Nothing says burlesque and boudoir quite as correctly as the word Corset. Worn by aficionados of different shapes, sizes, and genders with designs to die for. Some are dressed for the art of seduction, and others are modest bodices worn on a night out or a lunch date. Then there are the magnificent replicas worn as costumes in period film dramas or theatre productions.
As far back as the 16th century, women wore corsets to shape and compel their waists into impossibly thin silhouettes, and often it was laced so tightly that they fainted. X-ray photos revealed altered bone structures and intestines laying in odd positions. The standard whalebone was later replaced by plastic, more embellishments were added, the shape was altered, and finally, it was the dawn of the brassiere.
From a practical undergarment to a symbol of power, the Corset has been worn by many an icon: Wonder Woman, Madonna and the delectable Dr Frank N Furter to name but a few.
Today nothing much has changed: we wear Spanx and bras that constrict, shape, push up or tuck in certain areas of our bodies. But corsets will always be around, in all their sequined glory.
My rendition of the Corset is more straightforward, with soft floral lace patterns surrounded by silky material and an x-ray styled bare rib cage in the centre. The exposed bones are smaller in proportion to the Corset, broken and mangled to show the extreme measures we take for the sake of being beautiful and desirable.
We must always be a size smaller, have a flatter tummy, and this will go on until the end of humanity: to strive for perceived perfection at the peril of our health and well-being.
”I have always loved corsets since I was small. When I was a child, my grandmother took me to an exhibition and they had a corset on display.
I loved the flesh colour, the salmon satin, the lace.”
– Jean Paul Gaultier