by Michelle Metens
You see the term “vintage inspired” a lot these days in the fashion world, it’s even starting to trickle down to products like messenger bags and back packs. I have a friend in product development who trolls the internet looking for old boy scout gear as inspiration for the camping supplies they design! So while retro might be hot, the concept of recycling a great idea isn’t new. Designers continuously draw inspiration from styles and silhouettes that defined prior eras. Taking a core element from the past and adding a personal twist is a common approach many designers rely on to create styles with a nostalgic edge, all the while hoping to showcase a modern twist that solidifies a place for that product in the market today.
One of my favorite examples of an old school retro collection was created by French lingerie house Diana Slip in 1932. Apparently their designer was inspired by the curves of the Victorian era in a bit of a throwback moment, and that season they offered at least two corsets with traditional construction and a solid metal front busk. The femininity and retro influence in these pieces is undeniable considering they were post flapper!
As the 1920’s came to a close and Vionnet unleashed her bias draped silhouette, an hourglass shape was all the rage again, so it would make sense to look back to a time when curves were celebrated. These Diana Slip confections, however, didn’t last for more than a season or two. It was also in 1932 that French founder of Scandale, Robert Perrier, designed the first lightweight sheer stretch girdle! Comfort and acrobatics while wearing shapewear was just around the corner.
And so, history continues to repeat itself. Today, there is a wealth of stunning bespoke corsetry available via the internet, celebrating silhouettes made popular from the Renaissance through the Edwardian period. Sparklewren happens to be my current favorite, combining gorgeous pattern making with very elegant and modern details. Below is an example of just a portion of the intricate lace applique technique that goes into a Sparklewren corset. You can find out more by visiting http://www.sparklewren.co.uk and be sure to take a look at their amazing bridal selection.