A Proud Moment
At the beginning of this year I had the opportunity to send a few bits of my work to internationally renowned showgirl extraordinaire, Immodesty Blaize who's personal style I have long admired. It wasn't totally out of the blue as we've been in touch with eachother on a friendly basis for a number of years now and have wanted to work together for much of that time. Immodesty had an important shoot coming up which is still under wraps, but as an extra - a personal gift for her - I made her a new corset from my re-designed 'Essentials' range which has yet to launch. Inspired by her as my muse, and by our shared admiration of mid-century style, it's a lingerie corset designed to smooth and support, with pretty feminine details, and design reminiscent of the famous 1950's Merry Widow adverts. As it was a bit of a last minute make, I had to guess Immodesty's size - not a wild blue-sky guess but an informed one based on times I have met her, and my experience from teaching and fitting so many ladies over the years.
Immodesty naturally has a very defined hourglass shape, which is quite hard to fit because she is so shapely with a smaller than average waist. This means that her 'squidge factor' isn't quite as predictable as a body which falls into an average size set. During one chat, Immodesty had mentioned that she could no longer find a corset which didn't give her 'back fat' or '6 boobs' and speculated that her corset wearing days may well be over. I was sad that she felt that way and wanted to prove her wrong.
The corset I designed as a result of that conversation, fits wide over the bust area for two reasons - it's a flattering neckline which allows clothes to be worn over the top without obscuring the cleavage, and it hides those pesky areas of skin which most women have just in front of the armpits and which are annoyingly 'enhanced' when wearing a corset or a strapless bodice. Mr Pearl calls these "the Deneuves" because "even Catherine Deneuve has them". This corset covers those up with skilful cutting of the top edge which also reflects a certain vintage style. The back of the corset is engineered to give a smooth fit without a high back which would make it look unnecessarily 'antique', but still removing unsightly 'back fat' which is common in corsetry, the hips are curved in order to enhance the illusion of a wasp waist - because the waist is not cut smaller than the standard 4" and of course the corset includes one of the most important features of my corsetry which has become something of a signature, an underbusk. All of my corsets conform to the modern aesthetic which requires that the corset flattens the tummy - the underbusk not only helps achieve flatness at the front but also enhances the comfort of the corset, supports the torso in partnership with the spine and helps shape the body in a specific way which is not acheivable without an underbusk. As a side note, the more reduction at the waist, the more important the underbusk is.
So when Immodesty received the corset I was nervous of course - I had guessed her size having not seen her in person for nearly 2 years, and I hoped it would fit. When she tried it on, much to my relief and delight, she was amazed and left me the following message (abridged):
"I don't think i've ever had a corset that fit me so well! .... I am barely laced in and already look wasp waisted ... It's simply stunning .... I'm bowled over by your talent."
So. There we have it. One of my proudest moments so far, not only because I made a corset for an amazing woman that i've admired for a very long time, but also because the end result was affirmation for all the blood sweat and tears (mainly tears!) that have gone into my study over the years.