600 x 440 x 220 mm (corset), 175 x 225 mm (tunic)
Corset: laser-cut paper; tunic: hand-woven and hand-stitched cotton and linen
‘While researching historical costume I came across an image of a 16th-century wrought-iron bodice. Known as the ‘busk’, it was worn to mould the female torso into a conical form. It remains for me one of the most intriguing and dramatic relics of garments past, because it is both beautiful and menacing.
When women stepped out of the simple loose-fitting medieval tunic into garments constructed to contour the body, they engaged in a battle against the natural female form. Over the centuries women have sculpted their ideal body shape by sporting corsets and binding body parts. Such practices seem archaic in the 21st century, as women sculpt their modern shape with surgery, silicon and liposuction.
The wrought iron ‘busk’ personifies the role fashion plays in women’s lives, casting a sinister shadow over the un-constructed natural self, represented here by a simple white tunic.’