Glass is given an exclusive look into the art of corsetry at Alexander McQueen

GOING back to the advent of Alexander McQueen, corsets have been an integral part of its storyline. From Untitled SS98, where Lee Alexander McQueen presented the spine corset and in AW99 we saw the coiled corset to today, where the SS21 collection showcases a more feminine take on these pieces of art.

From moulded leather to polished wood and lace, corsets have been used at the British brand to enhance and celebrate the female body.

Alexander McQueen SS21
Alexander McQueen SS21

For SS21, the Alexander McQueen team utilised corsets by having them as the foundation to their deconstructed mid-20th century dresses and manipulating them to give structure to knitwear. A romantic colour palette of ivory, camomile and tea rose become the foundation to these pieces. With the focus being on corsets, the British fashion house wanted to shine a light on the garments usually hidden behind the surface with this collection.

Alexander McQueen corset Photo credit Alexander McQueen
The beginning of the corsetry process at Alexander McQueen

The process to testing out new ways to showcase this undergarment start with the signature McQueen tulle boned corset being digitally scanned in. Once uploaded, different colour tones can be explored during the print trials. When the colour choice has been made, it is digitally printed and then turned into the skirt.

Photo credit Alexander McQueen (2)
Alexander McQueen corsetry process
corsetry process
corsetry process
Alexander McQueen corset paper artwork

The corset artwork is then cut into the desired shape and placed on the bodice during fittings to see how it has been translated from digital to physical. The last part of the process sees a 3D-miniature paper-doll made to finalise how the dress is intended to look prior to the fabric being printed. The bodice is made life-size out of paper to ensure the placement of the intricate design aligns in all the right places.

Alexander McQueen corsetry process
Alexander McQueen corsetry process
Alexander McQueen corsetry process – paper dolls

The process might be long and complex but the outcome is always magnificent. When an item of clothing can hug the body so beautifully while accentuating its beauty is when you can argue fashion becomes art.

by Imogen Clark 

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