cathie jung at the grand corset ball - down town association - reading room

The Grand Corset Ball

Sometimes you end up searching for a great event to wear your most prized corset. This past weekend’s Grand Corset Ball all but required you to do so. This was the culmination of a kickstarter initiated by Melanie Talkington (Lace Embrace Atelier) to create the Historical Corset Museum. I am very excited to see happen. It will be an amazing resource for those who love the historical pieces, and for those who just want to learn from the past to keep the art of corsetry alive and growing.


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Dressed for the ball, the debut of the newest version of „The Classic“ corset.

The Grand Corset Ball was held at the elegant Down Town Association Club in Lower Manhattan, New York City. The turn of the century (that century, not this one) architecture, styling, and attention to detail were the perfect complement to the exquisite corsetry on display that night. I had been looking forward to this event for months, because of the people, the corsets, the entertainment, not to mention that it was held on the eve of my birthday – an early present for me. Did I mention the people? It was so great to catch up with so many people I have met over the past few years, including Lucy of Lucy’s Corsetry, Autumn Adamme (Dark Garden), and ‚Sir‘ Ian Frazer Wallace (The Whitechapel Workhouse).

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A silver plate corset cover designed for Queen of the Ball Cathie Jung.

Upon checking in we were given a formal schedule of the night’s events and entertainment. Despite this the actual flow of the evening had a very organic sort of feel, granted not ideal for any obsessive-compulsives in attendance. Things began with exhibitions and lessons in vintage dance. Next was an informative as well as inspirational question and answer session with our queen for the evening and her husband. Cathie Jung has been waist training for four decades and holds the record for her fifteen inch corseted waist. Threaded throughout their answers was a history of corsetry of the last forty years. The formal entertainment culminated with two markedly different burlesque dance performances from Perle Noire and Aseult.

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Every aspect of Aseult’s performance felt diaphanous

Finally, as one would expect the highlight of the evening was all the absolutely amazing corsets on display. It truly was a celebration of the corset in all its possible incarnations: from historical, modern, cosplay, fantasy, burlesque, to the most avant-garde. An event like this succeeds or fails on its attendees, and based on this it was a resounding success. Let’s hope that it is not the last Grand Corset Ball!

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