Cadolle “Malia” corset, Spring 2007

  • By The Museum at FIT
  • In Objects
  • On 4 Nov | '2014
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Cadolle "Malia" corset / Chantilly lace, cotton, Spring 2007 | Photo: Eileen Costa copyright MFIT

Cadolle “Malia” corset / Chantilly lace, cotton, Spring 2007 | Photo: Eileen Costa © MFIT

“The concept of the visible corset has become a socially acceptable form of erotic display,”1 wrote Valerie Steele in her book The Corset: A Cultural History. Once perceived as an instrument of female oppression, the corset had taken on new meaning by the 1980s, when designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler adopted it as a symbol of empowerment for women.2

Cadolle has specialized in corsetry throughout its long history. This example is intended to be outerwear, but it can also be worn as an undergarment. The choice of bright pink lace is overtly – and unapologetically – girlish. Rather than using plastic boning, as many contemporary corset manufacturers do, Cadolle corsets are made with steel boning, in various widths and gauges to create a precise silhouette. Whereas plastic can warp due to body heat, steel keeps its shape.3

1. Valerie Steele, The Corset: A Cultural History (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001), 170.

2. Ibid., 166.

3. Ali Cudby, “What Sets Cadolle Corsetry Apart,” Lingerie Briefs, accessed March 29, 2014.

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