I thought that I would do some posts on the sexier side of Vivienne’s designs.
From my own personal collection of paper & magazine cuttings, this week the focus is on the corset.
Making its first appearance in the Harris Tweed collection AW 1987-8, the Stature of Liberty, as the corset was named, has been a continuous feature in Vivienne’s designs to this day.
Based on the 18th Century corset which Vivienne reclaimed & reinvented; simply constructed, using fake plastic whalebone & an elasticated back panel, this item has been made in a multitude of different fabrics, starting with velvet, satin & lace, but over the years also using drapes, leather, wool & a multitude of different printed fabrics, the most famous of which was the ‘Shepherd Watching a Sleeping Shepherdess’ print, reproduced from the 1743 Rococo painting by Francois Boucher & first shown in the Portrait collection AW 1990-91.
Through its history, different versions of the corset have appeared. A short bra type & a strapless version were both shown in the Pagan V SS 1990 collection & in the Vive le Cocotte AW 1995-96 collection, Vivienne took the feminine hourglass shape to the extreme with a padded bust version, worn with a matching bustle over the female derriere.
The corset has also been incorporated into other garments such as knitwear & a host of dresses & ballgowns.
Valerie Steele, the American fashion historian wrote in her book The Corset, A Cultural History: ‘Once women no longer felt that they had to wear corsets, when the corset itself was stigmatized; some women consciously chose to wear them. Now however, the corset was worn openly, as fashionable outerwear, rather than underwear. Long disparaged as a symbol of female oppression, the corset began to be reconceived as a symbol of female sexual empowerment’
Bring it on.
Above: Model Helena Baraquilla
Above & below: Model Sara Stockbridge
Below: Tizer Bailey & Linda Evangelista