Bringing back Victorian fashion

| 29 Sep 2011 | 03:27

SPARTA — Many people don’t really give getting dressed much thought. Wake up, throw on jeans and a shirt and hit the floor running. But to some fashion opens up a whole new world; it’s art, history, and expression. Kaila Hawriluk, a 2009 graduate of Albright College, has set her goal towards the fashion world by creating Victorian era corsets. Corsets were a fashion trend in the Victorian era. They were used in the early 1800s as a garment meant to encase the middle torso and either flatten or push up a woman’s breasts. They were also used to define and enhance a woman’s curves and shape. Getting into a corset and wearing it all day may have been painful, but women endured the discomfort for the sake of vanity and the idea of beauty for the times. Madonna may have brought back the look of the corset in the 80s, but Hawriluk brings beauty and art into its form with her corset creations. Hawriluk’s inspiration to assemble corsets was based on her senior thesis at Albright College. Hawriluk created different paintings and prints based on research on corseting and tight lacing in the beginning of the Victorian era. She also participated in an Albright Creative Research Experience project in which she assembled four different corsets, three of the four were historical corsets and the fourth was her own creation, a fetish corset. “While the process was long and tedious, I absolutely loved it. I was even able to speak with one of the leading corset trainers on the west coast who filled me in on the contemporary practice of corseting and tight lacing or ‘waist training’ as it is called now,” said Hawriluk. Kaila received a departmental distinction in art at The Woman’s Studies Undergraduate Research Conference at Lehigh University, during Honors Week at Albright, for her work. Hawriluk hopes to make her own corsets as a part-time business. Boutiques and Internet sites are interested in selling her Victorian-style creations. Hawriluk hopes it will be a promising future and feels lucky that she is able to work at a craft she enjoys. “It’s going to be a slow process, because it is an investment on my part as well and the corsets do require a fair amount of labor, but I love making them and they can be both functional and beautiful pieces of art,” said Hawriluk.