Steampunk. It’s an interesting word and an interesting concept. It’s been around for decades but never really a mainstream idea.
So what is steampunk? It’s a type of science fiction that combines the look of the late Victorian era with bizarre machinery, usually steam-powered. Think H.G. Wells, although the term “steampunk” had not been coined yet; that popped up in the late 1980s. It’s both vintage and futuristic.
The look often contains elements of Victoriana such as lace, long skirts, and top hats, but also has helmets, goggles, tattoos, and lots of unusual jewelry. Colors are lots of black plus metallics such as gold, silver, and brass, but other colors are used too.
So let’s look at the newest collection from Butter London for Holiday 2014, Steampunk Ball.
Butter London has been unlocking an item a day for a week, and I would have posted about it sooner had it been anything completely new. But most of what’s been announced in the past week has been re-promotes of old colors, and I’ve found the “unlocking” process to be extremely tedious, not exciting as the company probably hoped.
But finally, the new polish colors.
This is a set of minis (this set is called Steampunk Ball too) and is currently selling for $39.00. BL calls its mini-bottles (0.2 oz.) “Fashion Size” which can be confusing if you’re not familiar with the company’s labeling. Fashion size, really? That’s like candy companies calling mini candy bars “Fun Size.” Mini is not fun size. Fun size would be a big honkin’ 8-ounce candy bar, my friends.
At any rate, the colors are, left to right, top row and then bottom row:
Barkers – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, grey with magenta-green shimmer
Pinkies Up – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, pink shimmer
Baroness – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, burgundy metallic
Full coverage, flaring shimmers in saffron red gel-like base
Full Steam Ahead – Set Exclusive!
Opaque, grey creme
Brass Goggles – Set Exclusive!
Semi-sheer, black and gold foil glitter
These are all new except for Bric-a-Brac, which was part of the fall Brick Lane set. I don’t have Bric-a-Brac yet and find it and the Steampunk colors really attractive. But I need to see bigger, better photos and hopefully swatches before making a decision. Haven’t found many, although Butter London has had some teaser pictures on their Facebook page and also a 30-second video on their home page.
And finally, Nordstrom’s has a slightly bigger picture of the bottles on their web site.
You can find swatches of Bric-a-Brac online, since it’s not a new color. Here are some good ones from blogger The Polish Hideout. Click on any of her photos for a large, sharp look at the polishes. Yep, loving Bric-a-Brac! The new Steampunk Ball polishes are calling me too.
EDIT: 10/9/14 and 10/11/14, just read this on Butter London’s Facebook page, that the Steampunk Ball colors “will only be available in the set and in Fashion Size [mini] bottles.” That’s very odd for a BL Holiday set! Also, they have announced a large gift set called the Gears & Gadgets Ultimate Lacquer Trunk, a $300 value for $150. This contains 20 mini Fashion Size polishes plus some nail treatments and tools. Most of the polish colors are older ones, but the set contains Baroness, Brass Goggles, and other Steampunk new ones called Earl Grey, Clockwork Heart, and Right as Rain.
Earl Grey and Clockwork Heart are also in yet another set called Gilded Gears. Earl Grey is an opaque steel gray metallic and Clockwork Heart is a satin matte wine shade. This set contains two old colors, West End Wonderland and Goss.
Finally, a set called Art of Alchemy has six full-sized polishes but only one new one, Full Steam Ahead. (So their comment of “only Fashion Size” is not true in this one case.)
This new release has been beyond confusing. You can’t buy JUST the new Steampunk colors, although the Steampunk Ball set of six described above is five-out-of-six new. You can’t buy full-sized bottles of them. You can’t buy them at all without buying at least one old color. Not cool, Butter London.