June 9, 2009

June's Corset of the Month: Kristina Variations-- Custom Corsets c.1660 to c.1770 and beyond

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When we launched our c.1660 Kristina corset four years ago, we were both excited and hesitant. The Kristina is our most complex corset pattern and construction, needing extensive development time; the corset has complicated seaming, and more than twice as many bones as our other styles. We were delighted to see that this shape was one that many of you were looking for, and soon the Kristina surpassed the c.1860 Julia as our best selling corsets. The popular c.1770 Judith corset, the next corset in our chronology, is a bit more straight-forward in style, being the classic "ice-cream cone" shape of the mid- to late-eighteenth century.

Since launching the Kristina, we've been asked to explore the variations on the conical shape, incorporating elements from both seventeenth and eighteenth century styles for periods between the two or for a unique artistic vision.

This has resulted in a some creative and beautiful custom corsets......

For Glimmerglass Opera
Cole Porters Kiss Me Kate
Anka Lupes' costume design:

This corset was used in Glimmerglass Opera 2008 season for Cole Porters "Kiss me Kate" set in a non-specific era. We were asked to create this corset as a straight up hybrid of our Judith c. 1770 and Kristina c. 1660 (without tabs) in our basic stock white cotton Coutil. They also wanted the addition of a (non-period correct) CF opening metal busk--they are so useful and it was the look they were going for, so we did it! Notice the Kristina shape throughout the torso, softer fuller bust than the flattened bust of the Judith. The neckline front and back including the narrow removable over the top of the shoulder straps are like the Judith c. 1770.

David Larsen (center) as Bill Calhoun/Lucentio and members of the Glimmerglass Opera Chorus Photo: Cory Weaver/Glimmerglass Opera.

For Goodspeed Opera
Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance
David Woolard's costume design:

David Woolard requested the Kristina/Judith hybrid shape; this time with the signature Kristina tabs, (no busk) and flat-lined to custom fashion fabrics. He sent us six distinctive pastel patterned brocades for Mabel and all her sisters corsets. They wore them under their costumes for most of the operetta, but you can see a glimpse of the corsets pictured below. This is the scene where the sisters relax by the seaside after "Scaling rough and rugged passes climb[ed] the hardy little lasses till the bright sea shore they gain."

Photo Courtesy of David Woolard

Lincoln Center Festival 2005
My Life as a Fairytale
Elizabeth Caitlin Ward 's costume design:

photo courtesy Period Corsets

This is an amazing example of a designer using a Period Corsets® shape without alteration. By adding unusal fabrics and creative construction techniques we achieved something completely new and unique. Ms. Ward chose the shape of our stock c. 1660's Kristina (without tabs). We made a multi-layer corset, using our custom corset flatlining process. The base color is the steel grey silk shantung provided by the designer with an over-layer of plastic window screening mesh. If you look closely you can see the spiral steel bones between the layers as per her design request!

Pictured here in performace to great effect.

For the Roundabout Theatre Company
Les Liasions Dangereuses
Katrina Lindsay's costume design:

This corset is an example of a cross between our Kristina c.1660 corset and a corset from a client's own stock. Ms Lindsay, the designer, wanted the final product to have the versatility our corsets offer: alteration points in the side seam and the strap shoulder seam. She wanted to recreate the shape of the existing corset, and maintain the heavily boned look and varying agles of the bone lines in each panel. This is hard to do and have a side seam! So we put the alteration point in the side back, and added straps. For the final corsets we used the client's custom beige brocade coutil.

To complete the 18th century look we made our pocket hoop panniers out of the same brocade.

It gives us great pleasure to work with designers to create just the look they want for their productions.


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