Friday, June 15, 2012

Novel Fashion >> Get the "Araby Worth" Look

"I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and smile. I am not the person I was this morning. I am beautiful, fake, shallow, incognito." Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death #1)

The Araby Worth Look
The backdrop for Masque of the Red Death is that of a decrepit, plague infested nameless city existing somewhere within the Victorian time period. Although not specifically labeled as Steampunk, there are clues within the novel that hint at this being the ideal look and feel for the style worn by the characters. Steam powers most technology, and the fashion is highly stylized and modified versions of clothing seen from the Victorian era, including corsets and full skirts. Araby Worth is a depressed, brooding teen who is wracked with guilt after the death of her twin brother, and who opts to follow her friend around and act as her doll to be made up and dressed to head to the streets for evenings of impropriety.

Purple Steampunk Gown
During the late night hours, wealthy citizens of the city head to the Debauchery district and pay large sums of money for drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, and any other means of forgetting the fact that just outside the walls, people are dropping like flies after becoming infected with a highly contagious and fatal illness. The district is marked by a hot air balloon, a testament to life before the plague, and contains numerous exclusive clubs which were once only meant for men. Members of the aristocracy also possess enough wealth to invest in a variety of stylish gas masks, which are considered luxury items and practically unobtainable to lower class citizens. Araby herself owns five masks, which she almost never takes off for fear of contracting the plague.

This look was inspired by that worn by Araby when she is sent to have a visit with a prominent character within the story. Her outfit is actually chosen by her mother, who seems to know exactly what should and should not be worn when in the company of said host. She offers Araby a dark purple dress after letting her know that the red corset her daughter had initially chosen is a loathsome color to her host. The length of the skirt featured here and that worn by Araby in the story is significantly longer than current trends dictate, but her mother reminds her how her host has a distaste for the immodest clothing permeating the aristocratic youth. To finish the look, Araby wears her signature gas mask for protection, an engagement ring from a suitor, silver eyes hadow (a favorite of one of Araby's suitors), and although not explicitly mentioned, I have included a Gothic parasol, much like the one seen on the novel's cover, and some lovely velvet boots to tie the outfit together. What do you think?

Duplicity Wig in Black/Magenta from Gothic Lolita Wigs
Throughout the novel, it is also mentioned that Araby actually has black hair with dyed strands of purple hair, courtesy of her friend April. She has, however, asked said friend not to dye her hair that color again because it reminds her too much of the bruises those infected with the Weeping Sickness have. You can choose to either include or exclude this particular addition to the Araby look, depending on how prone to visual infection association you are. I find the purple to be quite alluring, and really looks fantastic with the dress featured above. The city may be falling to ruin, but you can show a little resilience when you showcase the beauty the world once possessed, and may even prove as an inspiration to the citizens that even during the dark times mankind always finds ways to rebuild and find pleasure by any means necessary.

Corset: Frederick's of Hollywood
Dress: Steppi'n'Out
Tights: Pamela Mann
Shoes: Sofft
Accessories: Forever 21
Necklace: Etsy
Dress: Keepsake the Label
Corset: Louise Black
Jacket: Twirl
Boots: Colin Stuart
Headband: Handmade
"'Isn't this dressing room fabulous? If we end up being the last living people in the city, we can stay here with all our dresses and try them on, one after the other.'" Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death #1)

Next week's Novel Fashion will feature mermaid (or Syrena) outfits inspired by the book, Of Poseidon. If you would like to participate, feel free to check out my inspirations page for some ideas, and email me at with your coordinated looks :D

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