Monday, July 14, 2014

History's Runway: A Late Nineteenth Century Corset

The Victoria & Albert Museum

A lady’s corset didn’t just offer a supportive foundation, it molded her body into unnatural shapes in order to fit whatever peculiar silhouette was in fashion at the time. By the 1890s, women’s bodies were being forced into angular shapes which went against any natural human form. The one we see above, at least, claimed to relieve pressure on internal organs while supporting the stomach. I seriously doubt that it did.

This…thing…is made of whalebone which has been constructed, essentially to be a second ribcage…a restrictive, uncomfortable ribcage in a different shape than the woman’s body. But, just so it didn’t look like a torture device, it had some very attractive embroidery on its pink satin surface. It’s also trimmed with dark pink satin ribbon.

It was made in England between 1890 and 1895. 

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