This Is How Fashion Reclaimed The Corset

This Is How Fashion Reclaimed The Corset

by Jessica Gaertner - April 5, 2023
Fashion News

The corset, a fashion staple throughout the ages, is officially back with a vengeance and we are so here for it! 

Way back when in the 16th century, the corset was a sexy under garment used to give the body a definitive hourglass silhouette (AKA a Kardashian figure). Yes, it made you look hot, but one of its other primary purposes was to flaunt wealth and social status. These bodices took a slightly darker turn during the Victorian era, and were controversially viewed as a symbol for oppression when women were expected to wear them in order to maintain a certain shape… sound familiar?

Fast forward to the 21st century however, and the corset has been reclaimed by designers as a statement of style and empowerment. The clothes that covered them up were stripped, and the now fashion staple was a piece all of its own. Fashion has taken the traditional corset and given it a modern twist, incorporating it into designers’ collections in an array of unexpected ways. A primary example of this is thanks to the late Vivienne Westwood (all hale!), when she began using corsets as part of her historicist punk aesthetic. Westwood imagined her corsets as empowering women rather than binding them. 

How can we forget about our fashion icon, Madonna, in the Jean-Paul Gautier pink satin corset, which became famous on her 1991 Blonde Ambition tour? Girls (and boys) everywhere wanted to be her! (And quite frankly, on Halloween, you may actually see some of them!)

Corsets were clearly one of the more prominent aesthetics during the most recent Paris Week. For example, the latest Alexander McQueen collection celebrated the anatomy, sharpness and excellence of tailoring that the corset embodies. “It’s like how you begin with a garment— you have to know that there’s a way to construct it, the bones of it, before you can dissect it and subvert it,” said the brand’s Creative Director. 

The iconic garment has been embraced by celebrities, not only on the red carpet, but in their everyday lives, which of course has resulted in the masses following suit. It has become a stylish asset to many young women (and men!) and is a beautiful way to express oneself in a personal and eye-catching way.