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  • Place of origin:

    France (made)
    London (retailed)

  • Date:

    ca. 1914 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Debenham & Freebody (retailer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cotton, satin ribbon, silk, applied machine-made lace, boned, elastic, metal

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs T. Firbank

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Corset of peach cotton with a doeskin finish. The bones are covered with matching satin ribbon and peach machine-made lace applied to the top and bottom. Its length would cover waist to hip. The front panel is composed of interlaced satin ribbons. The back has peach silk laces for adjustment. There are full-length bones at the sides of the front and back panel and an additional set at the back of the hips. The side ribbons do not contain bones nor is there any sign that these have been removed. These are adjustable elastic. Eight white metal suspenders.

Place of Origin

France (made)
London (retailed)


ca. 1914 (made)


Debenham & Freebody (retailer)

Materials and Techniques

Cotton, satin ribbon, silk, applied machine-made lace, boned, elastic, metal

Marks and inscriptions

'Made in France for Debenham & Freebody, London'
Inscribed inside

'Made in France'
Stamped inside

Stamped inside

Stamped inside

Object history note

Worn by Miss Heather Firbank. This corset and a boudoir cap (T.65-1966) were donated by a relative several years after the original purchase of the collection in 1960.

Descriptive line

Corset of cotton, satin and machine-made lace, made in France, retailed by Debenham & Freebody in London, ca. 1914. Storage mount stored in T6/MB50/B4

Labels and date

At the beginning of the 1910s, a craze for the Tango swept America and Europe. The vogue for dancing continued up to and during the First World War, and succeeded where decades of dress reformers had failed by popularising a reinvented corset style that was less restrictive and more flexible. The front panel of latticed silk satin ribbon allows for up-down movement, while retaining tension across its width to deliver both flexibility and a flat stomach.

'Tango' corset
France (for Debenham & Freebody, London), about 1914
Cotton, silk satin ribbon, machine lace and metal
Worn and given by Heather Firbank
V&A: T.64-1966 [2014-2015]
A 'Tango' corset

The tango was introduced to Europe and North America from Argentina. By 1913 it had inspired a craze for dancing.

Corsets were now designed to control the waist, stomach and hips. This ribbon corset has bones in the back and on either side of of the front panel. The panel itself, made from interlaced ribbons, allows more freedom of movement, making it suitable for dancing.

Debenham & Freebody
Britain, London, and France (made), about 1914
Cotton, silk satin ribbon, machine lace and metal
V&A: T.64-1966
Worn and given by Heather Firbank [16/04/2016-12/03/2017]


Cotton; Boning; Lace; Silk


Fashion; Women's clothes; Underwear; Textiles; Lace; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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