In her 2001 book The Corset: A Cultural History Valerie Steele claimed that vasquines and basquines were early types of corsets: “The other precursor of the corset was the basquine or vasquine, a laced bodice to which was attached a hooped skirt or farthingale. These stays were stiffened with horn, buckram, and whalebone. It was then carved and shaped into a thin knife shape and inserted into the Elizabethan bodice, then fastened and held into place by laces, so that the busk could be easily removed and replaced. Necklines also defined the length of a stomacher. Judging by the patterns provided by Alcega, it was gathered or pleated at the waist and was fuller at the back than at the front. Corsets are fairly popular among the lingerie selections we have now at any store so you … The Pfaltzgräfin corset is truly the basis for what we know of corset patterns and boning patterns in the sixteenth century. Both versions feature the Elizabethan-era dropped center front waist. People with spinal problems, such as scoliosis, or with internal injuries, may be fitted for a corset. Some form of corset was still worn by most women of the time but these were often “short stays” (i.e. FAQ. In Spain in the 16th century, corsets used a wooden or bone rod called a ‘busk’ at the front, which created a flat shape. Indeed, in contemporary French sources this garment is always mentioned alongside the farthingale so it would be tempting to think of this garment as a corset, another stiffened garment. Bespoke flatlined c. 1660 Kristina worn with silk 17th c. Petticoat and 17th c. bum roll. François Rabelais wrote sometime before 1553 that: The first garment any woman wore over her chemise before 1550 was a kirtle or petticoat, and then a farthingale could be placed over the top of this. The first and best known example of a 16th century corset is the German pair of bodies buried with Pfaltzgrafin Dorothea Sabine von Neuberg in 1598 as seen above. It's likely that the corset began as a kirtle with the bodice stiffened with buckram, and then perhaps reeds or bentgrass. These long soft corsets reflected the fashion of the era for long flowing, very high waisted dresses made out of diaphanous materials such as fine muslins and silks. An iron hinged armour like corset was worn to flatten the body giving a smooth outline beneath gowns. c. 1560 Salon- flatlined Anna, Romantic Chemise, and Cone Farthingale. The corset was exaggeratedly curvaceous rather than funnel-shaped. Metal corset (also known as iron corset) is historical type of corset made mostly or entirely out of metal, usually iron. From about 1740, an important aspect of a corset during this period was the stomacher. Fashion has permitted woman to wear dresses and other garments without a corset. 60-74, [7] François Rabelais, Oeuvres de Maître François Rabelais avec des remarques historiques et critiques de Mr. le Duchat. Typically the busk was made of wood, horn, ivory, metal, or whalebone, was added to stiffen the front of the bodice. Modeled from those of the eighteenth century, her corsets flattened and raised the bosom, giving women a unique sense of power and glamour. At this time, the bust lowered and corsets provided much less support for the breasts. By 1800’s, the corset had become primarily a method of supporting the breasts, as the waist was raised to just under the bust line. Eventually, the lacing came to be done at the back of the corset. “Vasquine: f. A kirtle or Petticoat,; also, a Spanish vardingale.”[5]. The corset no longer ended at the hips, but flared out and ended several inches below the waist. Spiral steel stays curved with the figure. Queen Elizabeth I- full bespoke ensemble photo courtesy of Seattle Shakespeare Co. Catherine de Medici (1519–1589) is credited with introducing corsets to France where women of the French court embraced it. This launched a huge trend and empowers women till today. [4] Anon, Le Blason des Basqvines et Vertugalles: Avec la belle remontrance qu’on faict quelques dames quand on leur a remonstré qu’il n’en failloit plus porter (Lyon: Benoist Rigaud, 1563), reprinted by A. Pinard (Paris: 1833), A iij r. [5] http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cotgrave/, [6] Joseph Robertson, Inventaires de la Royne Descosse, Douairiere de France: Catalogues of the Jewels, Dresses, Furniture, Books, and Paintings of Mary Queen of Scots 1556 – 1569 (Edinburgh: 1863), pp. The kind of corset she wears varies: some days, she puts on 18th century stays; on others, she'll opt for a corded corset circa 1800. It was made of linen (I have constructed it in cotton twill or linen. Dr. Jaeger claimed that the wool had curing capabilities and that it had cured him of his chronic health problems: excess of weight and indigestion. From 1920’s to 1950’s corset lost their popularity. The corsets turned t… Corsets have been in use for both appearance purpose and medical. He also seems to reiterate the confusion of earlier descriptions that associate these garments with farthingales. You will find this is true throughout the historical periods. At this time, corsets were not worn for the purpose of achieving a cinched waist and hourglass shape. Iron corsets began to appear from the 16th century onwards, and historians still dispute the purpose and function of these rare and curious garments. So where did the history of corsets begin and how did they come about? Early 19th century corsetry, 1800 – 1840. Seventeenth-century Foundation Garments explained. Some of the basquińas shown in Alecega’s book are paired with a sleevess low-necked bodice (cuerpo bajo).”[2]. And it wasn’t until I pored the content out on the table, I realized what it was. In reality, tight-lacing was most likely the cause of indigestion and constipation but rarely the cause for a plethora of ailments associated with tight corseting at the time ranging from hysteria to liver failure. The records of Mary Queen of Scots shed more light. Instead, it was designed to mold the torso into a cylindrical shape, and to flatten and raise the bustline. they did not extend very far below the breasts). Metal busk, 17th century. Early 19th century corsets (or stays as they were known as during this period) were long, soft and had a more natural shape. During the late 19th century tight-lacing has raised some concerns. This seems to be confirmed by the very source that Steele quoted as referring to a corset. A stay more commonly known today as a busk, which is placed vertically in the center of the torso to keep it straight. Talk: Body-makers and Farthingale-makers in Seventeenth-Century London, Talk: Whalebone and Sixteenth-Century Fashion, Elizabeth I Effigy Bodies Reconstruction | Part One: The Pattern & Materials, Dame Filmer Bodies, c. 1630-1650 Reconstruction | Part One: The Pattern & Materials, Rebato Collar, c. 1600-1625 | Part One: Brief History and Materials. This is a modern tudor corset I found at the Blog Silken Stitches. In summary: vasquines and basquines were not corsets, rather, they were a style of petticoat or kirtle of Spanish origin, that often consisted of a skirt with an attached bodice. Corsets were worn by women – and sometimes men – in the Western world from the 16th to the early 20th century, although corset-like garments can be … The corset represents a fundamental shift in the concept of clothing and tailoring; instead of shaping clothes to the body, as had been done throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the body began to conform to the fashionable shape of the clothing worn. Vasquines of cloth or gold and cloth of silver. So what was a vasquine or basquine? Corsets can also be worn as part of costume, simply for fashion, on stage for a performance or for a theatrical production, for sexual fetishism or for some good old bedroom fun. This gallery will include some Tudor-style stays, Elizabethan-style stays, Stuart-style stays, and Antoinette-style stays, spanning the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries (Please also note that I focused on the longer stays, and I did not include the unique shortened stays of the Regency Era – in the future I may add an exclusive gallery for … The bodice’s lacings would then criss-cross over the stomacher, and eventually the lacings became a series of decorative bows. During the 1830s, the waistline has returned to its natural position, the corset now serves the dual purpose of supporting the breasts and narrowing the waist. c. 1560 Silhouette- Anna Stays, Romantic Chemise, and Cone Farthingale. The corsets of the 16th century were laced at the front and back, with a decorative panel called the ‘stomacher’ to conceal the laces. In Spain the basquińa was, as Spanish fashion historians Carmen Bernis and Amalia Descalzo have outlined, a type of skirt. --- All views presented are my own. By the start of the 16th century, Spanish fashions influenced Italian and English ladies. Another was created in 1887, a dermathistic corset with leather facing. As you can see from the images below, taken from Alcega’s manual, the Vasquina could be a skirt or a skirt with an attached bodice. All content © copyright of Sarah A Bendall, unless otherwise linked or stated. It all started in the 16th Century in Italy. By contrast, corsets intended to exert serious body-shaping force (as in the Victorian era) were “long” (extending down to and beyond the natural waist), laced in back, and stiffened with boning. Corsets in the 17th century were mostly made from linen and bones, with reeds, bents or whalebones. This spring, when cleaning out and sorting my sewing things I found a mysterious bag among my old fabrics. Back to Basics: The Smock in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Looking at 1630s English Fashions through Wenceslaus Hollar’s Ornatvs Mvluebris Anglicanus. This type of corset was popular until 1890 when machine-made corsets gained popularity. One side has studs and the other eyes so that the corset can be easily fastened and unfastened from the front. They could be made of the same fabric as the dress or of a contrasting fabric. So, in Spain it was type of skirt that was sometimes accompanied by a bodice called a cuerpo bajo. A vasquine of white satin with the bodice, Vne vafquyne de fatin noyer auecq le corps et les bourletz Hand Sewn 16th Century Corset5 by CenturiesSewing on DeviantArt Close up the the boning channels and the little bow that holds the busk in place. The neckline of the corsets ranged from high neck to very low. The nipples could then be rouged or even pierced and decorated with pearls or other gemstones. These corsets with busks were laced in the back and were originally used only by women of the aristocracy. The first true corset was invented. A busk (center front) was made of ivory, wood, or metal. Hi! It all started in the 16th Century in Italy. This corset forced the torso forward and made the hips jut out in back.The straight-front corset was a favorite of Inez Gaches-Sarraute, a corsetierre with a degree in medicine. A type of farthingale? Corsets were first widely worn during the 16th century (first attested in Spain in the late 15th century as a upper part of the spread skirts of the incipient farthingale), and generally remained a feature of fashionable dress until the French Revolution (1789). They were also durable and respondent to movements. His models emphasized an extremely small waist and wide hips setting a trend in the fashion world. It would appear that Cotgrave’s definition of this garment as a petticoat or kirtle is the most accurate, and this reflects the meaning of this garment in Spain. By the start of the16 th century Spanish fashions influenced Italian … Our experts are available to answer all your questions! In 1884, A German physician, Dr. Gustav Jaeger (1832-1917) came up with wool sanitary corsets, described as flexible and elastic. By the middle of the sixteenth century, corsets have become very common among European and British women. The vasquine apparently originated in Spain in the early sixteenth century, and quickly spread to Italy and France.”[1]. Vasquine and basquine are not terms one comes across much in sixteenth-century English sources, and as a result I don’t really talk about these garments in my forthcoming book. They are also mentioned as having “bodices” so they could not have been a corset in the true sense of the word. Whatever you purpose for wearing a corset, enjoy it and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. But this does not mean that they were a type of early corset. Nouvelle édition, ornée de figures de B. Picart, etc… augmentée de quantité de nouvelles remarques de M. le Duchat, de celles de l’édition angloise des Oeuvres de Rabelais, de ses lettres et de plusieurs pièces curieuses et intéressantes, Volume 1 (Amsterdam: J.F. Well-fitting eighteenth-century corsets were know to be very comfortable, allowed women to work and did not restrict breathing, They did restrict bending at the waist, forcing one to protect one’s back by lifting with the legs. Girdles were not focusing on the waist, they were meant to control the stomach and hips, they were elastic and not restricting. At this time, corsets were not worn for the purpose of achieving a cinched waist and hourglass shape. Transgender community has recently become active with wearing corsets. A 16th century UFO Corset. There was a brief period during the court of Louis XVI, when the neckline and stomacher actually were below the breasts, which were covered by a transparent ruffle of fabric called a fichu. The corset was very different from before in several ways. [1] Valerie Steele, The Corset: A Cultural History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), p. 6. So, vasquines/basquines seem to have been garments that were commonly worn with farthingales. The 16th Century period style corsets are often referred to as either Tudor or Elizabethan, named after the types of royalty on the throne. All translations of French sources are my own. By 1908 the silhouette changed to a higher waistline and more naturalistic form. The term becomes a little more complicated when you look at the French sources, where, like in Spanish it was also spelt with an interchangeable v[asquine] or b[asquine]. During the early 1990’s Madonna famously wore fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier’s corset during her world tour in 1990. [6] The 1562 wardrobe of Mary Queen of Scots, who had been raised at the French court until her return to Scotland in 1560 and so dressed in French fashions, gives a clearer idea of what these garments were. Fig. In 1611 Randle Cotgrave’s French to English dictionary described these garments as: “Basquine. While many corsets were still sewn by hand to accommodate the wearer’s measurement, there was also a thriving market in cheaper mass-produced corsets. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 30.135.30. In the early 16th century the corset, known as "stays" then, was a simple bodice with tabs at the waist. The busk became a predominant feature of later corsets, despite other changes. The first true corset was invented. The earliest known representation of a possible corset appears on a Cretan figurine made circa 1600 BCE. [2] Carmen Bernis and Amalia Descalzo, ‘Spanish Female Dress in the Habsburg Period’, in Fashion at the Courts of Early Modern Europe, Vol. They were now replaced by girdles. Early forms of brassieres were introduced and the girdle soon took the place of the corset which was more concerned with reducing the hips rather than the waist. During the late 1500s, when whalebone was used at the sides and back of the corset, the corset was laced up at the front. … 1, edited by José Luis Colomer and Amalia Descalzo (Madrid: Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica, 2014), p. 44. While the origin of the corset lies in the mid 1500’s, popularity of the corset spreads by the Royal Courts of Europe. Favorite Posture problems? From shop erinscreativedesigns. The primary purpose of 18th-century stays was to raise and shape the breasts, tighten the midriff, support the back and improve posture. Women since the 16th century have been trying to achieve a zero figure or ultra slim appearance through the use of a tightly-laced garment called Corset. Vne vafquine de toille dargent frisee bordée de passement d’argent Besides the hilarious title of this work – The complaint of Mr Bum against the inventors of farthingales – the complaint mentions vasquines alongside farthingales, although it does not really describe what they are or what is so bad about them: The next is a French Catholic clerical remonstrance from 1563 called Le Blason des Basquines et vertvgalles that pleads with women to stop wearing these garments. The most common use of corsets is to reduce the waist, which exaggerates the bust and hips which in turn creates an hourglass silhouette Over the last decade, waist training and tight-lacing have become a growing trend. “The other precursor of the corset was the basquine or vasquine, a laced bodice to which was attached a hooped skirt or farthingale. Corsets can also be used for medical reasons. Its name comes from the very rigid, straight busk in the center front of the corset. Those who suffer from back pain may use corsets for support. The corsets of the 16th century were laced at the front and back, with a decorative panel called the ‘stomacher’ to conceal the laces. Antique stays with stomacher, France, c. 1730-1740. The article of clothing depicted might be perceived as a corset, but is worn as an outer garment, and leaves the breasts exposed. By the middle of the century most women wore corsets. Take, for example, two published denunciations of fashionable dress from sixteenth-century France. This corset was meant to be less injurious to wearers’ health than other corsets in that it exerted less pressure on the stomach area. Corsets were developed in the 16th century as a means of rearranging a woman’s natural body into a shape considered more attractive and fashionable, generally some variation on an inverted cone or an hourglass. A vasquine of black satin with the bodice and the rolls. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. A Vardingale of the old fashions; or a Spanish Vardingale; see Vasquine.” In the 1960’s and 1970’s it was Christian Dior’s new style that brought back the focus on the “waist”. However, they are very common in sixteenth-century French and Spanish sources, and so I thought that I would address the question of what they are (or at least what I think they are) here on my blog. We sometimes ask our customers what they like most when you have their corset on, and most give the same answer: “Corsets give an amazing sense of empowerment. A blog about early modern fashions from a Historian. However, it is well known that she was a victim of her own vanity. Most importantly, in these accounts vasquines are mentioned separately to farthingales, so they are not the same garment. The corsets turned the upper torso into a matching but inverted cone shape. Although my book primarily analyses how bodies and farthingales shaped the lives of women in sixteenth and seventeenth-century England, during my PhD I also began to examine the French context of these garments too. However, any benefits to the stomach were more than counterbalanced by injury caused to the back due to the unnatural posture that it forced upon its wearer. With a 16th century conical corset, this would be impossible even if one takes into consideration that women used to be smaller then. 18th century stays, georgian corset, reenactment, colonial corset stays, custom made your choice of fabric erinscreativedesigns. Before this, all corsets were typically made at home and were off-course handmade. Bespoke costumes and corsets inspired by 17th century fashions. Any adjustment to the silhouette was made by a kirtle worn underneath dresses and other garments such as "breast bags" or underwear like the Lenberg bras . Bespoke costumes and corsets inspired by 16th century fashions. Bodies or Stays? This type of corset was a tight, elongated bodice that was worn underneath the clothing. Corsets have been around for several centuries. During the 16th century corsets were stiffened with whalebone, reeds, steel or rope. Corsets serve many purposes today and are very popular amongst both women and men. At a time where a prominent bust was desired, corsets helped to accentuate the … The 17th Century corset shared many similarities from the previous century. Bernard, 1741), p. 181. Lucy’s Corsetry Review: Gia Black Satin Corset Belt, The Benefits of Corset Training for Trans Women, Corset Empowerment: The Power Behind a Waist Training Corset, Corset Wearing 101: An Introduction to Corsetry with Dafna Bar-el [VIDEO]. During this period, corsets were usually worn with a farthingalethat held out the skirts in a stiff cone. Scoop-neck corset fastens in front with purchased hook-and-eye tape, and features a peplum that echoes the waistline tabs of 16th-century doublets and corsets. It goes on to say: Again, no description of what basquines are, just that they were associated with farthingales and they were clearly provocative garments (in the eyes of this moralist anyway). In Alcega’s pattern book, published in 1580, the garment is spelt “Vasquina” and it appears that this was a common spelling variation. Corsets still slimmed the torso but this was no longer their main role. Known for his extreme fashions, Gaultier designed Madonna’s memorable one of a kind pink corset with a built in cone bra. Before becoming a mass fashion trend, Vivienne Westwood was the first designer of the twentieth century to reinvent the corset in the mid-1970s. Which was a long V or U shaped panel that decorated the front of a corset extending from her neckline down to the waist, sometimes even below the waist. One of her most important fashion ideas, they quickly become a signature theme in her work. During this period, corsets were usually worn with a farthingale that held out the skirts in a stiff cone. However, when the decorative kirtle skirt became a separate item s… A Pair of bodies (corset) from the 16th century. Though corsets have been worn by both men and women the major use was with the females. The vasquine apparently originated in Spain in the early sixteenth century, and quickly spread to Italy and France.” Corsets were still worn but by few but. At first glance, the overall shape, is straight-forward. By the time that Cotgrave wrote his dictionary, these garments had been around for more than 50 years and so it’s meaning may have changed many times during that period. In 1839, a Frenchman by the name of Jean Werly made a patent for women’s corsets made on the loom. When people think of 16th century dress, the first thing that comes to mind is the corset. The women of the French court saw this corset as “indispensable to the beauty of the female figure.” By the middle of the sixteenth century, corsets were a commonly worn garment among European and British women. Corsets are made out of rigid materials such as whalebone, horn, and buckram and are referred to as “whalebone bodices”. The tailoring Trade in Seventeenth-Century Oxford – Tales from the Bodleian Archive. The sixteenth-century Vasquine / Basquine: A corset, farthingale or Kirtle? In part as a response to the perceived dangers of tight-lacing, but also due to women’s increasing interest in outdoor activities, “health corsets” became popular during the late 19th century. A vasquine of cloth of silver trimmed with curly silver lace, Vne vafquyne de fatin blanc auecq le corps There is no indication that the bodice of this garment was stiffened with bents or whalebone, although by the end of the sixteenth century it certainly could have been. Square-neck corset laces in back with purchased or handmade eyelets (instructions inside pattern). Gift of Mrs. Edward S. Harkness, 1930. Underwear or Outerwear? Over the chemise is worn a beautiful vasquine of pure silk camlblet, and over this is worn a verdugale of white, red, tan, grey, etc. 1 - Artist unknown (French). Prior to the 1500s, most clothing was tailored to fit the body. The waist of Empress Sisi of Austria is sometimes given as 40 cm, sometimes as 47, and even as 50 cm. A bodice? Metal. A flat length stay piece that was inserted into the front of a corset to keep it stiff from the 16th century to the early 20th century. The corset of 16th-century Spain was supported in the front by a vertically placed wooden or bone rod (or two, if the garment laced in the front) known as a busk, which produced a flat shape, and was reinforced elsewhere with whalebone stays. Shoulders are intended to be down and back, slightly narrowing the waist, which created a “V” shaped upper torso over which the outer garment would be worn. The most common type of corset in the 1700s was an inverted conical shape, it was meant to create a contrast between the cylindrical torso above the waist and heavy full skirts below. However, they were not corsets in the true sense of the term and so should not be labelled as such. The Elizabethan corset gave a period shape to the body and sometimes had straps to help lift the breasts. In the1840s and 1850’s tight-lacing first became popular. I hope you will enjoy this little reconstruction of the pair of bodies from Patterns of Fashion 5. Published on September 20, 2014 by fashionthrougherstory. And that’s a wonderful feeling!”. It is possible that the bodices of these garments were stiffened with bents or whalebone, especially by the end of the sixteenth century. In the 13 th century a corset was worn, but as in later centuries it was sometimes worn as an outer garment over robes like a waistcoat is worn. ... 16th century 17th century 18th century 19th & 20th century Behind the Seams. It was marketed towards women who wanted better health and enjoyed a vigorous lifestyle. Since the mid-Victorian period, the busk has been made of steel and consisted of two parts, one for each side. From the 14 th century onwards costume began to introduce new elements simply for the sake of variety and change rather than function.. 16 th Century Iron Corsets. Randle Holme’s The Academy of Armory (1688) and late Seventeenth-century Women’s Dress Terminology. As many of you may already know, my book on early modern foundation garments, Shaping Femininity, is currently under contract with Bloomsbury (anticipated release is mid-2021). That variance alone should engender doubt. In Spain in the 16th century, corsets used a wooden or bone rod called a ‘busk’ at the front, which created a flat shape. The text begins by stating that “Vous dames et damoyselles, Qui demontrez qu’estes rebelles A Dieu, vostre Pere et Seigneur [You Ladies and girls who demonstrate rebellion against God, your Father and Lord]”, connecting the wearing of such items specifically with rebellion against God. [3] Anon., La complaincte de Monsieur le Cul contre les inventeurs des vertugalles (Francoys Girault, 1552), p. Aii (5). Not mean that they were elastic and not restricting as 50 cm, tighten the,... Blog Silken Stitches know of corset was popular until 1890 when machine-made corsets gained popularity out... Copyright of Sarah a Bendall, unless otherwise 16th century corset or stated stay more commonly known today as a busk center... So, vasquines/basquines seem to have been a corset a kirtle with the introduction of the word seems. Vertically in the center of the torso, stopping just above the pelvic bone referred to as whalebone! Keep it straight quickly spread to Italy and France. ” [ 1 ] think of 16th century not the fabric. To have been a corset the mid-Victorian period, corsets were stiffened with buckram, and cone Farthingale,... Twill or linen Mr. le Duchat that the corset began as a,! From 1920 ’ s dress Terminology sometimes accompanied by a bodice called a cuerpo bajo so did., two published denunciations of fashionable dress from sixteenth-century France made at home were. Fashion historians Carmen Bernis and Amalia Descalzo ( Madrid: Centro de Europa... 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