Many creatives work in a bubble; Jenni Hampshire instead chose to embrace the community around her, with incredibly generosity. She often worked with students on their university projects and was always happy to share her wealth of corsetry knowledge. Creative collaborations made regular appearances: the most noteworthy was perhaps the ‘Babes In Joyland’ travelling wedding corset, and the beautiful photoshoots, orchestrated in the Sparklewren ‘Corset Paradise’.
Chapter Ten: Collaboration
'Babes In Joyland' Collaborative Wedding Corset By Pop Antique
Origin: United States & United Kingdom
Fabric: Grey dot broché cotton coutil, silk and lace embellishment
Brands: Directed by Pop Antique (Marianne Faulkner), fitting and silhouette under the advice of Dark Garden (Autumn Adamme), embellished by Sparklewren (Jenni Hampshire), Karolina Laskowska, Neon Duchess (Hannah Light) and Laurie Tavan.
For designer Marianne Faulkner, the hardest part of getting married was designing her own wedding dresses. She eventually settled on an elaborate Balenciaga-inspired look for the reception and collaborated with several other designers to make the vision a reality. The corset’s silhouette is inspired by 1950s bodices and has a darted bust construction.
The course the corset took was unconventional: it was passed from designer to designer to have embellishment added piecemeal and in layers before making its way back to Marianne. After stitching the base from a single layer of cotton coutil, she didn’t see it again until she was about to wear it at the reception.
The creative team received a mood board and some key words, but otherwise were left to play to their own strengths with very little direction. The fit and silhouette were developed under the advisement of Autumn Adamme of Dark Garden. Jenni Hampshire of Sparklewren laid the groundwork for the embellishment, defining the main motif and texture. Karolina Laskowska, of the eponymous lingerie line, built on and refined Jenni’s work, using her extensive lace knowledge and collection as well as vintage rhinestones. Neon Duchess’s Hannah Light’s touch is evident in the oversized pearlescent beads, bringing a level of quirkiness that brings it to life. Laurie Tavan added the finishing touches, bringing it to a cohesive whole, all the way through to the modesty panel.
Jenni Hampshire always approached creation as an artist rather than as a designer; corsetry was just one of many media that she explored, alongside collage and illustration. Photography became an extension of the Sparklewren brand: initially Jenni would use a distinct and fantastical approach to capturing her design work. Even the product photography on mannequins featured hand gilded dress forms and dramatic lighting. She regularly worked with other creators in the pursuit of beautiful imagery, taking photos for friends and colleagues, both within the ‘Corset Paradise’ space and at dedicated lookbook photoshoots.
The ‘Icon’ corset in 2016 incorporated a digitally printed textile of Jenni’s photography work (Victoria Dagger modelling the ‘Rose Gold’ corset in 2015).
Twig wearing Karolina Laskowska lingerie, photographed at the Sparklewren ‘Corset Paradise’ in 2014 by Jenni Hampshire.
Following the 2015 Oxford Conference of Corsetry, a number of corsetmakers made a ‘pilgrimage’ to the Sparklewren corset paradise: the day was a whirlwind of dress up, impromptu photoshoots and camaraderie. The images shown here are the ones taken by Jenni Hampshire of other makers’ design work.
Jenni was one of the original founding fellows of the conference but only worked with the conference until 2014. Her presence was sorely missed by attendees the following year, so it’s perhaps not a surprise that so many corsetieres elected to visit the Paradise in the following days.
Celestial Bodies lookbook for designer Karolina Laskowska, 2016.
Located at the ‘Corset Paradise’ showroom, using the iconic gilded screens originally created by Emily Swift-Jones for the Sparklewren boutique. A number of the final images were later hand illustrated by Jenni Hampshire.
Modelled by Yazzmin Newell & K. Laskowska
Photography and illusration by Jenni Hampshire