During the week we were visited by Charlotte Smith, curator of the Darnell Collection a 5500 piece archive of antique and designer garments held at the Fashion and Textile Gallery in Surry Hills. Charlotte brought around a range of garments from 18th century bodices to works from contemporary designers today. It was really fantastic to see these bodices up close, and she was very kind to allow us to handle them and get a close look, there were similar garments at the Powerhouse last week but they were caged in glass vitrines.
The level of hand detailing was exquisite, it is hard to imagine the garment holding such a severe form with the seams only held together with hand stitching. The bodice is tiny by todays standards but we were informed it a larger one by comparison to many others, the sleeve was of particular interest, it was shaped to curve inwards forcing the arms to the center of the body, very different to the standard straight sleeve we are accustomed to today.
This is Charlotte in her Thierry Mugler jacket, it is interesting to see how the corsetry detailing of years gone by has been reinterpreted through fusing and seaming to create a very narrow waist. The same idea was harnessed by Vivienne Westwood in this bodice, Westwood incorporated stretch fabrics into her corsets to make them wearable for the modern woman.