Corsets: V&A Exhibition and Lace Embrace

In a few days, the Victoria and Albert Museum will have a new exhibition on Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear. Undressed will focus on the relationship between underwear and fashion, as well as the shifting fashionable body ideal. The exhibition will feature over 200 objects of underwear – corsets, panties, crinolines, slips, etc. – for men and women from the 18th Century to the present day. It runs from 16 April 2016 until 12 March 2017. Tickets cost £12 but members go free.

Those in Vancouver, BC – or even in Washington, USA – who cannot make the trip to London, England can visit Melanie Talkington’s Lace Embrace Atelier. Melanie Talkington has the world’s largest private collection of antique corsets and has been fundraising to start an antique corset museum. Some of these corsets were recently displayed at the Louvre’s Musée des Arts décoratifs in 2013. At the Atelier at Main St and 16th, curious visitors can shop for pretty undergarments (corsets, tights, panties, garters, etc.) and look at some of Melanie’s private collection of antique and vintage corsets. Those interested in trying corsets will have many types and designs to choose from, all of which are reproductions of the corsets from Melanie’s personal collection. The ladies at the Atelier can also help interested buyers in creating custom corsets.

Melanie’s corsets have been seen on Guiness record holder, Cathie Jung; burlesque dancer/model/designer, Dita von Teese; and countless actresses in movies and TV series filmed in ‘Hollywood North’. You may recognise this corset pictured below, which is similar to the one Red wears in Once Upon A Time. (If I remember correctly, Princess Aurora also wears a corset by LEA.)

I always relish the chance to dress up and my sweet friend and fellow historical fashion model, Virginia, has indulged me twice by lacing me up in different corsets in the shop. Of course, she also helps make some of the corsets! It’s hard to pick a favourite out of these three but just in case you’re wonder: Clara is probably the most versatile corset; Marie Stays is easier to breathe in; I think Juliet is probably the most flattering on me (in black – not pictured).

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Address: 219 E 16th Ave, Vancouver, BC, Canada