'Jonah' Silk & Feather Overbust Corset By Sparklewren

'Jonah' Silk & Feather Overbust Corset By Sparklewren. The Underpinnings Museum. Photography by Tigz Rice

Date: 2013-2016

Origin: Birmingham, United Kingdom

Fabric: Dark taupe iridescent silk duchess, black satin cotton-viscose blend coutil, bronze leavers lace, old gold lace trim, pyrite stones/beads, burgundy dyed freshwater pearls, copper and rose-gold beads, rose-gold chain, natural ostrich feathers, flat steel boning, front busk (sewn permanently closed), two-part eyelets, and flat cotton lacing.

Brand: Sparklewren

Designer: Jenni Hampshire


An extravagant, one-of-a-kind corset that utilises traditional construction techniques with contemporary couture embellishment techniques. An outer fabric of silk duchesse is lined with satin coutil. Each seam is sewn in a historically inspired ‘lapped’ construction, enclosing narrow 5mm spiral steel bones.

This corset has had many evolutions: it began its life as the ‘Bird Of Prey’, a corsetted dress with the feathered skirt extending to the knees and feathers framing the bustline. The pattern and construction technique for this design are based on the same ones as the ‘Strawberry Leopard’ corset. The technique for the sprays of feathers on the garment’s skirt were inspired by an Alexander McQueen gown and were applied with the help of an intern.

In 2016, the full feather skirt was cut off to leave only the hips of feather embellishment. The corset was then further embellished with rose gold chains, pyrite stones, metallic lace and baroque freshwater pearls. It was renamed ‘Jonah’, after a cat of the designer’s friends with the same colouration as the garment.

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-2017-075


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