Titanic Fancy Dress With a Twist

Steampunk General Costume

RMS Titanic, perhaps the most famous ocean liner ever to set sail on one of the planets oceans is about to reach a milestone that, personally, is not only a reminder of how technology and society has advanced in a relatively short time but also what a horrific tragedy occurred in the North Atlantic Ocean one direful evening 100 years ago. It was April 15th at roughly 2:40am GMT, some four days into the maiden voyage when the ship collided with an iceberg in its journey from Southampton to New York City. It took just two and three quarter hours for the 46,000 tonne ship to plummet to the depths of the sea bed.

The largest ship afloat at the time, less than a third of those aboard Titanic survived the disaster. The sinking of Titanic resulted in the deaths of 1,514 people.

BBC Surrey have put together audio from Jack Phillips, the wireless operator onboard the Titanic who sent out distress signals to Newfoundland and also to surrounding ships. The BBC World Service has collated a series of messages sent before and during the tragedy which were sent to and from the sinking vessel. They have used synthesisers to recreate the morse code. You can hear these excerpts on demand using the BBC iPlayer in a show called Titanic - in Her Own Words. It really is startling to imagine these messages being exchanged, but an unmissable listen at the same time.

The Resurgence

Titanic Interest

The resurgence of interest in the story of the Titanic has been absolutely massive. Take a look at the graph to the right, it essentially shows the number of searches for Titanic on everyone's favourite search engine Google, over the last 8 years, of course, this doesn't come as too much of a surprise with 2012 being the 100th anniversary. What does surprise us here in the Jokers' Masquerade office, well, me anyway, is the various number of events that are being held worldwide to mark the anniversary. The BBC have done a great job documenting Southampton's less commercial ventures. You can view some of the pictures of the Titanic's 100th anniversary in Southampton in a fitting tribute over on the BBC website.

Something else we feel that will definitely spark further interest is the re-release of one of the highest grossing movies ever made, the aptly named Titanic. Get the Nurofen handy because it is also going to be readily available in a cinema near you in 3D. Don't get the 3D thing personally, it just makes my head spin and my eyes ache, plus I'm going to get charged an extra £4 for the privilege of seeing Jack draw Rose...wait a minute, I can't wait to see Titanic in 3D!

We've also noticed a recent uptake in demand for Victorian fancy dress, chances are that this is no coincidence and 2012 could well be classed as the return of Titanic costumes and the like. Something else that backs up this claim is the fact that this year we have also unveiled a generous range of Steampunk costumes, which are pretty much a modern take on a fancy dress Victorian theme. We have a feeling that they are going to be really popular by the time Halloween comes around and this new fashion trend will only add to the fascination in Victorian outfits.

Titanic Outfits

You may be surprised to hear that various items of clothing from Titanic outfits worn by those aboard the unsinkable ocean liner have been recovered and are due to be auctioned off. Items such as leather shoes, a collapsible top hat and a chevron waistcoat will be available to the highest bidder as part of a single lot of somewhere in the region of 5,000 objects. You can view some of these items on the New York Times website.

Fancy Dress Victorian Style

Steampunk General Costume

It would appear to be a popular tribute currently to celebrate the launch of the Titanic by either organising Titanic costume parties and events or even doing something huge, such as organising cruises whereby guests are decked out in Titanic fancy dress. Here are a couple of recent news stories that have fully embraced this:

Over 1,300 passengers from almost 30 countries have embarked on a 12-night trip aboard the MS Balmoral cruise ship. Departing from Southampton on April 8th, the ship headed to New York following the same route to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the disaster.

Speaking to ITN, organiser Miles Morgan declared that there will be special memorial services held on the 14th and the 15th April to mark the moment the Titanic hit an iceberg and when it finally sank. There will also be on-board lectures and specially recreated food provided in order to give the passengers a flavour of life on an ocean-going ship in 1912.

The Village Inn Pub and Inn in North Devon is a family-run, you guessed it, pub and inn with a restaurant that is holding a very special dinner to mark the unfortunate centenary of the sinking of the Titanic. At the time of writing they plan to host an eight-course menu based around the last meal eaten aboard the ship by upper-deck passengers on the night the liner sank. Event organiser Julie Hudson told of her hopes that the event will see the guests all clad in authentic Victorian costumes. In a news piece, which ran in the North Devon Journal, she shared "We are hoping that everyone will join us by getting into character and stepping back to 1912. Our chef is currently working on the menu so each dish has something different and touches on the food served at that time." The event, planned for April 14, 2012 is just another example of people embracing not only the tale of RMS Titanic but also this country's love for fancy dress.

Currently, at the time of writing, there is an exhibition being held at the Seaport Museum's Melville Gallery called Titanic at 100: Myth and Memory. New York was of course the destination of the liner so it seems appropriate that the city offers something to mark the occasion. Running between April 10th and May 16th, the exhibition will proudly display period clothing, these Titanic costumes stand at the opening of the Titanic at 100: Myth and Memory exhibition and are a marvellous glimpse at Victorian outfits, the likes of which could have been worn by some passengers.

The Seaport Museum's exhibition, according to the Museum of the City of New York website mcny.org, examines both the disaster and how such an incredulous event could take place and also a century's worth of fascination with the dramatic story and how it unfolded. Featuring original historic objects that have been retrieved from the Atlantic Ocean from Titanic and her passengers, we have a feeling that the exhibition will provide an unmissable experience.

The Twist

And here it is like, Columbo slapping his head and proclaiming "oh, and one more thing..." here's our twist. A common misconception about the era that RMS Titanic set sail is that it was launched during the Victorian age, that is historically incorrect, that era ended with the death of Queen Victoria I. King Edward VII taking the throne in 1901 means that the ship was crafted during and ultimately fell victim to an iceberg shortly after Edwardian era, the fact that fashions of the time seemed to change so little to an untrained eye between the Victorian era and the First World war can make this fact easy to misinterpret. The French actually called the era from 1895 to 1914 La Belle Époque. So, although wearing a Titanic costume from a bygone era maybe regarded as the wrong time period we say so what, I have t-shirts older than the Edwardian era, fancy dress is meant to be fun, so what if factually you're a couple of decades out, besides, unless you really research it, like us before putting this blog together, we didn't know.

This concludes our somewhat titanic Titanic fancy dress blog, we hope that you have found it interesting and maybe even influenced your choice of Victorian outfits, if that is indeed what you are searching for. If that's the case, please take a moment to share this blog with your friends to your Twitter or Facebook pages using the links at the top of the page.

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