If you follow my Instagram, facebook page, or Sparklewren’s Diary, then you will have seen the completed Twig corset.
Made for client/model Twig, this is a bespoke corset. Bespoke simply meaning that every element of the corset is created around the client, being a collision of their needs and the Sparklewren aesthetic. The patterning of this corset, for example, was created in a three-step process. The embellishment, likewise, was very time-consuming with crystals, onyx and spikes to catch the light for sparkle, depth and texture. It’s a special piece and I cannot wait to hand it over to its rightful owner.
With lines like bare branches against a bleak sky, the bespoke process can result in opulent and personal couture corsets.
This corset has had two lives in a sense… We shot it on Twig before the embellishment was completed. Quite an enjoyable way to conduct a fitting, with a little photoshoot thrown in! At this stage, the lace appliqué was done but we hadn’t begun beading and crystalising.
You can see above how the mannequin pushes the corset into the incorrect silhouette. The true shape is far more gentle, with a nonchalant elegance, when worn by pretty Twig.
This corset has, in its own way, also branched off into other designs… A sort of rhizomatic approach to corset design, perhaps? Firstly, as Twig permitted me to create a totally new pattern/design for her, I took the test toile forwards after fitting and it became the Soft Dove sample corset.
Then the pattern was developed further with a corset made from a single layer of silk, the Jesus corset (made for the 2014 Oxford Conference of Corsetry, held at Jesus College in Oxford).
So many details criss-cross and connect within a creative practice, and corsetry is no different. From the very classic to the very opulent, each design informs the other if even only in a small way. Bespoke is where all of these connections and influences meet.
It is almost like a language, where each seam, bead or appliqué could be as words or phrases. You might wish to write a memo, a letter, a poem, or a novel… they all require an understanding of certain fundamentals but each will have its own specific vocabulary and style. Corsetry and bespoke bridal could be seen to be the same, with the “vocabulary” of opulent bespoke being different to that of classic foundation-wear. Each unique design has its own phrases and flavour, like separate poems in an anthology. As a client, you might not be aware of how to craft the desired end result, it might be something transient and felt, like a fading dream… As a corsetmaker, it is my job to interpret those half-imagined ideas into something tangible. Something emotive and beautiful and personal.
A bespoke corset or gown might be incomplete without that final flourish of lace or scattering of pearls, just as a piece of writing without punctuation makes for untidy communication. The garment needs to be (as much as possible) a clear expression of itself. As fully realised as is elegant. As roughly hewn as is emotive.
Beautiful bespoke corsetry is a language which benefits from fluency.