This is my fabulous bearded lady. A personal interest in the history of the travelling circus sideshow and the edwardian corset brought me to the creation of this costume.
For many years i have been intrigued by the edwardian 'S' bend corset. One of the most extreme in the history of corsets in terms of women's health and silhouette. There is a dramatic difference in the fashion illustrations compared to the photography of women wearing these corsets from the period. The patterns illustrated in Corsets and Crinolines a book by Norah Waugh, and a fantastic reference for period foundation garments, are also quite curious.
In this project i explored how functional the panels of the s bend corset are in transforming the body to imitate this silhouette and how close i could possibly get to that. What I discovered was that the gussets over the hip and bust allow the waist to minimise dramatically, without them such a long corset will not shape into the waist. The beautiful S bend panels, you can see the seems in the photographs, are purely for aesthetic reasons directing your eyes over the body which adds to the fantastic illusion. In the construction the bust must be allowed to sink down at the front. The period shape for the bust was more of a low mono bosom. Posture has a lot to do with the final silhouette and with a combination of posture and the edwardian corset the you can almost emulate it but i concluded although still a divine shape the fashion illustration is exaggerated.