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Corset - Colette

Colette

  • Object:

    Corset

  • Place of origin:

    London (sold)
    Paris (probably, designed)

  • Date:

    1950s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dior, Christian, born 1905 - died 1957 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Elastic, with lace and velvet decoration and integral stocking suspenders

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Caroline Wren

  • Museum number:

    T.140-2000

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The 'New Look' launched by Christian Dior (1905-57) in 1947 made very small waists fashionable. Dior used firm underpinnings such as girdles, under-wired bustiers, and tulle and horsehair petticoats to achieve this. As the 1950s progressed, foundation and support garments became increasingly sophisticated. Lightweight materials such as nylon and new stretch fabrics, seen here, ensured greater comfort.

This is a ready-to-wear corset, created by Dior. It was given to the museum when a London lingerie shop closed and gave the V&A its stock. The original hand-written price-tag is still on the corset and gives the name of the design as ‘Colette’. It also gives the price as £8, which was just over an average week’s wages in the middle of the 1950s.

Physical description

Girdle of pink elastic. With a centre panel of white nylon and pink velvet bands in diamond shapes, bordered with pink lace. Bottom hem trimmed with pink lace and with integral suspender straps. Side left zip fastening with pink ribbon.

Place of Origin

London (sold)
Paris (probably, designed)

Date

1950s (made)

Artist/maker

Dior, Christian, born 1905 - died 1957 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Elastic, with lace and velvet decoration and integral stocking suspenders

Marks and inscriptions

£8 'Colette'
Price tag. Hand-written

Object history note

This ready-to-wear Dior corset girdle was donated by the original owner's granddaughter and comprises stock left over from the closure of the owner's lingerie shop.

Descriptive line

Pink and white elastic and lace corset girdle, 1950s, Christian Dior

Labels and date

UNDERWEAR [case panel]

A couture garment usually included meticulously constructed undergarments. They were either integrated into the structure of the garment, or made separately.

In creating the New Look after the war, Dior used firm underpinnings such as girdles, under-wired bustiers, and tulle and horsehair petticoats. He placed extra padding on the hips and bust to ensure a smooth womanly figure.

As the 1950s progressed, foundation and support garments became increasingly sophisticated. Lightweight materials such as nylon and new stretch fabrics ensured greater comfort.

[object label]
'Colette' corset
Christian Dior (1905-57)
Paris
1950s

This heavy-duty ready-to-wear corset was given to the V&A following the closure of a London lingerie shop.

Elastic, with lace and velvet decoration and integral stocking suspenders

Given by Caroline Wren
V&A: T.140-2000 [22/09/2007]

Materials

Elastic; Lace; Velvet; Metal

Techniques

Sewing; Weaving

Categories

Underwear; Fashion; Clothing; Europeana Fashion Project

Production Type

Ready to wear

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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