A new old collection
adj: /in’tʃɑntiŋ/ meaning : "Delightfully charming or attractive"
or in other words
captivating, charming, delightful, attractive, appealing, engaging, winning, dazzling, bewitching, beguiling, alluring, tantalizing, seductive, ravishing, disarming, irresistible, spellbinding, entrancing, enthralling, fetching, dreamy
All words I would use to describe corsetry. Not just my corsetry. Any corsetry. All corsetry. That's why we - makers and wearers alike - get so hopelessly addicted to them!
Originally called simply the "Essentials" collection, this new, re-branded, re-designed collection is a small capsule of wardrobe staples incorporating every day corsetry and including two overbust corsets, an underbust corset, a little waist cincher and two skirts - the skirts are designed especially to complement corset wearing and can be worn under or over the corset. The current trend is to wear your corset over your top and under your skirt.
In the beginning, I made this collection because I wanted to provide a bespoke quality, ready to wear range of 'essential' corsetry staples which are hand made to order, using quality materials. I did that over a year ago in February 2016 when the original collection of four corsets was shot for the first time. Unfortunately that shoot was an unmitigated disaster, an inexperienced photographer, coupled with a makeup artist who didn't do 'drama' or hair, and consequently a beautiful but unhappy model - simply, when part of the team isn't on the same page, the results are always going to be disappointing. The collection failed because of it's poor presentation and my subsequent lack of enthusiasm for it.
As the year went on, I decided to scrap the original "essentials" and work on improving the range in various ways, with a view to shooting it properly with a team of professionals who I knew I was in tune with aesthetically. The patterns are essentially the same but the designs have been tweaked a little, and instead of using single layer cotton and brocade coutils, I decided to use silk satin fused to cotton coutil which means that although they are still single layer corsets and very light as a result, they are uber strong and durable. The new 'Enchanting Essentials' collection is photographed in black but the garments are available in practically any colour of silk available and their totally unique feature, is the stiff underbusk which supports the busk fastner at the front. I put this into all of my corsetry as standard, but this is the only rtw range on the market that includes this feature. Why do I use them? A tip from Mr Pearl during the Oxford Conference of Corsetry 2015. He explained to me why they are important for support and i've used them ever since. Basically, if you have support at the front and the back of the corset together, then you can get a far more dramatic shape, much more comfortably.
The patterns for this corset collection have an astonishingly wide range of fit because they have been tested over several years on several hundred women with bodies of all shapes and sizes. I am fortunate that I have been one of the worlds leading teachers of corsetry for some years, and therefore many ladies of all shapes and size, from all over the world, pass through my doors! I take copious notes at all of my classes, and am therefore able to compare size and fit over a wide range of body type and demographic.
So the range is designed to sit in between good factory made ready-to-wear corsetry which is available on the high street in synthetic fabrics in very generic sizes, and high end bespoke corsetry which is not widely available and which can be very expensive. In short, it's a luxury ready to wear option which is as close to a bespoke fit corset as you're likely to get without actually commissioning, or paying for, a bespoke corset!
I finally shot the new collection over a year after the first with a superb team - uber talented Inaglo photography, sublime model Miss Deadly Red and makeup/hair by Mandy Rigby. I wanted the images to convey sophisticated, classic elegance because that is what the collection is all about. It worked and I couldn't be more pleased with the resulting images! Click on the video below to see some behind the scenes video from that day.
Acutally, the original new name for this collection was going to be "New-Era Essentials" - a name which I hoped would not only convey that it was the original 'Essentials' collection re-modelled (literally) but would also capture the modern nature of the corsets combined with the mid-century style that i'm inspired by and the concept of the "little black corset" - like the little black dress, a multi use essential garment which you can dress up or down depending upon the occasion. However, when putting everything together for the website, trying to think of names for the actual corsets themselves, all of those synonyms for 'enchanting' kept flowing to me and I found myself looking up mythical or legendary female figures to fit them. Serindipidously, the images of Deadly Red couldn't have been more perfect for the 'femme fatale' archetype in all her forms and everything slotted into place quite naturally from there and I remembered one of my all time favouite paintings, Lilith by John Collier. When things fall into place so easily you know you got something right!
And so we have four corsets named after beguiling female archetypes, and two skirts named after the original femme fatales!
I launched them via my newsletter a couple of weeks ago, and they are still on introductory offer, although time is running out for christmas orders as the queue is currently 5-7 weeks long. Have a look in the shop to see if one takes your fancy!