Posted by Amaranth
Corsetry has always been a staple in my wardrobe, the mix and match options with a corset, skirt and top gave me limitless outfit options with a limited number of pieces. However with my curvaceous frame I often found most off-the-peg corsets simply didn’t fit well and indeed hardly pulled in my waist at all. It was a pleasure then to find Waisted Creations, whose signature shape rejoices in all that makes a woman womanly. A fairly new name to the custom corsetry market, it’ll be great to see how her work evolves in the future.
What first got you interested in corsetry?
My Grandmother left me her collection of Victorian fashion plates and I became fascinated in the fashions of the Victorian age as a result. Corsetry was something which appealed to me from this era because the corset is such a polarizing item of clothing. I am fascinated by the cultural history of corsets as well as the aesthetics.
Why do you think women fought so hard to be free of such restrictive clothing in the past and are now going back to them? Do you see the corset as a symbol of female oppression?
I think that women initially ditched the corset because it was necessary at the onset of the First World War. This was because of steel shortages meaning new corsets were impossible to come by, and work in factories made it necessary for women to be less constricted.
I think the corset is still a symbol of oppression to some people today, but to others it is quite the opposite. Personally, I see corsetry as a symbol of liberation for women. It is a symbol of the power of femininity and the independence women have gained since the corset was originally worn.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to try out their first corset?
Be realistic about your goals – corsets are a way of sculpting your figure, and not a weight loss tool.
It is also important to research how to care for your corset as corsets are not like other clothes – it is important to break them in over a period of a few weeks so that the fabric is not put under too much stress in one go.
I understand you are studying? Could you tell me about your course and any notable projects?
I am studying for my BA in Viking studies at the moment, at UCL. I am learning Norwegian along with Old Norse, and I study Scandinavian history as well.
This seems pretty different to my corsetry, but I have found a lot of ways to link the two things. Earlier this year I started a project based on Goddesses and I have had fun putting my knowledge of Nordic myths to good use in this.
Could you tell me about your Goddesses project?
I have always loved creating outfits based on characters from literature and films for my personal projects. Because of my love of the Norse myths, it seemed natural for me to bring some of the women from these to life, too. I started with the Goddess Fjorgyn, who is the Norse version of Mother Earth, because she is my favourite Goddess but she is often overlooked because not much is known about her. I had an overwhelming response to this set, and it gave me confidence that I would do the other Goddesses justice, so I have been working on creating the perfect outfit for each of them one at a time ever since.
You specialise in the beautiful extreme curved hourglass shape, what is it about that shape you love?
I love that you can create an aesthetic totally different to your natural look. To me it is like wearing a wig or coloured contact lenses. It allows me to feel like a different person and it gives me a lot of confidence.
Explain about your corset construction, detail and underlying quality?
I have studied historical corsets at museums locally as well as owning a couple of original Victorian and Edwardian corsets myself, and from these I have picked up a lot of my construction techniques.
I also use a lot of online forums as I find these can be invaluable if there is a tricky project I need help with. Getting other peoples perspective on how they would tackle a particular construction technique is very helpful at times.
I am very particular about the materials I use. I love using silk as a fashion fabric as it gives a piece an instantly luxurious feel. I use a lot of lace for embellishment and the laces I use are all either couture or antique.
Are there any fellow corsetieres you admire and draw inspiration from?
I have a lot of respect for Jill Salen. She has written books on antique corsetry and lingerie, and I have been on the corsetry workshops she runs several times. She is a wonderful lady and she has an inspiring attitude to making modern corsets which are inspired by those of the past. I also owe a great deal to Sparklewren, who I have interned for and who taught me many of the embellishment techniques I use.
What do you think is the biggest faux pas in the industry, either of other corset makers or wearers?
A lot of people don’t realize that bespoke corsetry is very different to buying an off the rack piece, and some of the things you have to explain as a result can be challenging. It’s important for people to understand that having something custom made takes longer than buying something which is ready to be shipped.
You are also involved in a vintage fashion business La Belle Epoque, could you tell me about that?
Myself and a friend (burlesque performer Darkteaser) were talking about our vintage clothing one day and we both realized that we have a real passion for vintage clothing and a good knowledge of how to source it. It seemed natural for us to start the business up as it means we have an outlet for sharing the clothing we love with other people.
If you could corset anyone, living or dead, real or fictional, who would that be and how would you adorn them?
Making a corset for yourself (Lady Amaranth) was something I had always wanted to do as I really love your style. I would also love to work with Helena Bonham Carter, as I love her style and have a lot of ideas for really elaborate pieces which I think she would look wonderful in.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I will be attending a few alternative pop up shops around the UK with my corsets and my vintage clothing, and I hope to have a permanent shop at some point in the future.
Published in Alt Fashion
Photo Credits: Iberian Black Arts & Katelizabeth