Model: Aleksandra Ursul
Renewal associations in my mind are closely bound up with oriental religion and culture. Plus I’ve always deeply admired classical Japanese aesthetics. Moreover, here is some fun fact about me: my favourite flowers ever are Japanese chrysanthemums. I see them like thousands of tiny little fingers, and that fantasy delights my inner kinesthetic. All my friends know this but I always receive roses, because it is almost impossible to buy mums in my city. So I replicate this motive in other ways over and over. I have them tattooed on my collarbones, I buy and sew lots of clothes with floral print, I have already embroidered them in different techniques. Thus I didn’t have any choice, I was forced to make a blooming corset.
The first sketches I drew represented something pink, cute and sweet. But there is a strange thing that I can’t describe. Each time I try to make something cute, it mystically transforms into something dark and gloomy. And it happened again. But I hope it still keeps nice and pleasant impression.
Last year I became the happy owner of a real historical corset, and it turned the concept of corsetmaking upside down in my head. Pictures I saw on the internet before do not reflect even one percent of its exquisiteness in reality; it is not like a piece of clothing, it is like a piece of jewelry. So another idea I wanted to translate was idea of delicacy and fragility. Which refers us back to the Japanese aesthetics. I wonder how women in this culture are elegant, graceful and strong at the same time. I tried to catch this duality in my work, and make a sturdy garment as thin and ethereal as possible.
This year my embroidery challenge was simpler than last one's — I decided to applique pre-made embroidery on a pre-made corset instead of embroidering corset panels before any cutting and sewing. The embroidery was executed on silk organza using both needle and luneville hook. I also tried to achieve a tapestry look with a flat satin stitch technique. Each flower and leaf were attached without any visible stitches on the wrong side of the corset.
Another exercise I’ve found for myself was working with soft mesh for the first time. I covered it with the thinnest dotted tulle, and it was really tricky to deal with. But it gave the amazing delicacy I wanted to reach.
The main requirement for the construction was, what a surprise, subtlety. And the best way to satisfy this request was with the Edwardian silhouette. My choice fell on Ref K drafted by Joëlle Verne from Atelier Sylphe. This pattern has beautiful lines provided by lots of gores and gussets. And I love how this S-curve design works on my model. To pay tribute to the historical foundation of the construction, I used my favourite trick: invisible flossing in silk thread. It doesn’t attract attention, but it’s still there.
And a finishing touch. To add some kimono effect I made a plain silk satin panel along the top line of the corset. Plus I didn't use bias binding, typical in corsetmaking. All the edges were closed by soft mesh and hidden on the wrong side.
Corset: soft corsetry mesh, dotted tulle, herringbone coutil, silk satin
Embroidery: silk organza, Soie Perlée silk threads, DMC metallic threads, Toho Aiko cylinder beads
What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?
Like all of us, I live in a permanent lack of time. And this competition is the rare opportunity to create something really outstanding. And I do appreciate this chance to overcome my creativity, to manage my time and to push myself towards something new. Anyone should try this experience, it’s fantastic!