Oxford Conference of Corsetry ’15 – Part 1
by Kirk Whitmer
First an apology, or an excuse if you prefer: Things have been crazy busy around here with a bunch of changes going on at deux lunes – new atelier, new city, early stages of new designs, a small party to plan. Because of this, I have been doing a terrible job of keeping all of you up to date. Rest assured that I will soon be writing lots more in this space. But first, the Oxford Conference of Corsetry ’15…
It is hard to believe that almost two months have passed since I was in attendance at the third annual Oxford Conference of Corsetry (OCOC). So much happened in these two days that it is difficult to fully everything. Not to mention that I never seem to take enough pictures; I am always just too busy experiencing everything. But I am flooded with vivid memories of so much that happened. So I will not even try to document the entire event, just my personal highlights.
Oxford and Jesus College
Entering the city of Oxford, one of the most famous university towns in the world, is always a little magical for me. This is a city of magnificent architecture, museums, and libraries. Have I ever mentioned that I love books? There seem to be multiple bookshops in every block. And this was also the home of the literary circle the Inklings, whose members included J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. It is doubtful that these luminaries would have ever thought that one day a group of corset makers (the Busklings perhaps?) would be holding annual gatherings here.
Jesus College has been the OCOC’s home since its inception. Sleeping in the student dorms, walking across the quad, eating our meals in the elegant 400-year-old dining hall; all this adds to the charm of the entire weekend. The Jesus College dining hall is an idyllic setting for the Saturday night banquet. The conference attendees in fancy dress and corsets are the perfect complement to the dark carved wood of the walls, leaded glass windows, and regal portraits.
Okay, saying that there are corsets at a corsetry conference appears rather redundant. Conference delegates and attendees alike bring their corsets for show-and-tell. But this year had an extra special treat, Steph Selmayr’s extensive collection of vintage corsets. It was almost as much fun watching corset makers reverentially examining every detail of these corsets as the seeing corsets themselves. Beautiful details such as cording, flossing, hand-stitching, will surely inspire the designs of virtually everyone there. This is one of the few times that I did remember my camera so please enjoy the detail shots.
Check back soon for Part 2 of OCOC’15, including Mister Pearl!