Pratchett is of course famous for his Discworld series of books that serves as the official guide to fantastical, British Steampunk. As Adora Belle Dearheart, Foy adorns a beautiful splash of color. The rich velvet makes this both a cool and sophisticated look. In traditional Steampunk style, heavy fabrics work against hardware -- in this case buttons and a very posh cigarette holder -- to provide balance to the costume.
Chloe Grace Moretz may be a huge fashion icon today, but back in 2011 she was a young girl rocking a very jaunty Steampunk look in Hugo. Moretz’s outfit perfectly mirrors the quirky tech in the film -- a wonderful pairing of costume and scenery. The different layers of fabric are what really make this look, and although it may look juvenile, you know she is going to get things DONE with that barrette.
Rachel McAdams looks stunning in hot pink silk in the first installment of the Sherlock Holmes franchise as Holme’s famous flame, Irene Adler. The long sleeves and endless rows of buttons make this dress feel technical, but still super feminine. The chic pistol is a necessary part of her outfit, of course, and is as dangerous as her character’s disposition.
Nicole Kidman looks especially gorgeous as Ms. Coulter in The Golden Compass. The film takes place in a parallel universe Victorian society, and elements from the late 1800’s are found all over this outfit. The thick fabrics, furs, and hemlines are conservative, while the spiky gold broach pulling everything together adds some edge.
Kate Beckinsale sports some serious ornate brocade in 2004’s Van Helsing. As soon as we meet her in the film, her outfit alone tells us she is a woman not to be messed with. The film is a horror/ steampunk hybrid, and so it’s fitting that she has a weapon at the ready to defend herself from monsters. The gold cross is important to the plot of the film, and the feminine nipped in waist/corseting gives the outfit a bit of sex appeal.
One of the most fun group cosplays out there -- the girls from Sucker Punch mix schoolgirl edginess and steampunk in the 2011 cult hit. The actresses rock leather boots, goggles, and lots of metal hardware. While these might not be the most comfortable outfits to fight in, you better believe this team makes an entrance.
We hope you enjoyed these examples of Steampunk outfits for women. But of course, dressing up shouldn’t just be reserved for the movies. If you'd like to add some more Steampunk style to your own look be sure to check out our catalog!