Today I am featuring an interview from LaBelle Fairy, a talented corsetry and sewing artist. We would like to thank the artist for taking her time to speak with us!
How did you land at creating corsetry?
Crazy but true. I personally have not had a TV in my life since 1988.
A chance visit to a relative caught me up at night on their couch in their living room.
Unable to sleep, I flicked on their TV and there was a documentary called Extreme…something or other…. It featured the women with the smallest waist in the world. (Kathy Jung).
She was wearing a beautiful antique styled corset which I loved.
I determined I needed to have one, unable to find one I decided I would make one.
They’ve come a long way since that one baby!
You say in your shop info that you are in Cranbrook, British Columbia, The Corsetry Capitol of Canada. Can you tell us a little bit of the history of Cranbrook and how it got that distinction?
Cranbrook is an old Railway town it also features Fort Steele which is a well known heritage site.
I have been involved with both sites making corsets for the re-enactors as well as displays.
The part about it being “The Corset Capitol of Canada” is my own perverse invention.
Kind of a build it and they will come philosophy … It now “officially” comes up under corset capitol, Google it!
Usually my audience is pretty educated with these types of things, but I wanted to give you a chance to make this point to anyone who might not be… Some people might look at your prices and say “why should I pay $300+” for a corset when I can get one from a random lingerie store for $50? Whats the difference between an inexpensive, mass produced corset and yours?
Really no comparison.
A professional corset will contain a fabric known as coutil.
Coutil is a fabric specifically manufactured by small European mills for corsetry.
It is expensive, beautiful and hard to get.
It is stiff, has a particular weave and has little or no stretch. In my opinion no real corset goes without it.
A real corset is a functional garment, it actually works! Real corsets are often made four inches smaller than a natural waist measurement and absolutely must be bomb-proof!
Can you imagine yanking as hard as you could on the lacing on your flimsy cheap corset? Good Luck.
Real corsets also have steel boning and a steel busk. I use expensive German steel from a 200 year old manufacturer!
The cheap corsets one sees at a “random lingerie” store will “maybe” have plastic bones, from my experience these plastic bones last about one wear before they start to bend and flip up.
This alone would be enough to convince most that those $50 “corsets” are maybe not such a bargain.
What about custom fitting? Not everyone is simply small, medium or large!
A custom corset is made to your exact measurements! It seems quite rare to me that a customer will fit the 34-24-36 type mold exactly.
An expensive corset will also have two-piece metal grommets at the back for strength as well as a steel bone in front of these grommets to support the back of the corset.
The lacing is also particularly made for corsetry, it is very strong and will often have had applied metal tips called aglets.
A custom made corset will be an heirloom garment that will last many years… really the $50 “el cheapo” is a false economy.
It will not reduce your waist and will really not be made to your measurements or to last.
I have a unique and ongoing fascination with Coco Chanel. She died on the exact day, year and month I was born!
She was also infamous for getting woman out of corsets, she quite detested them…
I also love Jean-Paul Gaultier as a designer and was able to attend his show at the Beaux Museum of Art in Montreal last summer!
I am also very interested in comparative religion, Churches and Basilicas, mythology and ancient symbols.
It also may be of interest to your readers that I live and work in a hand-built log cabin in the rural BC Rockies, and that I have a flock of 26 laying hens.
Other than corsetry what’s your favorite item of clothing?
I rarely wear anything other than a black dress.
I have several versions though the most popular is stretchy and cut a lot like a ballet suit.
Scoop necked, ¾ length sleeves and either knee length or A-line.
What’s your favorite thing you have ever made?
Whatever I am currently working on becomes my new favorite.
I put all my effort into each new corset.
Keep on keeping on. Every journey starts with a first step.
I failed both sewing and mathematics in school, now I spend my days zipping along on my industrial machine with a measuring tape around my neck.
Also be inspired by but don’t imitate, don’t sell yourself short. As we are all completely unique individuals we also bring our very own slant and soul to our art.
Finally, where can we find you are your art?
Find me online :
http://labellefairy.com/ – Personal Site
https://www.facebook.com/LaBelleFairy – Fan Page