This corset was inspired by a tailored suit from 1951, “Esperanto”, made by French fashion house Carven. I had the opportunity to study this suit when I worked as a textile conservator at the Palais Galliera, the fashion museum of Paris, and it became one of my favorite costumes. So when I read that the competition theme for 2016 was “Intersection of light, black and white”, I immediately thought of this suit and I knew I had to make my own version of “Esperanto”!
On the original garment, the ornament is made of synthetic horsehair braid carefully applied with invisible stitches. I used the same material for the braid, but I changed the fabric: the suit by Carven is made of wool and I chose a silk satin for the fashion layer of my corset. I also altered the ornament, because I wanted to encircle the waist with the black braid (on the original, the ornament is only on the front of the suit). I took me quite a lot of time to find the right pattern but in the end I’m happy with it.
I drafted the pattern myself to get a silhouette close to the 1950’s fashion. The corset is constructed with the sandwich method: the bones are enclosed between two layers of herringbone coutil. I stitched the boning channels only on the coutil layers, to keep the satin smoother. The bones are mainly spirals, with flats on the back and just one on each side of the bust. There is no lining. The horse-hair braid is stitched by hand, it doesn’t appear on the inside. There is a waist tape, a modesty placket in the front busk and a modesty panel under the lacing. The binding is hand-stitched on the inside of the corset.
For the photo shooting, I took my main inspiration from 1950’s aesthetics. I paired the corset with a vintage fascinator and a circle skirt made of tulle lace. The pictures were taken at the Palais Royal, in Paris, near the “Colonnes de Buren”. It was cold, yet we had some fun: the model was even able to climb the columns with the corset!