OCOC BLOG


Gaultier at the Barbican - Details Part 1

Now that it is September already and the conference is done for another year, I realise just how jam-packed 2014 has been so far! One thing that stands out as a definite highlight is all the wonderful contemporary corsetry I have had the pleasure to study. 

Alison, Julia and I (Jenni) visited the Gaultier exhibition at the Barbican a few months back. I think most of our corsetmaking friends have done likewise since! As you might expect, it was full of incredible things, and joyously the exhibition is allowing photographs. I certainly think this is a wonderful idea, as seeing so many teasers via Instagram and the like whipped me into a bit of a frenzy for this exhibition! I highly recommend attending. I have even been told by a corsetmaking friend that the official exhibition book features a double-page section on the talented Mr Pearl. 

Here are just a few of my favourite details from the exhibition (all iPhone snaps by Jenni Hampshire, courtesy of the Barbican, London). 

This corset-body was the star of the show, to my eyes. I had always wanted to see this piece, ever since discovering it in Dita von Teese's book. Made by Mr Pearl, it featured elegant cutting, beautiful brown lace, and gorgeous lacing detail. As delicious as I'd imagined and wonderful to briefly study. I wish I'd had more time with this piece! 

This corset-body was the star of the show, to my eyes. I had always wanted to see this piece, ever since discovering it in Dita von Teese's book. Made by Mr Pearl, it featured elegant cutting, beautiful brown lace, and gorgeous lacing detail. As delicious as I'd imagined and wonderful to briefly study. I wish I'd had more time with this piece! 

Oh, how I adore those tiny eyelets over the hips... Seeing a picture of this corset of Dita von Teese might be my first memory of seeing proper couture corsetry and really appreciating what I was looking at. 

Oh, how I adore those tiny eyelets over the hips... Seeing a picture of this corset of Dita von Teese might be my first memory of seeing proper couture corsetry and really appreciating what I was looking at. 

Though it is a crying shame for something so beautiful to suffer damage, I actually rather love signs of use, wear and tear. It means a thing has had a life. I also loved discovering that the lace and flat lacing were brown in colour. I had thought from small photos that they were black. So so gorgeous. 

Though it is a crying shame for something so beautiful to suffer damage, I actually rather love signs of use, wear and tear. It means a thing has had a life. I also loved discovering that the lace and flat lacing were brown in colour. I had thought from small photos that they were black. So so gorgeous. 

These delicious stays finished in a very interesting point where all the exterior casings overlapped. I'm not entirely sure how it was done (I remember having a good idea at the time, but didn't write it down!), but they do remind me of antique pre-boned casings that I have seen at Snibston Discover Museum and elsewhere... I believe they were sold so that women could add them to their existing corsets, perhaps as extra support or to replace damaged casings. Either way, it's a lovely idea that I'd adore to see explored in contemporary corsetry. 

These delicious stays finished in a very interesting point where all the exterior casings overlapped. I'm not entirely sure how it was done (I remember having a good idea at the time, but didn't write it down!), but they do remind me of antique pre-boned casings that I have seen at Snibston Discover Museum and elsewhere... I believe they were sold so that women could add them to their existing corsets, perhaps as extra support or to replace damaged casings. Either way, it's a lovely idea that I'd adore to see explored in contemporary corsetry. 

Building around corsets is still something that really appeals to me. I suppose because it has such scope for playfulness. One could do something structural and humorous like this, or something subtle like the hidden "integrated" corsetry of our "corset fellow" Marianne of PopAntique. Other wonderful details in this piece are the sloping waist-tape (if you wrap a tape around a corseted form you will see that it makes sense) and the apparent delicacy of the fabric. 

Building around corsets is still something that really appeals to me. I suppose because it has such scope for playfulness. One could do something structural and humorous like this, or something subtle like the hidden "integrated" corsetry of our "corset fellow" Marianne of PopAntique. Other wonderful details in this piece are the sloping waist-tape (if you wrap a tape around a corseted form you will see that it makes sense) and the apparent delicacy of the fabric. 

I'd be so intrigued to see this piece being laced on, to know exactly how it all fits together. The spine detail is so gorgeous. 

I'd be so intrigued to see this piece being laced on, to know exactly how it all fits together. The spine detail is so gorgeous. 

Sure, not obviously corsetry, but I love this gown. Kylie worn it in the imagery for her X tour which I thoroughly enjoyed. To the right is a silver corset-body that she then wore on a later North-American tour, and it was interesting seeing how the piece had more detail and textural interest than you can see from pictures. 

Sure, not obviously corsetry, but I love this gown. Kylie worn it in the imagery for her X tour which I thoroughly enjoyed. To the right is a silver corset-body that she then wore on a later North-American tour, and it was interesting seeing how the piece had more detail and textural interest than you can see from pictures. 

So, the end for today dear reader! There were many more wonderful corset-based details and I took many more phone snaps... but they will have to wait for another day.

Have you attended this exhibition at the Barbican or elsewhere? Let us know your experiences in the comments.