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The Uncorseted Look – April 1914

The Uncorseted Look – Purpose of Fashionable Corset Is Secretly Correct Figure Imperfections

Staff Correspondence
The Dry Goods Economist, April 18, 1914

PARIS, Apr 4 1914 – Investigation in the corset field proves that the Paris corsetiéres are standing pat on the question of figure lines. They declare that will be no attempt toward a nipping-in the waistline or marking of the waistline in any other way. Nor have they any confidence in a return to rigidity or boning. In fact they say that their orders call for more jersey corsets, perfectly boneless, than ever before.
Madame Nesta of Nesta & Dupré, on the Place Vendome, very aptly expressed it when she said: “Our clients want to corseted in such a way that they appear have perfect figures without a corset.”

Suppleness and Youthfulness
The idea is to mold the woman’s form and at the same time keep her figure perfectly supple.
There must be no distortion of the natural lines. The figure must be straight and youthful, with all proportions well-balanced, the hips small, the bust low and unconfined, the back flat and the waistline normal

The new dresses in pannier and bustle style, and in semi fitted form, with darts and back seams set well on a figure thus corseted, creating an apparently natural line without visible support or stay. It as if the nude body were enveloped fashionably made clothes without the of a restraining corset or a molding brassiére.

Snug Fitting Girdle
When the dress shows a normal waistline, marked by a belt or girdle, as is frequently the case, the girdle, whether it be worn on the inside, to hold the bodice in place or outside as an ornament, may, if the wearer desires be snugly adjusted. Such adjustment gives a slightly marked waistline, the belt sinking in slightly and giving the figure a round, instead of a flat appearance; that is the figure apparently measures the same from back to front as it does from side to side.
All of the new belted, panier or bustle dresses, and even the darted and seamed waists, look well in connection with the boneless supple corset. Even though we have changing forms in dresses, therefore, the figure line will remain the same.
Evening Models Very Low
The newest corset models are, if anything, out lower in the bust than formerly. In fact, the shockingly nude bodices of evening dresses, many of them in Greek style, do not permit of a corset more than two inches high.

In these new dresses the bust is wholly unconfined and barely veiled by the bodice draperies. There being no attempt to fit an armhole or set in a sleeve, the body is almost nude from the waist up. Moreover the material of the bodice is so transparent that nothing in the way of stiff corsets or brassiéres could be worn. And as fashions in dresses must control fashions in corsets, it is obvious that the latter must be as invisible as possible.

In fact, the corset’s purpose now is revealing, rather than concealing. It is to correct imperfections secretly. It is to say of the wearer: “This is a beautiful woman without artifice; this is a perfect figure without artificial aid; this is a woman naturally modeled on lines of beauty.”
Such is the problem to be worked out by corset designers, manufacturers and corset fitters. Not easy one to be sure.

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