Bustier Corset by Issey Miyake (Autumn/Winter 1980)
The piece is a slightly metallic dark red color with a shiny finish. It is sized for someone with a relatively small waist. The top of the piece features a deep sweetheart neckline and is without sleeves or a back. Just below the cinching of the waist the metal is distorted to appear flared out and slightly pleated. All of the curves in the piece are very smooth. The piece is completely symmetrical and all of its edges are smooth. The garment mimics the natural forms of a woman’s body, depicting things like the naval and nipples, features that would most definitely not show through metal. Even the ribs are shown. The light plays into this piece a great deal, bouncing off of the shiny polymer resin and creating shadows to accentuate the womanly features portrayed.
Immediately upon viewing the object, I was thrust into the visualization of what it would really be like to wear this piece. First and foremost, there is a very small percentage of people in the world whom this would fit, as it is quite small and made of just about the least forgiving material that a garment could be made from. If one were the right size to fit it, it would likely be very cold and uncomfortable. Solid metal is generally a material avoided when creating practical clothing as is constricts movement a great deal and can cause many other issues regarding comfort and mobility. The garment seems as though if one were to not wear it and instead just interact with it, it would be much more enjoyable.
If I could touch this object, I imagine it would be very smooth and cold to the touch. The shine of the object makes me think that whatever finish was put on it would make it feel almost slippery.
I enjoy looking at this object, I think it is thoughtfully composed in such a way that it leads the eye comfortably from one aspect to the next. However there are several questions that come up in my mind about what the existence of this object says about human culture and the sexualisation and objectification of women through fashion.
This distortion and accentuation of the female body plays into an aspect of fashion that has long been present. The female body is often distorted to be closer to the collectively agreed upon beauty ideal of that culture or era. The corset has been an emblem of this paradigm, constricting women’s bodies to dangerous degrees for the sake of fulfilling the beauty standards of the time. This bustier is different in the sense that it both constricts and distorts the female body instead of completely constricting and masking its natural form.
This object is meant to take any body that will fit into it and mold it into the ideal female form, perfectly curved at every angle yet cold to the touch.