I was so excited when I learned that this year’s theme was going to be ballet, as my full-time work is as a stitcher in the costume shop at the New York City Ballet. I was also a dancer growing up, and have always had a love for Old Hollywood, back when women had lovely, hourglass figures. My main inspiration for this project was based on costumes from classical ballet as well as tutus worn by actresses like Brigitte Bardot and Leslie Caron.
With my entry I was looking to create a truly unique, but at the same time, a very traditional tutu. As for the front of my corset, I took direct inspiration from the ballet scene in ‘An American in Paris’ [from 2:05], where the chorus girls are wearing romantic tutus that have a three-dimensional heart shaped bodice. I attempted to mimic this myself, and imagined the best way to highlight the extra dimension would be by filling my “heart” with crystals that copy the pattern design in the chosen fabric, which just called out to me in the store. I knew I had to make something fun out of it.
The base of my corset pattern uses an original Karinska pattern from her time as the costume designer for the NYC Ballet. I got to work creating a three-dimensional pattern for the front pieces and spent plenty of time meticulously sewing all the crystals onto my “heart”, then carefully sewed everything together. I used stuffing to keep my “heart” from collapsing into itself and decided to use a piped bias to finish the edges of my corset, since that is traditionally how tutu bodices are made.
To me this is my “True Colors” corset because it shows a combination of the things I love, of who I am, and the inspirations I have had throughout my life.