Wednesday, June 17, 2009


With the continuing popularity of the strapless bodice, some designers are restructuring the look to keep it from going stale. The corset is one such digression. Though not all corsets are strapless, most designers have at least one corset or bustier look in their collection. Corsets are fascinating; they suggest the intimacy of lingerie and all those private moments primping in a boudoir. Working itself into mainstream fashion alongside 1980s punk chic, icons like Madonna and Cindy Lauper are noted for introducing the corset. As of late, they’ve showed up in bridal wear either as separates or as the bodice of a full gown.
Meschantes Couture

Meschantes Couture

Two basic things really mark the look of a corset: busk and boning. Other characteristics include front or back ribbon lace-up, hooks and eyes and wiring under the bra cups. Shaped bra cups are typically found on the bustier, an adaption of the corset found on the lengthy repertoire of 1950s foundations. The designers here have taken the corset to the level of a work of art. Though true to its original characteristics--busk and shape, each piece is a study in working different variations and incorporating imaginative detail.

Meschantes Couture

Meschantes Couture

Karen von Oppen

Karen von Oppen

The corset as we know it best, has been around before the Renaissance. You'll find an original pattern from the 1500s differs from the late 1800s as the basic silhouette of costume changed. For instance, a bodice or corset with both front and back lace ups connotes how many servants a woman had to assist in dressing; whereas, some corsets circa 1890 have no stays in back, and hook up the front panel.

Your fine corset maker--if he/she is decent at the craft --will typically cater to a world outside of bridal--the other end of the costume design spectrum that includes fetish dressing and Goth. You'll find it amazing how the same corset pattern in red or black with a change of model, say of the Betti Page variety, can be a complete transformation from the vintage boudoir-bridal look you want to create. Try to find a corset maker who does diversify. Generally, it broadens the craft and could bring a whole new set of elements into play you weren't expecting.

Below is Italian designer, Amelia Casablanca's signature look: skirts sporting yards of sumptuous fabric, each corset below sitting a top a cinched waistline giving off that ultra-feminine look.

Amelia CasablancaAmelia Casablanca

And don't forget . . . wearing your corset after the wedding either with blue jeans or a skirt creates a stunning look and addition to your wardrobe. Check out the chic below from Bella Bella Boutique

Since many brides-to-be are considering integrating corsets or some form thereof into their look, below is a list of top designers and corset makers in the US and Europe.


Truly Engaging said...

Great post as always Amy Jo! Very informative... & lots of pretties!

Rhian Morris said...

Innovative post! Very good variety of looks in the same genre...