Sunday, August 5, 2007

Boy, you gotta carry that weight

I just bought a great book by the costume curator at the Kyoto Costume Institute. Check it out here- it's pretty amazing. I love fashion history; the more you study it, the more you realize that the history of clothing is really the history of the human race and all its different and diverse cultures.

What is my point? Well, this book is filled with fantastic photography and details, including this photo of a late 16th century French corset. It's made out of iron. Can you believe women used to wear stuff like this every day?

Fortunately, we have come a long way since those days. Miss W's wedding gown has a built-in support foundation but it is lightweight and flexible- much more comfortable than an iron cage! I use several pieces of plastic boning to give the bodice its structure and shape, then finish the back closure with hooks and eyes.

What this does is take a lot of stress off the dress itself. If you've ever worn a wedding gown, or certain kinds of formal gowns, you know how heavy they are. You have several yards of dress fabric, several yards of lining, several yards of underlining. You may have beads or trim. You may have a long train. All of these materials add up; some wedding dresses could weigh more than twenty pounds! The foundation is tight and secure around the torso, and supports the weight of the dress. Additionally, there will be minimal slipping, so Miss W won't have to be hitching it up all night (you girls all know how irritating that is!)

Anyway, going back to the start of this post, the next time you have to wear pasties or Spanx, think about how much worse it could be, and be thankful. I know I am!


Blue Orchid Designs said...

So interesting! I am glad I live in today's world. :)

Life Design Event Planning said...

Totally interesting. I bet men did most of the designing back then. :)

Rebecca said...

It's true that male fashion designers really dominated the field- in fact, the first modern couturier was the House of Worth, headed by designer Charles Frederick Worth in the late 19th century. He really paved the way for haute couture. Before that, there were no designer labels. Without him, there might not have been a Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, or Madeleine Vionnet.

(End of lecture)