It was so difficult choosing my favourite piece because I’ve built quite a portfolio of designs over the last twelve years or so, but this piece, although one of the simplest, is the most personal to me. The fabric is a digital print of art work I did in 1996 when I was doing my Art Foundation at Central College that was based on a trip to Paris where we stayed in Pigalle, the red light district. As an eighteen-year-old with a group of amazingly creative people let loose in another country, the memories are blurry but happy ones. When I came back I did this painting based on what I had seen and I knew at that moment it was an unfinished piece that I would come back to. To me that resonates with the name of my company Eternal Spirits, which comes from an Allen Ginsberg poem: “all eternal spirits to be awakened.” I guess I awakened an old bit of artwork I did and pushed it forward years later.
The name of this corset is in relation to the shape as opposed to the design and fabric. All my corset shapes have names and Burlesque is one of the most popular. This particular piece was part of my ‘Understated’ Collection: a collection largely inspired by a road trip through the States some years ago and the Understated part being because I wanted to create a range that were more wearable as day wear. All of my corsets are designed to be worn in and out of the bedroom… Whether that’s with matching lingerie or with a pair of jeans, a pencil skirt, as bridal or evening wear. They are all versatile.
There is a story behind every piece I do and all of my corsetry is handcrafted in Nottingham to traditional Victorian methods using steel boning. My corsets have been used for fashion events in Paris and Japan as well as London Fashion Week and Cannes Film Festival, and I’ve dressed stars such as Dita Von Teese, Courtney Love, The Scissor Sisters, Girls Aloud, Britney Spears and even Royalty. I love designing bespoke bridal gowns because I am able to capture the bride’s story and personality in her dress. It has always been important to me to create luxury items that stand the test of time both in style and quality. My atelier is like walking into a giant dressing up box in which my customers are invited to select from hundreds of fabric swatches to create a corset unique and personal to them and their own story.
Sustainability has always been important to me as a designer, as has sourcing all my raw materials as ethically as possible. My work is about celebrating the female form and capturing ‘the goddess’ in everyone I create a piece for.
Eternal Spirits, Carlton Textile Workshops, Stoney Street, The Lace Market.