'Crimson Skull' Underbust Corset By Sparklewren

'Crimson Skull' Underbust Corset By Sparklewren, c. 2015, United Kingdom. The Underpinnings Museum. Photography by Tigz Rice.

Date: c. 2015

Origin: United Kingdom

Fabric: Silk

Brand: Sparklewren


An underbust corset in a single layer of silk-cotton satin. It is patterned in the signature Sparklewren ‘Bird’s wing’ style, stitched with lapped seams each enclosing a spiral steel bone. Bird’s wing patterning was inspired by the antique ‘Bird’s Wing’ corset from the Symington Collection held by Leicestershire County Council’s Museums Service. The garment was supposedly named for the fact that it looks like a bird’s wing when laid flat. The original 1900s antique used an unusually high number of 21 panels per side, with a lapped seam construction enclosing a bone in each seam.

This corset is embellished in a mix of black and metallic gold French leavers laces, carefully hand appliquéd in place. The motifs are arranged at the centre front of the garment to form the likeness of a skull, intended as a tribute to the fashion designer Alexander McQueen.

Jenni Hampshire began creating corsets under the moniker ‘Sparklewren’ in 2009. The designer’s background in Fine Art has resulted in a body of work akin to wearable sculpture. Historically inspired silhouettes and construction techniques are paired with lush, opulent embellishment and couture construction techniques. The brand specialises in one-of-a-kind heirloom garments, with each garment taking weeks of carefully considered embellishment and craftsmanship.


From the collection of Karolina Laskowska

Museum number: KL-2018-021


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