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Voting has now closed. Congratulations to you all, and thank you everyone for entering, commenting, sharing and voting!

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Spirales d’or bleu by Mary McGuinness      Spirales d’or bleu by Mary McGuinness


Spirales d’or bleu by Mary McGuinness      Spirales d’or bleu by Mary McGuinness


Spirales d’or bleu by Mary McGuinness      Spirales d’or bleu by Mary McGuinness



Spirales d’or Bleu

Mary McGuinness, Ireland

IG: CostumeMaryMcGuinness


The Design

My entry for Foundations Revealed corset competition 2019 is influenced by an anonymous image of the underneath of a spiral staircase in an abandoned French castle. I am very taken with the texture of the blue and gold peeling paint contrasted with the fragility of the spiralling filigree balustrade.

I see in my influencing image the passive and perpetual advance of nature as she resolutely strips and peels the layers of paint and decoration, revealing a greater dystopian beauty of distressed colour and texture. I am particularly taken with this image as it is the underside of the staircase and only on looking up does one become aware of the beauty. I find the aesthetic of decomposition beautiful as organic materials give way to the vanguard of retrospection.

My desire is to recreate the lost lustre and show the former opulence of this grand spiral staircase. However it is the dystopian beauty of the distressed state of the underneath that has caught my attention.

I am aiming for a visual balance of structure and distressed texture in my corset. Taking the theme of architecture literally, my aim in my project is to underpin the surface aesthetic with a strong foundation and build from support tensions.

So, not only do I want to heavily reference my chosen image, I also want to have an architectural approach as I build my corset. However, I don’t want the corset to look heavy and rigid, I want it to have a gentle spiralling flow.


The Construction

For my corset the fabrics I used are blue raw silk, gold metallic dupion, off-white satin crepe and Italian gold metallic embroidered silk organza.

I have recently been experimenting with tensions and counter-tensions to achieve exaggerated shapes and with this corset I took it one step further. The front of the hip extensions are cut on the bias and as I sewed these seams I stretched them for maximum length. The bias cut boning channels were then sewn on with ease so that when the spiral boning was inserted under pressure, the boned edge would pop. This was to be the main focus as I wanted to represent spiralling steps of a stairs. To achieve the distressed look of peeling paint, I used a bias panel with satin stitched 4cm cuts. The satin stitched cuts are at 1cm row intervals and descending by 1cm increments. When pulled under pressure the cuts would distort and open to reveal the embroidered organza underneath. I used bias trim inserted into boning channels, cutting it at an angle to achieve the effect of aging and peeling.

This was all explorative and worked theoretically in my head. The challenge of a soft aesthetic built on a firm structure required a lot of patience. That was my main resource, patience.

The finished corset has a main body with hip extensions, an under skirt corset and a boned bustle to encourage the hip extension to pop at the back.


What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?

Now that I have submitted, it was amazing. I was daunted by the excellent work on view in past competitions by worldwide corset makers. I had a vision of what I wanted, but didn't think I would be able to realise it. The only thing that got me through was having patience with the work.

I would say to future competitors, do it. Don't think about it, trust yourself and your ability, everything is a learning curve. Take inspiration from past competitors and not fear.


This is utterly brilliant work, I absolutely love it.
Wowwww the lines and shaping of this piece! I *love* when a designer makes the back of the garment a part of the flow. Incredible work, I love this!
There's a lot to love about this piece (like, everything), but I think one of my favorite details is how the gold strips almost perfectly match up with where the gold lacing is in the back, making this almost seamlessly sinuous! So so gorgeous!
So much to love, I think my favourite element is the shaping across the hips.
Absolutely love how you’ve created this from your inspiration image, well done.
kitty mortensen
Oh- wow. I adore the silhouette you've achieved! and the details are just spectacular.
It has been great to follow your process on instagram, wondering how all those pieces would come together. And I must say, it is lovely. But your interpretation of the staircase is amazing and so spot on!!!
That skirt! incredible patterning and construction, really great use of your original inspiration. Then the slashing on the bodice and the way the lacing reflects the panels of the bust lines - be still my beating heart, really spectacular work, well done :)
This is brilliant!!
Your design stands out with its unique shape and proportions and I find it very impressive how you managed to achieve such a threedimensiona l construction that looks so flawless. I also love the colours you have chosen and especially the back view looks striking!

Gorgeous in every way! I especially love the peeling paint effect, very creative!
I adore the color choices, that striking blue and gold--and I just love how the lines in the back converge with the lacing, how clever!
Your experimental construction techniques have worked amazingly in producing such a sculptural shape. The booty on that! It certainly captures the essence of those stairs. The back and side view are particularly striking and the curves really draw the eye. Amazing interpretation!
Totally brilliant! Totally beautiful!!
Oh my days!! Love this! Gorgeous silhouette, colours, pattern matching and architectural interpretation. I am in awe :) x
Wow, your design and your construction are amazing! Very very skillfull piece, congratulations !
Absolutely striking! I love the shape that you have achieved, it's perfect in its geometry and the colours are gorgeous. Well done, it's stunning!
I am on the FLOOR just breathtaking!!! All of it! Amazing Job!
Stunning. Especially the back view
The shape you have achieved in the skirt is just amazing and combined with the design, fabric choice and your inspiration have produced a spectacular piece.
marloes dadswell
I love your inspiration and the sculptural lines you have created with this design. Brilliant work!!!
Oh this is so gorgeous, Il love that you experimented with the shape and texture to create an surreal piece. And my dear, the inside, this must have been so complicated... the detail in the back an which the lines go over into the lacing is so delicate. Very neat and beautifully executed... such a piece of art! <3

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