Thursday, 25 August 2011

Corsets as far as the eye could see

A trip to see the biggest antique corset collection in the world - The Symington collection!

All pics (c) Leicestershire County Council Museums Service Symington Collection

The past weekend was VERY exciting!  I am a member of an online resource called Foundations Revealed (see the bar at the bottom of this page), a webzine for corset and underwear enthusiasts.  Apart from lots of inspiring online articles, tutorials and advice, FR also arrange the odd "field trip" to museums in order that members can get 'up close and personal' not only with antique corsets, but also with other corset makers.  There's nothing like discussing your passion face to face with another interested party.

X-Ray of a steel boned Victorian Corset
And so Saturday past I joined in with the latest field trip to Snibston Discovery Centre which is the home of - amongst other things -  the magnificent and world renowned Symington Collection of Corsetry.    Here,  in a special room allocated to our group, we were allowed to examine, touch, photograph and take notes on a vast array of antique Victorian and Edwardian corsets laid out on tables just for us!  Amazing!  Talk about children being let loose in a sweetie shop - that's how we all felt!

There was also an Underwear Exhibition in the Fashion Gallery.  If you live near the Midlands it's well worth a visit.  Entry is free on Wednesday afternoons, and there apart from the vast collection of underwear through the ages on display, there are also some fantastic couture pieces from such luminaries as Dior, Westwood, Mugler, alongside historical pieces including this 1940's utility dress. The exhibition is set up to give an insight into how modern designers have been influenced by history and is one of the best fashion displays I have ever seen in any museum.

The fabric print here on this dress is scottie dogs and lamp posts!
I still have to jumble through my notes and pics from the day - there are so many!  I also have yet to sit down with the fabulous book, Foundations of Fashion,  by the vastly knowledgable Curator, Phillip Warren, who gave us a fantastic talk about the history of the collection - I am trying to find out where you would be able to buy this book outside of Snibston.  Here in the meantime,  are some links where pictures have already been uploaded.

Click HERE to go to the Foundations Revealed Flickr page full of pics from the day including pics from the underwear exhibition in the Fashion Gallery (free entry and on until May).

Click HERE to go to the Sew Curvy Corsetry Facebook Page which has lots of pictures and comments.

I intend to write much more about this, but today I have to get ready for my Introduction to Corsetry Workshop, taking place this weekend in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.  There are still 2 places left if you would like to join in!  

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