While the love affair with the Renaissance continues on the runways of New York, Milan and Paris, Vancouverites can join in some Victorian fashion fun at the Lace Embrace Masquerade Corset Ball. An evening of corsetry, romance and seduction, the event takes place on Valentine’s Day.
The boudoir look of waist-cinching corsets originates in the early 1900’s. Historically, such garments signified both beauty and oppression. Women wore corsets to tighten their waists and accentuate their chests – up, out and together – for a fashionable silhouette. However, tightly-laced corsets could cause shortness of breath, dizziness and even digestive problems.
A symbol of civilized dress, in European courts the corset was also a class differentiator, distinguishing between the rich aristocrats and the common folks.
From the 70’s to the 90’s, Vivienne Westwood, Thierry Mugler and Jean Paul Gaultier reimagined the corset as a provocative and powerful garment in its own right. Essentially, underwear was transformed into outerwear and became a symbol of sexual empowerment for confident women firmly in control of their lives and bodies. Gaultier famously dressed Madonna in a conical bra for her 1990’s Blonde Ambition Tour and no one embodies sexual freedom like the Material Girl.
The Lace Embrace Masquerade Corset Ball is a celebration of the corset’s history, raising funds for the Antique Corset Museum, the world’s largest collection of privately-owned corsets, which is scheduled to open later this year.
Masquerade Corset Ball
Women are invited to don their finest corset-inspired costumes along with a Venetian mask in keeping with the ‘Carnival of Venice’ theme while men should wear tuxedos or, if the mood strikes them, something more princely.
The event is produced by Lace Embrace Atelier which specializes in the art of traditional corset making. They marry their traditional skills with modern fashion to produce beautiful corsets for every need from bridal to boudoir to medical. With a clientele that includes professionals both young and old, Lace Embrace Atelier is for anyone who appreciates fashion and craftsmanship.
Tickets for the Lace Embrace Masquerade Corset Ball held at the historical Heritage Hall on February 14th are available online.