February 6, 2013

A Short History Of The Most Erotic Boudoir Accessory: The Corset

Just-Rosie-rosie-huntington-whiteley-26560744-1600-1000

Wasp waist, voluptuous bust and hips – the perfect silhouette, avidly desired by any woman. Few are however naturally blessed with such dreamy curves, while the rest need a bit of help achieving the much-desired hourglass figure, the epitome of femininity.

Ever since antique times, women used to wrap their bodies in wide strips of fabric to construct a thinner figure, but it wasn’t until the 16th century that the concept of ”corsets” was born, at the French royal court. It is said that Catherine de Medici, King Henry II’s wife, banned thick waists from the royal court sometime during the 1550s, making women cinch in their waists with the help of special girdles that would be laced up with ropes and held up by whalebones, or even slim down their figures with the help of iron corsets.

Three hundred years later, during the Victorian era, corsets had already become a permanent accessory in the feminine wardrobe. The practice of corsetry during that time gave birth to a whole series of horror stories, involving cases when the waist would be so tightly laced that it would modify its shape, as well as the shape of internal organs, which would be pushed towards the centre of the body. This practice, known as tightlacing, often had as a result fainting due to lack of oxygen, and sometimes even death.

 machine-for-tight-lacing

Along with the 20th century and the women’s emancipation within the society, corsets stopped resembling torture instruments, being mostly fashioned to highlight the natural shape of a woman’s silhouette, accentuating its sensuality.

During the 1900s, corsets were considered an essential piece of the feminine wardrobe, yet they were far from being viewed as a sensual accessory. Worn over a slip in order to limit the discomfort created by the uncomfortable fabrics (such as rubber) on the skin, corsets weren’t considered erotic, but a necessity, women having the habit of hiding them from their husbands.

Starting with the 1930s, man-made fibers started becoming more and more available, and corsets were no longer made with uncomfortable fabrics. During the 50s, nylon was the primary fabric used for their manufacturing, while zippers to facilitate closure were also introduced at that time.

 miles_altridge_photo_22

Christian Dior’s New Look silhouette, introduced in 1947, which promoted accentuated shoulders paired with a tiny waist and wide skirts, brought back the practice of tightlacing, women once again wishing to boast a silhouette as slim as humanly possible.

Currently, although rarely worn under clothes, corsets remain a staple of the feminine wardrobe, being one of the most erotic and seductive boudoir accessories.

If you liked the article, follow Fashion avec Passion’s exciting world on Twitter and Instagram as well!

Photos courtesy of: allposters.com, fanpop.com, forgetfoo.com, wizza.fr