Chapter 2: Patterning, Shape & Texture

As the European Renaissance referenced classical Greek and Roman art, this Modern Corsetry Renaissance likewise maintains deep roots in forgotten elements of Victorian and Edwardian corset-making. An increased interest in historic patents, made available through the internet, sparked waves of interest. Patents may have claimed novel features, or perhaps just offered an unexpected take on style lines. New materials also became accessible, such as high-grade synthetic whalebone, with which to better recreate or intentionally hybridised historically inspired styles.

Corset Silhouettes By Marianne Faulkner. L-R: Conical, Hourglass, Cupped Rib, and Pipestem
Corset Silhouettes By Marianne Faulkner. L-R: Conical, Hourglass, Cupped Rib, and Pipestem

With experimentation, new trends in stylelines began to emerge. An extant silhouette between a classic “hourglass” and dramatic “pipestem” rose in popularity after being coined the “cupped rib” by Marianne Faulkner of Pop Antique. Not only are seams and bone channels used as design opportunities, but there’s also greater exploration of top and bottom edge shaping: hearts, tulips, even wing motifs emerge.

'Winter Sky' Satin & Lace Underbust Corset By Royal Black Couture & Corsetry. The Underpinnings Museum. Photography by Tigz Rice
The Underpinnings Museum at Oxford Conference Of Corsetry. Photographed by Tigz Rice Studios 2017.

'Winter Sky' Satin & Lace Underbust Corset By Royal Black Couture & Corsetry

Date: 2015

Origin: Austria

Fabric: Duchesse satin, stretch satin, lace

Brand: Royal Black Couture & Corsetry

Designer: Barbara Pesendorfer

 

This corset was a sample for Royal Black’s “Lace Dreams” collection, where the designer focused on purely satin and lace designs. It’s an experiment with historical S bend patterns, with design details influenced by vintage lingerie, such as the quilted satin gussets.

Corsets are wearable art. They are my way to express myself creatively, to celebrate craftsmanship and to tell stories. I love the contrast of corsets being restrictive garments but at the same time being the base for complete creative freedom. Maybe like an empowering armor, that makes the wearer the main character of the story I want to tell with the design.

Barbara Pesendorfer, 2016

Contrast stitched corded corset, c. 1860s, France From The Underpinnings Museum Collection Photography by Tigz Rice

Contrast Stitching Corded Corset

Date:  c. 1860s

Origin: France

Fabric: Cotton

Brand: Custom made

Corded corset with flossing embroidery by S&S, c. late 1880s, Great Britain From The Underpinnings Museum collection Photography by Tigz Rice

Corded Corset With Flossing Embroidery By S&S

Date:  c. late 1880s

Origin: Great Britain

Fabric: Cotton

Brand: S&S

Quilted satin and embroidered tulle suspender belt. Photography by Tigz Rice Studios. The Underpinnings Museum

Quilted Satin And Embroidered Suspender Belt

Date:  c. 1940s

Origin: United Kingdom

Fabric: Viscose Satin, Embroidered Tulle

Brand: Custom made

Low Back Tear Drop Quilted Cup Bra By Charnaux, c. 1950s The Underpinnings Museum shot by Tigz Rice Studios 2017

Low Back Tear Drop Quilted Cup Bra By Charnaux

Date:  1950s

Origin: Germany

Fabric: Nylon

Brand: Charnaux

Cording and quilting have long been a popular stitch technique to achieve support and structure in underwear. It can also be used as a purely decorative detail, with contemporary design using it as a nod to ‘vintage’ aesthetics.

Silk & lace padded mid-bust corset with suspenders Photography by Tigz Rice Studios The Underpinnings Museum

Silk & Lace Padded Mid-bust Corset With Suspenders

Date:  c. early 1900s

Origin: France

Fabric: Silk

Although time has not treated this corset kindly and its silk structure is largely in tatters, it is still an exquisite example of Edwardian corsetry. The patterning is extremely complex as is typical of the ‘S curve’ silhouette. The panels have swooping diagonal lines with multiple gusset inserts at the bust and hips.

'Vixen' velvet ribbon corset by Pop Antique. The Underpinnings Museum. Photography by Tigz Rice

"Vixen" Velvet Ribbon Corset By Pop Antique

Date: 2017

Origin: San Francisco CA, United States

Fabric: Cerise pink silk duchess, cerise pink antique silk velvet ribbon

Brand: Pop Antique

Designer: Marianne Faulkner

 

The first corset that Marianne Faulkner ever made was a faux ribbon corset, a style that was first popularised in the late 19th century. The idea of a true ribbon corset made for serious lacing later became an integral part of the Pop Antique line. This corset was custom made for Karolina Laskowska, and the pattern is adapted from the brand’s standard fit, modified for the width of the antique velvet ribbons. The number of ribbons in each section was increased from 5 to 7, for a total of 34 panels.

Modern corsetry means getting to choose elements from not just the history of corsets but also contemporary fashion and textiles. You’re not tied to a specific silhouette, purpose, construction, or fabric choice. I love to discreetly integrate corset structure (and dramatic waist reductions!) into other garments, or cover the corset with an unexpected fabric like a sweater knit. The key is to allow the strengths of the other inspiration sources, methods, and materials to shine through, rather than forcing them to be more corset-like and losing their intrinsic qualities.

– Marianne Faulkner, 2017

Overlocked Floral Jacquard Weave Ribbon Corset

Date:  c. 1900s

Origin: Great Britain

Fabric: Jacquard weave cotton

Brand: Unknown

Ribbon corsets began to appear at the turn of the century and offered women a much greater freedom of movement than traditional corset styles. The cut was much less restrictive, constricting only a small portion of the waist and leaving the hips and bust free.

Overlocked Floral Jacquard Weave Ribbon Corset, c. 1900, Great Britain. The Underpinnings Museum. Photo by Tigz Rice
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