Individual Design Support, 2008
Vintage sample girdle, silk satin - organza pages, machine and hand sewn, embroidered, Dimensions Variable
This project was inspired by antique salesman sample book for Spencer Corsets and a salesman sample girdle. I found the photos of the women in their corsets extremely striking posed against the green backgrounds.
The images are all from the Spencer book as well as the silhouettes pictured. The text is also from the same book as well as historical corset and girdle ads, etiquette manuals as well information found in the trade magazine, Corset and Underwear Review.
The text is built around ideas of "scientific beauty" with a woman’s figure being classified around her problem areas. The question is asked, "Which of these figures is the most like yours?" Examples are given such as, "Bulging Diaphragm," "High Full Abdomen," "Full Back with Pendulous Breasts" - and so on. The wearer is then assured
"Proper adjustment assures perfect fit and comfort" since "The secret of the success of this corset has attained lies in its perfect adaptation to the female anatomy." Women are promised both medical and esthetic improvement to their bodies, "By wearing these Perfectly Designed Corsets the most awkward figure becomes Graceful and Elegant, the internal organs are speedily strengthened."
The pages are printed on fabrics that are associated with women’s intimate apparel, silk satin and sheer organza.
This piece was part of the "Beware of Embroidery" show at the PM Gallery & House in Ealing, UK, 2010
Outside Cover Corset:
Antique salesman sample girdle with garters.
Height: 8 1/2" (12" including garters)
Width closed: 9" top, 11 1/2"bottom
Corset Width open: 24"
Page Height: 6 1/2"
Page Width: 5"