The inspiration for this outfit was the fairy Violente from the Sleeping Beauty ballet: a character that carries a fierce elegance, and gifts the princess Aurora a forceful and commanding presence. I wanted this garment to reflect both an unexpected strength and slightly threatening beauty.
The base fabric of cotton bobbinet tulle is one of the most lightweight and flexible of fabrics that can be successfully used for corsetry. It is no surprise that it is a staple of couture foundation-wear. It is one of my favourite mediums to work with: deceptively strong, it retains the look of delicacy but can still achieve a surprisingly dramatic, tight-laced silhouette. Such an extreme silhouette is somewhat at odds with typical ballet costume and is further emphasised by the volume of the matching tutu, yet the bobbinet still allows for relative comfort and movement.
As a lingerie designer by trade, I wanted to incorporate one of my personal strengths into this piece: structured bust fit. Multi-layered bra-fit cups could be incorporated into the body of the lightweight bobbinet without creating unsightly bulk, and the use of my brand-signature adjustable strapping on the bra band allows the wearer to create adequate bra wire ‘spring’ without overly-tightening the body of the corset. The cups themselves have a complex cut-and-sew construction, with a lining of foam padding, silk outer, lace overlay and built in cap sleeves with a silk sling.
The embellishment of the corset was an organic and constantly evolving process. Two types of French lace were carefully hand cut and symmetrically placed, with days of hand sewing to delicately appliqué the motifs to the corset itself. Sparkles are a staple of some of the best ballet costumes, and I could not deny an opportunity to break out the Swarovski crystals! I chose a combination of tiny metal mounted and droplet style crystals, carefully placed to accent the flowing patterns of the lace and provide textural intrigue. The droplet crystals were stitched to follow the motifs of the lace branch patterns, almost reminiscent of blood drops: a slightly threatening reminder that the Violente character is not one to take lightly.