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Vivienne Westwood UK

Corset Exhibition


Vivienne Westwood MAN Autumn-Winter 1996/97 Collection


Complete with silk fabric and glass beads, embroidered by renowned corset-maker, Mr Pearl, this integral corset conforms to the house’s emulation of eighteenth-century dress. Westwood often played with Surrealism. With this piece, we witness a Surrealism of ‘clothing’ through a nude body - in flesh. The art references here adhere to the stylisation of wounds in medieval paintings and inspired the treatment of those marks.

‘The jacket itself is worn over a tight corset, recalling a male 19th century tradition of wearing corsets and foundation garments, to help achieve a figure reminiscent of Classical Greek sculpture. The idea of Classical Greek nudity is one Westwood has alluded to before - most famously with flesh-coloured leggings featuring a mirrored fig-leaf, debuted in her 1989 collection “Voyage to Cythera’. Here, it is the upper body that is clothed to appear naked’ —Alexander Fury.

Listen to fashion journalist, author and critic, Alexander Fury, as he discusses the iconic corset pieces featured in the installation.