Written by Julia Bremble
Saturday night at the Conference is a special affair. After the workshops of the day, there is a little social time before drinks, dinner and more socialising in the bar. The evening starts with Pimms on the quad Oxford style and this is served up with a healthy dose of glamour. Anybody who has watched Inspector Morse on TV may be familiar with the scene!
The drinks reception is where all in attendance gather before dinner to have a chat and catch up with those who they may not have had a chance to meet yet.
Our special guest last year was Ian Frazer Wallace of the Whitechapel Workhouse and he was with us again this year. It has become a tradition for him to make a showpiece for Saturday night. This year I was very priveledged to be part of this as Ian asked me to make the corset pattern for his Chanel inspired suit. More on that in a separate post.
After drinks we have dinner in Hall. Not 'the great hall' or 'the hall' or 'the dining hall'. In Oxford, the place you eat is simply 'Hall' and all colleges have a very grand Hall where all students eat all meals. When you become part of an Oxford College, whether as a student, member of staff or conference delegate, you really begin to understand where stories like "Alice in Wonderland" and other fantastical tales from this city come from. It is literally another world.
Dinner is a three course grand affair followed by a talk by our special guest. The food is served by attentive waiters and waitresses and wine flows freely along with the conversation. At night, Hall is a magical place to be.
After dinner our very special guest takes the stand. This year it was Autumn Adamme, Founder and Proprietress of Dark Garden Corsetry and Couture in San Francisco. Autumn who has been making corsets since she was 10 years old, spoke about her life in corsetry, her influences, inspirations and mentors, and then went on to describe her business philosophies which covered the joys and pitfalls of running a corsetry business. I found myself nodding vigorously at almost everything she said as I know many others did too. Autumn gave an interesting and inspiring speech which I am sure will serve to guide many corset makers - beginners and experienced alike, through the rest of their careers in corsetry. It is always affirming to know that the things we think and believe and are passionate about in our own ideas and practices, are all things that have been felt and experienced before by others who share those passions, and who have blazed the trails before us.
After dinner it's time to assemble in the Fourth Quad - that's the student bar! It's in a cellar and is the perfect place for cosy chatting about corsets! In naming the pictures below, I see they are a bit of a 'who's who' in Modern Corsetry
So that's Saturday night at OCOC. I am so happy and so proud that so many friendships and bonds have been made at OCOC. The next post about the conference proceedings will be all about Sunday, where the photographers and models come out to play!
For more pictures, click here.