July 13, 2014

Period Corsets® Gets Witchy with Salem

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Grab your broomsticks and suspend your sense of disbelief! We're off to Salem, Massachusetts circa 1692.  This production provided us another great collaboration with an amazing design team for this latest supernatural drama, "Salem".  The series focuses less on the historically accurate side of the infamous witch burning events in the town, and more on scandal, sex and incantations.

The costumes designed by Joseph Porro are provocative and decadent. Period Corsets® garments figure prominently throughout the series from episode 5 though 14 and are often seen on screen as outerwear and under wear.

detail of our custom brocade corset
Though many liberties are taken  in the plot with the re-telling of the famous witch trials, it does reference actual historical figures. We had the pleasure of costuming many of the characters involved, most notably Tituba, Mercy Lewis and Mary Sibley. These were all real women involved in the trials, who now play a larger, if not more scandalous, role in the series.

Mercy and the witches of Salem in our front lacing custom corset

The costume designer, Mr. Porro has brought his usual skill and knowledge of the period to this project. He combines details that nod to the fantastical side (ie: embroidered iridescent green beetle wings seen below ),  with his solid historic underlying silhouettes. Together they evoke the world of the show eloquently.
Mary in our custom green brocade bodice

As with all costumes, Salem's wardrobe is a valuable player in portraying the personality and role of each character. Mary's wardrobe consisted of a lot of rich fabrics and elaborate brocades. Her costumes create a very lady-like and grand feel, being one of the most prominent characters with an important background in the community. To represent Mercy's dark story, the designer chose a lot of heavily textured, black on black materials balanced with some neutral pieces. Tituba is more exotic with a lot of jewel tones and more natural fibers.

"Mary Sibley"

"Mercy Lewis"


Period Corsets® was in four months of production with Salem, providing us with an incredibly creative collaboration with  their design team. They inundated us with a huge range of materials, everything from vintage silver lame herringbone kimono fabric to eyelet faux leather to burnout velvet silk overlaying satin. Every day was filled with anticipation to discover what rich materials they had in store for us next. Our finished garments where often the base for Mr. Porro's design team to take them to the next level of fantasy. They used luxurious trims and feathers, or distressed them with dirt, and of course lots and lots of blood.

Corsets and bodices in every fabric possible

Close to 40 pieces were created for the first season of the show. Some were stock items, such as our Marie Antoinette corset and our Kristina corset. Other items were completely custom created from the designers research images. Many of our creations were bodices with sleeves. A fitted corset look with either inset sleeves or tied-on sleeves, with or without cuffs in varying shapes.

Bodice with sleeves

See the full first season  of "Salem" streaming on Netflix. See our cauldron full of corsets in our slideshow below! Stay tuned for Season 2.

Slideshow not working? Follow the link to see our album.

April 29, 2014

Period Corsets® in Two Tony Nominated Shows

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 This year Period Corsets® collaborated with two Tony Award nominated shows  "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" and "Oliver!". One of the many thrills for Period Corsets® is getting the chance to work with theater productions. We've been honored to work with lots of shows and companies throughout the years, be they big or small.  What is always rewarding is when we help outfit the cast of a runaway hit.

c. 1905  Mae Corsets  in brocades coutils
Period Corsets® went undercover again in creating the graceful silhouette of the 19th century for "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder". We created multiple corsets to be worn underneath the costumes, giving the actors the proper shape of the day. We made our c. 1905 Mae Corset in every color of brocade.
"A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder"

Not only were our corsets used for their design and shaping, they also provided help in organizing the cast. We helped wardrobe out by making each member of the cast a different color of brocade so they could tell who was who at a glance.

brocades in many shades
Our c. 1905 Mae creates S-curve shape of the 19th century.

"A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" recently won 4 Tony Awards including one for "Best Musical" and "Best Costume Design of a Musical".


For "Oliver!", designer Sarah Nash Gates was in need of an 1830s style corset. This request gave us the opportunity to go ahead with our plans to fill the gap between our c 1805 Patricia Corset and our c. 1860 Julia Corset.
Oliver! at the 5th Ave. Theatre

With all of our corsets, each new design represents an important chapter in the evolution of  he corset shaping  particular to each historic period silhouette. Our 1830's pattern is an integral part of the dramatic transition between two very different period silhouettes. It's a bridge between the columnar straight lines of the early 19th century and the hourglass curving lines of the mid 19th century.

Our c. 1835 Ada  mock-up and finished corset in brocade

We took our design sketch and brought it into reality through multiple fittings and pattern alterations.. Our newest addition to the Period Corsets® line debuted as the c. 1835 Ada Corset, named for a maternal great-grandmother and, as always, a nod to a historic figure of the period; a pioneering mathematician of the era, Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace.

from design sketch by Doris Black to brocade
constructing in dusty rose brocade
Because "Oliver!" is a musical, that meant a certain amount of movement was required. The dancers would be wearing corsets, providing the correct silhouette of the era but, with the aid of clever stretch panels, they would still be allowed the freedom and comfort to move.

ready to go
This version of the Tony nominated "Oliver!" debuted at the 5th Ave. Theatre here in Seattle, Washington. The classic story of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens is re-told and set to Lionel Bart’s unforgettable score. The classic story of poor orphaned Oliver Twist and his experience with the seedy underside of London, England.

c. 1835 Ada Corset in Paisley

3 views of another c. 1835 Ada Corset

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Period Corsets - Design by Dzelque Blogger Templates 2008