Corselet With Lace Appliqué, Padded Cups & Tulle Ruffles By Lady Marlene

Lace & Ruffle Corselet By Lady Marlene, c. 1950s, USA. Photography by Tigz Rice. The Underpinnings Museum

Date:  c. 1950s

Origin: USA

Fabric: Nylon Lace, nylon tulle and nylon mix stretch mesh.

Brand: Likely Lady Marlene

A wonderfully elaborate and flirty rendition of the popular ‘Merry Widow’ style of the 1950s, similar in style to the contemporary ‘basque’. Featuring padded 3-piece foam cups, layers of sheer tulle, nylon lace and stretch mesh. This piece is boned throughout with spiral steel boning, encased in taffetta internal channels.

The cups are underwired, with underwire channels in the same taffetta with additional internal padding at stress points such as the centre front. The 4 suspender straps are elasticated, with metal adjusters and detachable hooks. This garment has a low back and closes with hooks and eyes. As is typical of the era, these hooks and eyes are stitched to the interior of the garment, rather than treated as a tape to encase the raw edges of the fabric as contemporary garments tend to. The top and bottom edges of the garment are finished with a wide, plush elastic that has been applied with a zigzag stitch.

The embellishment on this garment is particularly noteworthy. Lace is used as an overlay on side panels and cups, and has been hand-cut into scallops and appliquéd onto the centre front of the garment. These scallops have then been edged with tiny tulle ruffles. These ruffles have also been applied in 3 tiers to the top pattern piece of both cups. The garment is finished with a small tulle ribbonwork rose at the centre front, on top of a single satin bow.

There are remnants of brand labels stitched into a back seam of the garment. Despite the lack of labels, it is likely that this garment was created by the brand Lady Marlene. The construction techniques and fabrics suggest that this piece is 1950s in style.


From the collection of Karolina Laskowska

Museum Number: KL-2016-013


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