Anyway, back to Confetti - definitely worth seeing, the
gay wedding organisers were brillient, although I wouldn't say it
was truly representative of the wedding industry today. As a designer of
all maner of coloured wedding gowns I'd like to ask, where were the
anything other than white dresses? Apart from a coloured bodice gracing
the NW catwalk, it was one white dress after another. They set it around
the idea of promoting really different weddings & then managed to
pick themes that all entailed having white wedding dresses:
Tennis - white. Black &
white musicals - white again. Nudists - white
Did the producers think people wouldn't think it was a
wedding movie if the Bride's weren't in white? Or was it because
Americans expect white dresses? Change is certainly slow.
10 May 2006
Teese's book arrived today from Amazon (Burlesque &
the Art of the Teese
) - I love beautiful, old
fashioned, glamorous photos like those of Avedon's & there are
some gorgeous, dramatic photos in this book & fabulous
costumes. Plus & the write ups didn't really cover this, it's sooo
written for girls! Dita's writing style is a bit like mine &
she has all these lists written out like menu's & dropped in on
various pages, between her photographs & her stories, with
First Class Face: How to get the look of the 20's
Dita's Vintage Manicure Tip,
Dita's Beauty Tips,
there's even a page on the anatomy of the seamed
stocking. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect but I am pleased to
report it's a good book & from the little bits I've read, fun
to read too.
11 May 2006
Had possibly my best ever 'student wanting
something' email today!
When did it become all right to write to strangers, via email using text
speak? And I'm talking college student here:
i am designing a corset at college and am basin my artist on u would u
be able to send me some information on ur corsets and how u became a
designer and stuff like that
p.s can u plz get back to me a.s.a.p."
I'm going to sound really old now but when I was a student
you found out who you needed to write to & composed
a proper, respectful letter & (& this is before websites) you wouldn't ask for information
you could get yourself. I'm getting more emails than ever from
students & their getting so lazy & so cheeky! Also & I don't think
I'm being funny here, is any business person going to be
impressed with that approach? The girl couldn't even be
bothered to put the 'H' on hello & don't even get me started
I'm also regularly being
emailed lists of questions & being asked to spend time composing
a reply with all the answers, when the answers to everything
I've been asked can be found on my site.
This week I had just such a set of questions
from a girl that had farmed my email address off an American corset site
(I know this because it's not an email address that's published
anywhere else on the internet & not the one I use for my sites)
- she said:
“I was wondering is you could help with a few
questions I have to ask as I have looked on your website and there
is nothing that can help me”.
Do you put corset designs into mass
/ batch productions or are they all one offs?".
Excuse me? Maybe the problem was that she
'looked' at the site & didn't actually, you know, read anything.
Call me crazy but insulting my intelligence does not inspire me to spend
the next hour cutting & pasting bits from my website into an email
reply so the author doesn't have to do any research for themselves! Oh
& yes, when I emailed an 'appropriate' reply, she got
I also played nice, accomodating designer this
week & emailed an image of one of my designs to a student, as
requested, for her final project & no sooner had it been sent
than I had a reply back asking for 6 more! Granted it was polite but
diary turned out to be about
student's emails & my advice
to students reading this is....... remember folks, not everyone has a room full of people
to deal with the email requests & alot of people are just
like me, editing the website, making the gowns &
accessories, replying to emails. So before taking the short cut
& just firing questions at us, get as many answers to your questions
from our websites first. I, unless you catch me on a good day, generally
won't answer student's emails - simply there isn't two of me - I
work on my own & have neither the time or resources to accommodate
student research via questions, questionnaires or requests for
information, brochures & samples. But if you do email businesses
remember they are professional people & you will need to be
professional in your approach - an email like the one above will
induce a response but laughing
probably won't be the one you wanted
13 May 2006 ~
Victorian Corsets & tightlacing.
I was talking to a bridal
designer friend of mine on the phone today & we got on to the
subject of Dita Von Teese’s book & then corsets & tightlacing.
I was telling her that
recently I’d read Dita’s comments in her book on her tightlacing & a
piece about the ‘waist’ in this months Vogue that used Dita as it’s
Of tightlacing, Dita says
in her book:
“I love the challenge of
tightlacing. I love the extreme feminine curves that result, the sense
of discipline I have in wearing it. Best of all I like taking it off.
Sometimes I’ll get bruising from my corsets – I even have little tiny
scars on my back from the laces – but it’s worth it. Like any good
bondage, a tightlaced corset is not comfortable in the average
person’s sense of the word, but it is exhilarating.”
seen how tiny in comparison to her hips, Dita’s waist can look bruising
& scarring are hardly surprising but what was really shocking to me
was that Dita only laces her waist in by 4” for stage shows. She will
lace her waist in by 6” for photo shoots but I imagine a waist of 16”
must be too restrictive to perform in. Dita is also quoted in Vogue as
saying “corset experts say my waist is very pliable”.
In the 21st century
I believe it’s only the
serious tightlacers that are disiplined enough to train their waists & can expect to achieve
dramatic waist reductions.
My friend (who is far more clued up about
history than myself) added that Victorians used to start training their
waists from when girls were just two.
When it comes to a Bride’s expectations of
these types of corsets, I have always disapproved of the Victorian shape
corsets being sold to brides promising miracle waist reductions of 8” or
more. Having discovered that Dita only normally laces her waist down by
4 inches it only confirms my thoughts that for ordinary women to try
& reduce their waists by more than a few inches with the aim of
wearing them throughout their wedding day is unrealistic &
unhealthy. One could compare it with running a marathon with no
preparation. For the less firm, I can believe if a person has more fat,
you can lace a little tighter but the trouble with over lacing fat is it
tends to get bunched up somewhere else or spills out from the edge of
the corset somewhere.
See this article from the New York Medical Journal
The multiple illustrations of the
re-shaping of the body & displacement of organs are quite
This image does also explain why
when I see images of women wearing tight victorian shape corsets in
photographs with straight skirts, their bellies & hip area sometimes
look drum like.
My advice to Brides:
will be in a corset all day (as apposed to wearing it for
a hour’s photo shoot), should choose your corset according to the shape you like & have
it fitted or laced so it is tight against your body &
you feel held but it does not feel over tight. It is
my advice that brides should not be tempted to tightlace if they are not used to
it (unless you are very serious & can invest the hours of training nesersary.
I personally am uncomfortable with
this level of body modification - to me tightlacing can create a
very attractive silhouette to a point but lace the corset in
too much at the waist & I think the result in some women
is that the trade off for a slimmer waist is that the
rest of their bodies can look bulky & buxom. When the waists
have been pulled in so tight that the waist is pulled right in
underneath the rib cage, that's when I consider that tightlacing
has crossed the 'attractive' line & it just gives me the
wiggins. Almost worse still (where giving me the wiggins is
concerned, though it is athletically more attractive) is when you don't
see the corsets curving in underneath the rib cage & that the
ribcage is angled right in - this is because the bottom of the rib
cage is free floating & training a waist can physically move the
ribs closer together (I have even read that ribs can even be pulled
in so far that they cross over).
A good corset will create the illusion of
a greater waist reduction & a Victorian one with promote the hour
glass shape whilst an 18th century corset is more about the
heaving bosom. I should also point out (with reference to Dita's
comments on tightlacing) that my laces don't pass through eyelets &
run next to the skin so they can't draw blood & I won’t cut corsets
so tight they’ll bruise the wearer. Tightlacing is a form of fetish
& if a bride truly wants to physically loose 8” off her waist she
will either have to start training her waist over a long enough period
to achieve her goal or as close to her goal as her body will allow or
take the healthy diet, exercise & toning option. As Dita says in
Vogue “a corset is nice for making an instant hourglass figure, but is
no substitute for exercise & eating well”. Vogue says that Dita also
swims for an hour a day, 5 days a week & does Pilates.
I quote from the very informative
(content by Theresa Overon who is definitely more of an expert on these
styles than myself):
"Training into a corset for a special
event, such as a wedding, should start several months before the
event, so that when the dress is made, the proper size is available.
Otherwise stay with a 2" reduction. With planning on the other
hand, a 4" reduction is a reasonable goal and even further
reduction can be achieved, provided sufficient time is allowed for."
& "Over the past two years I have maintained an ongoing email
exchange with a number of brides-to-be. Most of them achieved very
comfortable 4" reductions and some achieved more, with only 3 months
of training. Most successful were those that kept the corset on for
more than twelve hours per day ."
How I see the role of corsets in
my bridal / eveningwear designs:
in corsets & of course recognise what an incredible addition they make to
an outfit but it’s as much about the perfect cut & fit & a
design that takes into account a client's complete body shape as it is body
modification (I am not an advocate of extreme body modification).
Done well the cut should bring out the
best of every part of you, hide or seek to control the worst & work
in combination to create one complete head to toe illusion of a more
beautiful you. As crazy as it sounds this is achievable, where as unless
we are the Dita Von Teeses of this world the 8” + waist reduction
is probably not & is definitely not worth the pain.
My corsets create a waist but are far more
focused on the bust (which can be manipulated without training regimes
& without inflicting pain or discomfort). When I have
laced a bride into one of my corsets the waistband of the skirt (which
was a comfortable fit when fastened) will have about 2" of slack at
centre back by time the corset is laced - this is a comfortable fit for
clients especially as there is sitting to consider because a) most of us
don't enjoy the punishment of high heels for any length of time b) you
may be called upon to sit or worse kneel in church / during the ceremony
& c) you will want to sit down & eat your celebration
May 15th 2006
I saw a couple
of fabulous Wedding Cakes in Cosmo Bride today, they're
quite modern, stacked shapes but the colours & decoration were
I'm a sucker for pinks & greens, so absolutly
loved these & don't you just love the name: The Utterly Sexy Cafe, the designer is Andrea Baird. Well
worth a look.
May 24th 2006
Invites (sort of).
bought the most gorgeous ink pen the other week (lime green snake skin
effect with an Audrey Hepburn motif clip (ala Holly Golightly) from a
designer called Jordi Labanda. Lime green is one of my favourite colours
& I wondered whether one can get green ink for fountain pens rather
than the supplied & oh so boring, blue.
you! (One quick Google search later):
I bought Herbin Olive Green & Diamine
site has over 150 different colour inks- pots & cartridges
& is definitely the place to go for couples doing their own invites.
I bought the most gorgeous olive green for my pen & for the pink
version (I just knew they must have done that pen in dark pink as well,
which they had & which I promtly bought online), I have bought
gorgeous dark pink ink.
Writting Desk also has alot of pens but for my fabulous Holly Golightly
pen (only pink & stone), take a look at this site: www.bureau-online.co.uk or on my
Subject - What's been going on this
very busy at the moment, I have just finished a commission for a lovely
couple (one of a growing number of couples where the
groom accompanies his fiancé & stays for all the fittings
except possibly pick up) & they & the dress flew off to Italy
this morning, fingers crossed for lovely weather in Italy this Saturday.
from the addition of the Biography & Diary pages in May, I also
dropped on some more Real Brides - Gemma & Rachel, a church wedding
in December in Wales & an outdoor ceremony in a Redwood forest in
New Zealand in January, one a straight forward replica of Elizabeth in
gold & the other inspired by Elizabeth with a feathered
fishtail in ivory, both brides totally chose the right dresses for
them, looked stunning & I think they make great additions
to my body of work.
2006: Entires for MAY . JUNE . JULY . AUGUST . SEPTEMBER . OCTOBER . NOVEMBER . DECEMBER