Corsetry as an original foundation of ballet is often overlooked. Many of the ideals of carriage and motion hark back to the original clothing worn for ballet which was not like a modern bodice. The corset and structural underpinnings of original opera ballet costumes of the 18th century show full sets of stays underneath entire gowns with panniers. In the 19th century, the rise of Romanticism, woman dancers are able to have more freedom of movements in their corsets and tutus sans full gowns.
Breanna mentioned Marion’s article when I couldn’t find a tulle to color match the custom dyed silk fabric for The Lilac Fairy, and it was super handy. I read up on her suggestions and picked a set of 4 different tulle colors to layer to create a coordinating romantic tutu. Each layer is doubled up so there are a total of 8 layers of tulle in the final tutu. At 4.5 yards in each layer, that makes 36 yards of fabric of varying widths.
When preparing to attend the 2015 Oxford Conference of Corsetry, the organizer and corsery fellow Julia Bremble suggested we think about doing forms for our corsets for display. I have seen this done in museums before, where they use lightweight plexi-glass forms to create an insert into the corset. I loved seeing corsets suspended from the ceiling, floating in space with no mannequin in sight.
This outfit was put together as two separate pieces for an event with the intention of finishing it off as a complete full length gown. It was fun to play around with having the design continue into my hair. It is entirely hand-pieced and hand-sewn.
For Valentines Day this year my husband gifted me a custom robe from Catherine D’Lish. Quite a luxury. I’ve lounged around in it, eaten jam on crumpets in it, taken it on vacation, and just enjoyed it hanging in my home. It is a very decorative piece that I’ve found is more useful than I could have imagined. Here are the images my husband shot of me enjoying our vacation. I have to admit it is fun to wear coming down a staircase and I have one of those at home too!
This was at the apartment we rented and outside in the private calle during out visit to Venice, Italy for Redentore this year. I wore it over my sheer bobinette corset for the boudoir shots, then added a lovely gown underneath for shots out in more public spaces.
Now I slightly strong armed my way into Marianne’s ( PopAntique ) wedding corset project. When Marianne told me her plan to pass her reception corset around, to be decorated by many makers, my inner self squeed with joy. We both have a strong attraction to pink and gray and I had purchased some Solstiss lace during the Oxford Conference of Corsetry that I very badly wanted to see on her corset. I didn’t take a lot of convincing as she agreed immediately that I should join in the project. Yay!
We finagled our travel plans, to the Oxford Conference of Corsetry, so Marianne and I would get some time discussing the project on the plane. I thought I’d start the decoration then, but changed my mind. We both felt it was better if she didn’t see any of the decoration applied to the corset, so the final reveal would be…well revealing and a big surprise. So while most of my lace was applied by Sparklewren (I did add some details from it to the final design) it makes me so happy to see it on her corset. Here is the bare corset awaiting the detailing and the lace I included in the project:
I have no idea how she trusted us all! The first thing the dawned on me was the effort it would take to collaborate long distance, with makers of different aesthetics. We had a very active discussion chat history scheming along the way. It was very helpful to talk and get others feedback to cull ideas, but also to watch it evolve. The timing was pretty tight but it all happened and was completed in time.
When the corset made its way to me the majority of the work had been done with some elements needing to be pulled together along with final construction finishing work.
One of my best friends is also a lovely corset-maker, model, and one of my ultimate muses. Now there are plans for three corsets to make up a bouquet of roses but here is our final entry into the Foundations Revealed Competition this year.
I have realized, through many hours of dressing my own hair, that I need more wigs for different eras. There are only so many 3 hour sessions I want to spend trying to make my long hair looks short, for example.
This year I was not overly prepared for Costume college. I managed to power through jet lag from our family vacation, pack, and hop right back on a plane, this time to LA. This year my alpaca Rainbow sherbet accompanied me on the trip.
I always enjoy having along a hand sewing project so this lovely nursing corset was flossed over the span of my costume college trip.
I love to see where gowns from our shop make their way out in the world. My client was kind enough to share some images of the lovely Wisteria in Velvet gown at her ball in Vienna, Austria. The final design has a sheer ruffle added to the bustline and flowers trailing down the skirt in continuation of the flowers on the corset.
I’ve had this fabric for years and knew I wanted to make something eventually. I have the same pattern in a brown colorway that I hope to make a slightly different design. The gown was fit over different stays than worn in these photos but it still works very well with the pinned stomacher which gives some leeway for fitting adjustments at the front.
Shown with two different hats and two different pairs of shoes for slightly different impressions:
Shoes: American Duchess
Photography: Tavan Photography