Shop // Interview with Miss Moss about Corsets

Interview by Danielle Griffin in Berlin // Saturday, April 9, 2011

Miss Moss has always found corsets alluring, and after her fashion design degree at university was finished, she went on to create her own line, aptly named Miss Moss Corsets. Naturally, as corsets were such an integral part of historical dress, costumes followed.

Having taught corset-making courses at Linkle Stitch’n’Bitch café for a couple of years now, she’ll be bringing the same enthusiasm for sharing the art of corsetry to a new series of courses in costume design! The courses will cover female fashions spanning a variety of eras, starting with the 16th Century up to the 1920’s. The first course in the series will cover an Elizabethan (16th Century) dress, including a bodice with sleeves, skirt and French hood.

I had the chance to share a few words with Miss Moss about the course and her work!

Danielle Griffin: What inspired you to start a costume-making workshop?
Miss Moss: Historical costumes had a really big influence on my work and since I studied it in Italy, I wanted to teach a course working back through history starting in the 1600s up to 1920s, as I am interested in the fashions of these centuries and I think it would be a fun course to teach!

DG: There seems to be a growing trend for corsetry and historical clothing, and historical elements seem to be popping up even in modern clothing. Why do you think that is?
MM: I think that nowadays, due to our disposable culture, clothes are manufactured so cheaply from cheap fabrics that fall apart so easily, that when someone wants something custom-made they know they pay for the quality and the time of a skilled tailor to produce a fabulous outfit for them. With fashion, what goes around comes around, and tailoring knowledge from history will always keep popping up; not as extravagant in style as the rococo period, but great knowledge on dress making comes from this period! As for the Corset, I think this is a symbol associated with sex; they’re always popping up in films or pop stars are wearing them, and they’re always available to buy in sex shops as it is an item of lingerie. The corset is always in the media, and because of its sex symbolism i think it has periods where it fades out of fashion but it always seems to make a come back!

DG: What originally inspired you to start designing corsets?
MM: My original inspiration was from when I was 13 years old and I saw the film Titanic. Kate Winslet’s costumes really left a lasting impact on me. I started keeping scrap books of images of corsets and historical costumes that inspired me. When I studied Fashion at University I always found that my work was inspired by historical costume, mainly the Victorian era.

DG: Did costume design sort of grow naturally out of the corsetry?
MM: Yes, thanks to researching the Edwardian period, which was the era the costumes from Titanic were from. I started to research the history of the corset, as it was the foundation garment for those times, and then the extravagant dresses on top. It was really interesting for me to see how fashion changed and developed and how tailoring skills evolved. I think the tailoring and construction from old fashions is so fascinating and detailed.

DG: If you could pick an absolute fashion era, which one would it be?
MM: My ultimate fashion era would be the Victorian period, dating from 1837-1901 and Edwardian, 1901-1910. Under the reign of Queen Victoria the fashion industry changed a lot thanks to the industrial evolution. New materials became more available, new fabrics, new colors, and the sewing machine came into use, which saw the beginnings of mass production of garments.
I also find the Edwardian period fascinating because its the build up to the period of the Suffragettes movement, during which fashion was about to change drastically…Women were fighting for the right to vote, wanted to be freed from their restrictive corsets and have equal rights to men. So the changing silhouette from this period up until the 1920s is also really interesting as it changes so much.

Course info: Saturday, April 23-May 21, with a break on May 14, 10 am-1 pm

Course fee: (180 Euro) includes bones to stiffen the bodice, eyelets and laces; however, students must bring their own fabrics for the course but more information will be given about fabrics, colors and styles at the first lesson.

Contact Miss Moss for registration:

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