Date: c. late 1980s
Fabric: Polyester satin, cotton
Brand: La Guêpière/Iris Norris
A longline underbust corset, crafted from an outer layer of polyester satin, and an interior of tightly woven cotton. It fastens with a steel busk at the front and metal eyelets with cotton lacing at the rear, and is structured with a mix of flat and spiral steel bones. This corset was originally made for a masculine figure, and uses gored panels at the hips to help achieve a dramatically curved silhouette.
Iris Norris was an independent corsetiere, referred to as ‘La Guêpière’ by her loyal customer base. She originally worked for Gardner & Son for 38 years, until their closure in 1981. She went on to found her own corset making business, creating bespoke garments for a select clientele. She was renowned for the dramatic shape that her corsets gave, and pioneered the use of gored patterning to achieve these silhouettes. Her clients included renowned tightlacers such as Cathie Jung and Ethel Granger.
From the collection of The Underpinnings Museum