The history of corset goes way back to sixteenth century. The corset gained popularity in Europe, reaching out to its optimum in the Victorian era. The popularity of corsets is evident, as it is seen as the national dress of many European countries.
The earliest known representation of a corset appears on a Circa made Cretan figurine back in the 1600 BC. Corsets have been used by tribes of the Caucasus: Circassians and Abkhaz for centuries. They were used to “beautify” women keeping their modesty intact.
The corset has a very controversial history. Corsets were long mocked as a patriarchal instrument of torture and control that deformed the female body. But, over the years, the ideology has changed as modern women have positively embraced corset to flaunt their curves to get the perfect hourglass shape and the bold look.
Corsets were worn men as well in the Western world till the early 20th century. The shape and utility of the corset have evolved over the centuries, alternating between shorter versions that centered on the waistline to longer varieties that covered the hips. The definition of the desired body shape also evolved – from the hourglass shape in the 1800s to the perfect “S” figure of the 1900s.
In the 19th century, when the corset craze had reached its peak, concerns about the corset being detrimental to women’s health began. Fashion historians Colleen Gau and Valerie Steele strongly argued that corsets would not necessarily lead to any respiratory diseases or other health hazards. The 1920s saw the introduction to the sports elastic corset, which were elastic, flexible sports corsets for women focusing on leading a new, active lifestyle.
The hype around the corset never died over the years; it has only becomemore robust. Jean-Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler flaunted corsets into their designs in the 1980s. In 1990 corsets stole away all the attention with Madonna making Gaultier’s pink satin corset over-famous and talked about. All top global designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, and McCartney have experimented with the corset to get the perfect classic look.
The corset craze has never died down retaining its position as a long tradition in fashion photography, where they symbolize female sexuality and boldness. And, the AW19 catwalks promised that the corsets are still very much on-trend and are not going anytime soon.