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Redthreaded (American, founded 2009)

Corset, 2022; early 1880s reproduction

White cotton sateen, white cotton coutil, steel busk, steel boning, and nickel 

Courtesy Redthreaded 




An approximation of the foundational garment  worn by women during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, this  corset communicates the proper standard of dress practiced by women during the period. Produced by Redthreaded, an American costume house dedicated to the historical reproduction of period garments, it has been carefully constructed according to standards of the time, created with shaped pieces rather than gussets or gores, and utilizing intricate boning to provide support to the bust. Although the corset’s meaning varied for different women, its confining nature has caused the garment to be associated with the objectification and oppression of women during the nineteenth century.

Christian Siriano (American, born 1985)

Ensemble, autumn/winter 2022–23

Top of nude synthetic tulle embroidered with clear sequins; skirt of nude silk satin

Courtesy Christian Siriano




In The Corset: A Cultural History, fashion historian Valerie Steele contends, “Feminist historians have argued that the corset was deeply implicated in the nineteenth–century construction of a ‘submissive,’ ‘masochistic’ feminine ideal… policing middle–class femininity. [And] although plausible, this thesis is ultimately unconvincing.” Here, Christian Siriano expresses Steele’s assertion by  approaching the corset through the context of liberation. Part of his autumn/winter 2022–23 “Victorian Matrix” collection, Siriano’s corset not only exposes the wearers breasts, but its billowing shoulder detail also conveys a sense of ethereality. A languidly-draped satin skirt provides its wearer with a statuesque structure, accentuating the liberating message of the corset, while underscoring Siriano’s understanding of fashion as both “powerful and dreamlike.” 

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