"Fifth position, first position, plié…. This year we want to make a connection between corsetry and ballet, either directly through an ensemble for a particular character in a ballet, or one inspired by a ballet story. Let your mind take you to the interaction of the corset and the dance, and explore the corset as a piece of a character.”
This challenge was interpreted through the lens of “the interaction of corset and dance” and as ballet and burlesque share a similar history, I took the opportunity to collaborate with burlesque star Lucy Luxe. We discussed the theme at length and came up with a concept which had elements of ballet and the costume requirements of burlesque performance. Our inspiration came from collected imagery of vintage showgirl costumes, haute couture, lingerie and the work of fellow corsetieres.
The costume consists of three separate layers, which are progressively removed as part of the routine. The skirt layer is composed of two layers, a long fitted pencil skirt and a sheer outer skirt that is reminiscent of the romantic tutu style. The corset layer is an embellished underbust corset with lace & rhinestone detailing, ostrich feather panniers and fan lacing. The fan lacing acts as an interesting visual element and as a quick release mechanism for stage performance. The lingerie layer is a two piece set with strap and crystal embellishment.
This project has been the most challenging garment I have completed thus far, incorporating new skills such as working with stretch fabrics, learning how to use an overlocker, sewing lingerie, working with feathers, crystal embellishment and fan lacing. This process, while being a very steep learning curve, has been so enjoyable that I believe I have found my niche for my arts practice.