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Item of the week: the corset

By Rachel Douglass


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(From left) Image: Na-kd, Levi's, Na-kd

What it is:

Corsets in fashion have likely come as an offset to the ‘lingerie as outerwear’ trend, however their original purpose was as a supportive undergarment for women. Since its origins, its meaning has changed over time, and while, oftentimes, it is still used for festishistic and burlesque practices, it has also become a staple wardrobe addition for the average shopper. Designers often credited with aiding its evolution include Vivienne Westwood, who began using corsets for her punk aesthetic, and Jean-Paul Gaultier, who was most notably the brains behind Madonna’s famous pink satin corset. Despite already having a prominent place on runways in recent years, the corset’s wide use across AW22 collections suggests that its popularity won’t be declining anytime soon.

Image: Levi's

Why you’ll want it:

The corset is often considered a statement piece for fashion-forward shoppers looking for an eye-catching layer to add to their wardrobe. However, the growing variety of iterations has meant that the corset has become an item that can be worn by almost anyone, making it suitable for those hoping to stay close to their comfort zone as well as those looking to make a statement. Additionally, its form further allows it to be a good investment item for all year round, with the option to layer it or wear it alone making it possible to wear throughout each season.

Image: 11 Degrees

Where we’ve seen it:

Some designers for AW22 stuck to the corset’s original form, with the likes of Versace displaying the look through colourful materials and pairing it with matching mini skirts reminiscent of 90s outfits. Others instead explored the corset through more alternative routes, such as Schiaparelli, which offered up a flower embellished waist corsets or long-line silhouettes. Christiano Siriano similarly played with shape through oversized, off-the-shoulder sleeves, which contrasted from Gucci’s Adidas collaboration, where the duo displayed sportswear-inspired, structured corsets. Alternatively, Christian Dior implemented the corset into other garments, such as a dress or jacket, bringing a fresh silhouette to staple items.

Image: Stella McCartney

How to style it:

The corset is an item that provides a wide variety of styling opportunities. When worn alone as a top, it can work with almost any type of bottom, be it a mini skirt or jeans, and particularly fits with high-waisted styles that further emphasise the waist. For colder months, layer the item with a turtleneck or button-up shirt, adding an oversized coat or blazer to accommodate the chillier seasons. The corset can also be used to bring structure to another item, achieved by placing it over a garment, such as an oversized shirt or dress, and once again accentuating the waist through the formation of a new silhouette.

Image: Dorothee Schumacher

The corset has a long history in fashion and has risen from a restrictive underwear garment to a staple wardrobe addition for the modern day shopper. As it continues to have an impact on the industry, it has adapted to trends and made regular runway appearances, keeping it in the spotlight and at the forefront of conversation.

Image: Na-kd

Similar items available for (pre)order can be found in the FashionUnited Marketplace. You can find them by clicking on this link.

Item of the Week