Now for something totally contradicting.

I just finished watching the film Coco Before Chanel. It's a French film about Chanel's life with subtitles. As in Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, it was difficult to get used to the subtitles, but after a bit it didn't bother me. It made me think. I have recently decided to start designing from the 17th and 18th century. Those are the periods that inspire me most. I plan on asking my costume design teacher if she would do an independent study with me to learn corsetry. I've sewn a corset before (well, just the taping).. and I know how delicate and minute the details are. I don't pretend not to know. Seeing this Chanel movie, though, it made me wonder if I am trying to promote more constricting fashion. Is there a way to get this look without a constricting corset? Chanel's main problem with fashion of her time was that she felt confined. She liked simplicity and things that were of some ease. She didn't wear a corset with her clothing for much of her adult life.. and that was considered rather risque! Only a slip was quite unusual in the 1900's. I admire her vision of a less confined woman. It lead to a revolution in fashion. It's no wonder that women were considered inferior, they couldn't hardly breathe! How are you supposed to calm yourself down stuck in vase that contricts your waist to 17 inches? My waist (I measured it the other week) is about 25 inches around. I thought that was ridiculous! Many people talk about how skinny I am. It makes me uncomfortable. But to have a 17 inch waist? Did society really expect that of women? It's no wonder fashion has turned out the way it is now. When I walk down the streets everyone is dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt. What has fashion in normalcy come to?

Maybe that is why I covet my own corset. Something different, beautiful, something I made. I want that for myself. But does that reflect that I am constrictive? I don't wish that to be so, I just admire pretty things. I want to find an in between for my designs. Something that hasn't been done before. I am by no means aiming for something simple like Coco, because I am a very ornate dresser and thinker when it comes to designing clothing. Somehow, I know, I will find a happy medium between the past and future fashion of my designs. Until that day, I keep locking myself up with inspiring movies such as The Duchess, Coco Before Chanel, and Bettie Page (that's next on my list!) I rented too many movies this week! 
love, polly


Kym said...

I've seen both those movies, they were good.
I can't imagine being squished into a corset and conforming to society. That's how it was though, but luckily women came along who changed fashion and standards.

Enjoy watching The Notorious Bettie Page!

Emily, Ruby Slipper Traveller said...

Basically, we're still constricted by ridiculous fashions today, as much as we might like to think otherwise. Whether it is the constantly changing nature of trends constricting your wallet, or high-heeled shoes constricting your feet, if you're interested in fashion, you're probably not fully comfortable. With that in mind, I would say tread your own path between corsets and Chanel but don't make a corset meant to take a waist down to 17" (if you look at some of the pictures, they were so weird, kind of normal sized women with these tiny waists). Incidentally, I think many models today do have 18" waists, which is doubly disturbing when you consider they aren't even wearing corsets!

Oh, and while 25" is certainly slim, I would say it's by today's standards that you would be called "skinny." Whenever I'm shopping for vintage dresses on eBay, they all have damn 26" waists, and sometimes 22"!

Sorry for such a long comment, hehe ; )

NotJustAnotherBrickInTheWall said...

I wached that movie year ago when it came in Croatia in cinema. i also saw other 2 movies about coco. Just Coco Chanel from 2008. and Coco & Igor Stravinsky.
I love those movies, but they are all kinda different when it comes to facts, like how and when was No.5 made or the LBD.

Anyway, i love her style & my friend told me that my style remind him of Coco.. i was like, no way lol... i like complicated stuff, lots of details. but still i wear simple clothes with lots of details (accessories).

I admire her so much because she was the reason why we dont wear corsets no more, we have choice to wear pants and can be healthy and move normaly. THe way she got all those things she had, was not so great, but hey, all those men used women for ages.. why does it have to be wrong if for once she used them.
I love corsets but to wear them i would like to make them more comfy, not so constrictive.

Lynn said...

i believe if you build it then a like-minded (fashion-sensed-filled) tribe will follow. there's always more room for fab-ness and that's what this new idea sounds like to me!

i saw that movie too, so inspiring.

pea ess: thanks for being no. 45 - xo


i was given the opportunity to acknowledge some of my favorite new blogs and have included yours in a post today!

hope this meets with your approval, i just adore your writing, pics and all, it's lovely being able to tip my hat to you in this way.

cheers to you - Stylish Blogger Awarded one ♥

ching said...

oh my.. i should really find myself the time to watch coco before chanel and the amelie movie..
i prefer movies with clears out what they're saying. :D

artichoke said...

I don't think you're promoting a more constricting fashion. As corsets are not the "norm" today, I feel like you're sort of doing what Coco Chanel did. Women weren't encouraged to dress how they wanted, but she went and did it anyway. I guess women aren't really told how to dress today, but mainstream media gives us a good idea. The standards of beauty changes with time and culture. As long as you're dressing how you want, then I don't think it's constricting at all.

Caralee said...

Corset construction is an amazing artform and you won't be sorry that you learned to do it and do it well. I completely understand your concern. The way I see it, fashion has always been a social movement reflecting strugles specific (often repressed) classes. In CoCo's time, women were rising against an entire different set of social and ethical issues. She was a trailblazer no doubt and the corset was her burning bra (for a more current analogy).

We've got a whole new set of issues now and a whole new world, I think that structure, modesty and some of the other elements of formal dress are an outspoken backlash against a society that has swung crazy far, to the point of laziness in their appearence.

Rock on with your corsets, just make sure you can breath ;)