Corset Design – Elena Amos


Looking into corsetry I found that corsets throughout history have been contemporary and time-honoured construction garments with various opinions regarding the ‘dangers’ of the corset. Some argue that corsets caused a variety of health issues for women especially in the 18th and 19th centuries due to the lack of resources that we have available now to ensure comfort.

It has been considered an oppressive garment fuelling patriarchy, however, designers such as Vivienne Westwood used the controversial undergarment as a way to empower women by making corset outerwear in the 20th century.

The current trends of corsets seem to be popular in layering corsets over shirts and garments to make corsets the centrepiece of an outfit rather than underwear. Corsets have had a sudden rise in ‘2023 intimate summer’ moving away from traditional underwear such as bras. Traditional corsets are also used in more recent examples as a way to update dress shapes, structured cups and nipped-in waists as a silhouette in design.

Galliano runway 1993

John Galliano Spring/Summer 1993

An inspiration when looking into past designer’s use of corsets I found John Galliano’s Spring/Summer 1993 collection which was inspired by traditional corsets in evening dresses from the 18th and 19th centuries to a modern twist with revelling clothing to emphasise feminine bodies and silhouettes with harsh geometric shapes and shoulders highlighting a more rebellious look.

From this inspiration, I chose to apply a modern and traditional blended outfit that would highlight and compliment the corset in the way done by Galliano, using harsh edges and shapes to create a feminine and geometrical silhouette.

After researching I decided to create a moodboard with inspired images as references when creating my own designs.


Moodboard Inspiration

I chose both traditional and modern examples of corsetry to allow the history of the silhouette and shaping corsets to inspire my own design shaping. I also mixed images of commercial and high fashion examples to give perspective of areas I could explore when designing taking aspects of both to incorporate. Using the Moodboard was a great support with deciding shapes, construction and the illustration process overall.


From this, I drew some sketched ideas of my own garment and corset.

Drawing sketch of outfit design

Outfit Design Sketch

Corset design

Corset Design Sketch

I chose to draw a full outfit to highlight the corset as the centrepiece within a garment.

I took inspiration from traditional fashion using a more traditional skirt to blend the modernity of having a corset being utilised as outerwear rather than as a support for women that its purpose was in the past. I made notes to give more details towards each feature added to the garment and the inspiration behind it.



I then generated a sketch of the corset alone to highlight finer details that may not be as clear in the full outfit perspective. Doing so allowed my illustration to also be more refined in the details.

I chose to create a very structured look creating the triangle silhouette used in the earliest forms of corsetry and generating my own modern version that blends traditional and contemporary styles like designs of Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano.



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