Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Discipline of Fashion

I wanted to share with you Vogue Italia's September 2011 cover shoot with Stella Tennant and photographed by Steven Meisel. The front cover featured an unsettling image of Tennant, styled by Karl Templer, with a face full of piercings and a waist resembling the size of a neck.

The shoot was inspired by the story of Ethel Granger, the woman with the smallest waist in recorded history, coming in at 13 inches ! Granger manged to remodel the shape of her body with the help and encouragement of husband, William Granger. William was not a fan of the shapeless 1930's style dresses and believed all women should have a "wasp waist". He encouraged Ethel to pierce her ears, wear vertiginous high heels and to keep her corset on day and night. He was inspired by a magazine called London Life, which spanned from the 1920s to the early 1940s. The magazine featured fetishes of the time such as corsets, long hair, tattooists, wrestling and many more.

Ethel's aim to please her husband seems a bit extreme. I love to dress up and feel feminine and I do appreciate my boyfriend's opinion on what I am wearing (even when I sometimes don't like his opinion) however he won't be getting me to wear a corset anytime soon!

Vogue Italia's choice of inspiration highlights the extreme influence fashion can have on society. People seem willing to remodel theirs or others bodies in an attempt to reach an aesthetic ideal.
Let me know your thoughts.
Ciao for now x
Here is a behind the shoot video for your enjoyment :)

1 comment:

  1. Well when Ethel Granger had her piercings and her corseted waist and her high heels, it was very much NOT in fashion at all. Women were classed as fashionable if they were able to present a boyish straight up and down figure in their clothing. Low heels or no heels at all were in fashion. Indeed, all of Ethel Granger's shoes had to be custom bought as they weren't on sale in the high street at that time.

    The thing about corseting is that it is a very personal thing. Everyone who chooses to do so does it for their own reason. With Ethel Granger and her husband, it was a fetish to begin with and then since her waist was so easily compressible (not everyone's is) they decided to try for smaller and smaller just to see if she could get there. You could argue that she did it simply to please her husband, but she wasn't forced to put the corset on, and in the photos of her in them she looks rather proud of herself and how different she was from everyone else.

    For me, I enjoy wearing my corsets because I love the feeling - that of being hugged continuously. I also love the shape they give to my already hourglass figure (natural measurements 38", 26", 38"). I own corsets with closed waist measurements of 20" and 18". It is usual to wear a corset with a 2" gap at the back when "fully" shut, so that would give 22" and 20" respectively.
    Prior to my medication induced weight gain, I measured 34", 24", 34" and was able to wear my corsets (both sizes) at 21.5" over the corset. Now I'm 2" bigger at the waist and 4" at the bust and hips, I can easily manage a 2" reduction down to 24". I am currently beginning my waist training to get my natural waist back to 24" without a corset.

    Corsets are to me a wonderful thing. I find them hugely empowering when I wear one, even when laced only loosely. I don't wear them to be fashionable, I don't wear them because someone else wants me to do so. I just wear them for me.

    The Vogue article was interesting, but its worth noting that Stella did not corset to that degree for the shoot. She did not otherwise wear a corset and so would not have been able to reduce that much quick enough even if she had wanted to. All of the corsets other than the neck corset were borrowed for the shoot, not made for her. Indeed, a couple of the corsets actually belong to a male tightlacer!
    The photos of Stella were all photoshopped to take inches off her waist, as you can see if you look closely at the video. The intent was obviously to shock and to try to emulate Ethel Granger. But in reality she only had a modest reduction which anyone could manage with relative ease if they wanted to.