CAT CORSETS: A COLLECTABLE FOR THE FUTURE
Several different cat motifs have appeared in Vivienne Westwood collections spanning across her 50-year career, from the blue-eyed Campaign Against Arms Trade clowder to the pair belonging to Ingrid, Andreas and Vivienne’s friend.
Splashed across a t-shirt, a long sleeve top, a mini bag, and a giant tote, for many reasons the Cat print that debuted in the Gold Label Spring-Summer 2014 show has gained masses of devotees. Over time, this print has become a highly sought-after collector’s item. And so, we have decided to revisit that same famous feline and this iteration finds a limited-edition corset at its centre.
The seminal Westwood flat corsetry construction, originally inspired by high society eighteenth-century salon culture, first appeared in the Vivienne Westwood Autumn-Winter 1987/88 collection titled Harris Tweed and continued to feature and evolve. Now, over 30 years later, the inimitable style remains a coveted staple for the Westwood woman who wants to ‘Buy Less, Choose Well and Make It Last’.
The intricate, handmade designs feature high-quality, durable fabrics and artisanal printing techniques that were developed in Italy. In true Vivienne Westwood spirit, a highbrow garment, associated with both aristocracy and royalty, humorously juxtaposes an overtly kitsch print. Giving a nod to previous collections gone by, like the much-loved Bear corset from the Spring-Summer 1988 show, Pagan I.
Sitting outside of our seasonal collections, we’ve designed two Cat corsets, one in electric blue and the other in pale blue. Entirely made in London, the supply chain has a low carbon footprint. With a limited quantity made in each shade, we have chosen to steer away from mass production, thinking more sustainably.
Additional time has been taken for precise construction of the panelling and boning. As Daniela Corcio, Senior Product Developer explains:
“Our corsets are made by assembling 20 pieces of rigilene bone, each one cut by hand on a specific measure, burned at the top, hooded with a tape, and hand-stitched. All these bones have been assembled following a signature structure for the house that gives support but stays light on the body.”
Our laboratory precisely cuts every individual piece of the corset, and they are carefully finished by hand, to avoid any fabric wastage. Each one is made up of singular panels that are cut and fused, which requires specific placement. Lastly, the side panels are doubled up with a light mesh, to softly constrain the chest.
The corsets are made in UK size 6 to 14 and are available online and in our LA, Japan, NYC, 44 Conduit Street, Paris, Milan, and World’s End boutiques exclusively.