January 23, 2018

Teatro ZinZanni takes Period Corsets Back to the 18th Century

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Throughout the past year, Period Corsets has noticed a resurgence of interest in the extravagant and exaggerated silhouettes of 18th century fashion. Everything from fashion spreads in magazines, to celebrity performances and appearances, to individuals who enjoy a good excuse to dress up just for fun or parties. 

Ariana Savalas wearing Period Corsets for her Teatro ZinZanni performance,
matching ruffled undies by Angela Friedman, hat by Imaginess Costumes
The creative minds of Teatro ZinZanni were no exception with their vision for their latest act that borrowed from this fabulous era. For the "Love, Chaos, and Dinner" show, chanteuse Ariana Savalas was outfitted in this classic silhouette in an ensemble inspired by the fashions made popular by Marie Antoinette. Teatro ZinZanni commissioned Period Corsets to construct an interchangeable mix-and-match set consisting of a pannier cage, two skirts and a versatile corset. These would work together to create several different looks. 

When designer Christine Joly de Lotbiniere approached Period Corsets with her design ideas for her latest production, we jumped at the chance to collaborate on such an amazing project. This masterpiece was to be a nod to the historic fashions of times past but with a touch of circus fun and a whole lot of bombshell sex appeal.

Ariana in her Period Corsets pannier and corset,
matching ruffled undies by Angela Friedman, circus hat by Imaginess Costumes

Christine's vibrant color choices for the complete ensemble brought a bright sunny glow to our often-rainy Seattle studio. The main pieces were crafted from canary yellow satin with sheer gold lining and brilliant touches of turquoise satin and ribbons. It was such a delight to see these happy colors fill our workshop!

Rolls of sunshine!

The full ensemble featured a fully interchangeable design involving multiple mix-and-match pieces. Each piece had to work seamlessly with the others as each was to be used in various segments of the performance; of course with a costume quick-change! Instead of the standard lace-up ties, the corset had a back zipper for quick in and out access. To add to the comfort and movement, the straps were outfitted with hidden elastic. This helped to keep them in place but also move along with Ariana's movements.

Corset straps with hidden elastic adapt to the performer's movements, keeping the straps in place.

No laces here! Back zipper for easy in and out dressing

 Another clever hidden feature was the use of a steel spoon busk. For this application, we removed the knobs and loops and placed the smoothed busk between two fabric layers at the front of the corset. This addition wasn't just to aid in shaping but to provide a magnetic layer for a separate stomacher piece. The separate stomacher was heavily jeweled with an array of fun rhinestones and decoration applied by the designer's team. As part of the act, Ariana's corset was to be transformed from a lavishly decorated piece to something more subdued and simplified. 

Corset front with "hidden" spoon busk

removable stomacher before and after 

To add to this look, Period Corsets created a unique pannier cage, meant to be seen peeking below the full open skirt. It was constructed of vibrant turquoise grosgrain and matching, sheer ruffled trim with a convenient clasped waist band for a quick and easy costume change.

Pannier cage in progress

Pannier 360
The wonderful peeks of shocking turquoise made for a fabulous contrast to the matching bright yellow open overskirt. The skirt was crafted from yellow satin and lined in glittering gold sheer material. Drawn up on either side with turquoise satin bows, the skirt created something like an open curtain stage ready to highlight its wearer.

Preparing tucks for the skirt body 

testing the final placement of our satin bows

the final look

With so many amazing layers and bold details, you'd think this outfit couldn't get any more involved, but there was an additional look to be added to this. That's the magic of mix-and-match pieces- by being able to create completely new looks simply changing a detail or a skirt. 

The second look for Ariana was pure 50's bombshell. Her corset remained but this time it was paired with an amazing mermaid skirt with nude colored stretch panel inserts at the back sides. 

An impressive train

glittery Powernet inserts at the back hip

The full final look
The corset paired beautifully with the slimmer silhouette of this skirt, providing a completely different feel for this second look. The skirt, which was long and flowing, had an impressive back tulip-shaped train with fabulous movement. A more retro, body-conscious look, the skirt hugged all the right curves with a little risqué peek-a-boo back. These fascinating inserts weren't just for looks but yet another clever addition to the design to aid in movement. The stretch of the Powernet molded around her derriére and hips for an extra close fit but also allowed for ease in sitting and dancing. 

Backstage Bombshell- Ariana Savalas looking stunning in her second ensemble
Ariana on-stage with the Teatro ZinZanni performers in "Love, Chaos, and Dinner"
Ariana with fellow cast member, The Yodeling Dominatrix

It's hard to stand out among the many talents and acts on the Teatro ZinZanni stage but, with the addition of our yellow ensembles, Ariana simply shines. Anytime we have the opportunity to work with our local talents at Teatro ZinZanni, and with their designer Christine Joly de Lotbiniere, we pounce on the chance. We know whatever they have in store for us will be a thrilling challenge that we're proud to see on stage. Each design choice, from the removable straps and stomacher to the back-closing zipper, was a custom option desired by our client. Being able to create completely bespoke ensembles based on our client's needs has made our 20 years in business an especially exciting journey! 

Part circus, part cabaret, Teatro ZinZanni is a musical vaudeville performance paired with a fine dining experience. 
Chanteuse Ariana Savalas trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. She has appeared on stages around the world and made her mark by singing with the band Postmodern Jukebox. You can see her and all the other amazing acts of Teatro ZinZanni in"Love, Chaos, and Dinner", running now through April 29, 2018 at Marymoor Park in Washington state.

January 1, 2018

Period Corsets' Top 9 Looks for 2017

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Period Corsets' Top 9 Instagram looks for 2017
The votes are in! Based off of our highest ranking posts in Instagram, these are the top 9 Period Corsets photo stories for 2017! 

1. Undressing the Green Silk Cavalier Ensemble
Our fabulous bespoke forest green corset gown and the many layers needed to create the look

2. Revealing the layers of the 17th century 
Our simplified 17th c. ensemble constructed for designer Todd Thomas. Read more about this outfit in our blog post:

3. Dressing Salem
One of our many looks created for television's Salem with designer Joseph Porro:

4. Brocades for Every Woman
Our perfectly vintage inspired Dusty Rose brocade, a fabulous choice for any of our corset styles.

5. The bigger the hair, the wider the pannier...
Part of our 20 Year Retrospective, these extra wide panniers were made for Marie Antoinette, a co-production by the American Repertory Theater and Yale Repertory.

6. View From Below
Part of our Period Corsets Vintage Corset collection, this fan lacing girdle corset caused a stir.

7. Interchangeable Renaissance Wear
Our Renaissance Faire boned bodice with removable and reversible stomacher

8. Behind-the-scenes with our Pannier Cage
This turquoise version was made for a custom ensemble for Teatro Zinzanni. 

9. Embroidered Stomachers for Salem
These two custom boned bodices were constructed for the television's Salem for their final episode. The center front stomacher area was adorned with intricate embroidered insects with beaded details. 
Period Corsets and Salem

Thanks to all of our fans and followers for the amazing support and kind words. We love sharing our work with you and giving you a peek behind-the-scenes at what goes on at Period Corsets.
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