Clockwork Couture, L.A.'s Premiere Steampunk Fashion Spot, Opens New Boutique/Hangout in Burbank

Comments (0)


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 7:00 AM
click to enlarge The TARDIS outside of Clockwork Couture - LIZ OHANESIAN
  • Liz Ohanesian
  • The TARDIS outside of Clockwork Couture

Wednesday afternoon, Clockwork Couture, the Burbank boutique dedicated to steampunk and neo-Victorian fashion, celebrated the official grand opening their new Main Street digs. A small crowd of locals dressed in corsets, bustles and exquisite hats was there for the debut. So were Burbank's mayor and the city's Chamber of Commerce. Donna Ricci, known as Captain Donna, posed with a big red ribbon and oversized scissors in front of the store. Behind her was a DIY British-style police box, known to Dr. Who fans as a TARDIS. Her husband had only finished work on the TARDIS that morning.

The store is impeccably packed. In between the rows of bloomers and frock coats are shelves and display cases filled with perfumes and oils, one-of-a-kind hats, stationary and jewelry. A Christmas tree stands in a corner, decked out in cameos, faded photographs and airships. Stockings that resemble old-timey ladies boots hang next to the tree.

But Clockwork Couture is more than a boutique. It's a place to foster community. In the back, there's a meeting room outfitted with props made by performance group The League of S.T.E.A.M. Locals working on arts, education or entertainment projects can book time here for free. People have already used it for fundraisers, classes and script-readings. The room even served as a backdrop for the cover of L.A. Weekly's Best of L.A. 2012 issue. In the front of the store, there's a small kennel where Clockwork Couture houses rescued animals until they can find proper homes.

click to enlarge Clockwork Couture's Captain Donna Ricci - LIZ OHANESIAN
  • Liz Ohanesian
  • Clockwork Couture's Captain Donna Ricci

Ricci started her business simply, with $500 and a storeroom in her garage. When she launched Clockwork Couture at the end of 2008, it was only as a webstore. Back then, steampunk was beginning to move from its literary roots into the pop culture zeitgeist. As the interest in steampunk grew, so did Ricci's store. Around the time her business hit its first anniversary, she moved into a small office/showroom. At only 750 square feet, that space quickly proved to be too small and, two years later, she moved again. This time, though, she was going to need some help.

"I am one of those convicted people that thinks if you believe in yourself and your dream, you put up the money for it," she says. But building an immersive, multi-purpose space was going to take more than Ricci had in the budget. She turned to Kickstarter last spring. The fundraising goal was $12,000. By the end of the month-long campaign, Clockwork Couture raised $14,117. The help didn't stop there. Friends volunteered time to help get the new shop open. They even turned up with tools in hand to help build the TARDIS, with plans for the small structure provided by Mythbusters' star Grant Imahara.

Up next: Steampunk helping the unemployment rate

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets


  • Cowabunga! 30 Years of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    The COWABUNGA! - 30 Years of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tribute show opened Friday night at Iam8bit. Guests donned their beloved turtle graphic tees, onesies and a couple April O'Neils were there to report on all the mean, green, fighting machine action. Artist included Jude Buffum, Tony Mora, Nan Lawson, leesasaur, Jim Rucc, Mitch Ansara, Guin Thompson, Stratman, Gabe Swarr, Joseph Harmon, Alex Solis, Allison Hoffman, Jose Emroca Flores, Jack Teagle and more. All photos by Shannon Cottrell.
  • 21st Annual Classic Cars "Cruise Night" in Glendale
    On Saturday, spectators of all ages were out in multitudes on a beautiful summer night in Glendale to celebrate the 21st annual Cruise Night. Brand Boulevard, one of the main streets through downtown Glendale, was closed to traffic and lined with over 250 classic, pre-1979 cars. There was plenty of food to be had and many of the businesses on Brand stayed open late for the festivities The evening ended with fireworks and a 50th anniversary concert from The Kingsmen, who performed their ultimate party hit, "Louie, Louie." All photos by Jared Cowan.
  • Moonlight Rollerway Jubilee and Skate Party!
    Ambassador of Americana Charles Phoenix and Dominic's Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale hosted a jubilee featuring skating stars and world champions performing in a variety of costumed musical acts. The best part? An post-show all-skate party! All photos by Star Foreman.