I know I say this every month, but it’s always true….I’m really excited about this month’s designer interview with Alexis Black, the founder and corsetiere behind Electra Designs. Alexis created my most recent custom corset (which you can see on The Lingerie Addict Facebook Page) and her gorgeous corsetry is literally famous worldwide.
In our interview, Alexis talks about why corsets matter, gives a few tidbits of advice for readers thinking of buying their first custom corset, and shares her favorite design. Want to keep up with Alexis’ latest work? Follow her on LiveJournal, Twitter, or Facebook!
1) How long have you been a corsetiere? Do you have any formal training?
I have been making corsets for over 20 years and have been a professional corsetiere since 1998. I am primarily self taught, however I did learn basic pattern drafting and fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
2) What made you want to be a corsetiere?
Making corsets has always been a passion of mine. I strongly believe that if you do what you love, you can find a way to monetize it. When I worked retail, I found myself constantly day dreaming about making corsets, but by the time I had a day off, I was too exhausted to enjoy sewing. I originally became a corsetiere as a way to justify and finance my hobby of corset-making.
3) Why corsets? And why should people want one?
I love to make corsets because they are so complicated and beautiful. They are the perfect blend of form and function. I enjoy the challenge of engineering a garment that has the ability to reshape the human body, thereby accentuating all of the features we find most beautiful.
A corset, is, in a way, an extension of your body. Most clothing is worn. Corsets become part of you. A well-made, properly fitted corset makes the wearer feel so powerful, sexy, regal, graceful sensuous and confident. Modern, custom corsetry is comfortable, liberating, and extremely sexy.
4) What are your top three pieces of advice for anyone interested in buying a corset?
- Save your money and buy a hand-made piece from someone who takes pride in their work. It’s better to have one quality garment that fits and feels good on than three disposable “corsets” that look bad and feel worse.
- Do your research before you make a purchase. You can learn a lot on the online corset forums.
- Buy only from reputable corsetieres who have a history of excellent communication.
5) In a world of mass production, discount pricing, and one-size-fits-all, what do you think is the role of a luxury item, like a handmade, custom-fitted corset?
Thanks to sites like Etsy, there has been a huge resurgence of hand made-artists and consumers who value high quality, hand made items that are made with love, and are made to last. A well-made corset, if properly cared for, can last many generations. When the landfills are piled high with mass-produced, disposable mall fashion, I can take comfort in the knowledge that my corsets are still being worn and cherished long after I die.
6) Any famous clients?
Several, but I am, unfortunately, unable to disclose their names. Although making corsets for celebrities can be fun, I get a lot more satisfaction from crafting unique garments for people who are often left out, like plus size women and transgender individuals. I revel in knowing that I had a part in helping these beautiful people transform their outside selves to more closely reflect how they see themselves on he inside.
7) Your favorite piece?
My favorite style is the long line underbust corset (pictured above). It does the most to reshape the body while remaining very comfortable and versatile.
Photo Credits (in order of appearance): Adrian Buackmaster, 666 Photography, Adrian Buackmaster, Vara Pappas, 666 Photography. Model (in all photos): Elegy Ellem