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Wearable Art: Historical Corsets by Retro Folie

retro folie corset 2a

Sometimes I get so preoccupied with covering trends and fashion items and staying on top of everything lingerie, that I forget it's okay to talk about beautiful things simply because they're beautiful. I found the items in today's blog post through Tumblr, and trust me when I say they left me breathless.

Though I'm not TLA's resident corsetry expert (that honor goes to Marianne), I can admire and appreciate a beautiful corset when I see it. Pattern matching in particular makes me swoon. I don't sew, so I can't speak to hard or how easy that kind of construction technique is, but I know it makes a powerful visual impression. Even the simplest corset, the most basic silhouette, instantly looks more luxurious with that kind of symmetry at the front.

These corsets from Retro Folie (who, full disclosure, I am never bought from before) are gorgeous, and transform an already beautiful garment into a work of art... on multiple levels. I'm no stylist, but I'd love to see an outfit with one of these at the center. Personally, I'm tempted to frame one and put it on my wall.

What are your thoughts on these Art History corsets? And would you wear one?

retro folie corset 2

retro folie corset 4

retro folie corset 4a

retro folie corset 1

retro folie corset 1a

retro folie corset 3b

retro folie corset 3


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Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

8 Comments on this post

  1. Jeny Kennedy says:

    I am a Retro Folie wearer. I’ve been waist training in her Retro Basic underbust which she offers in three shapes and multiple colors of coutil. I choose the Azalea with a 6inch reduction for the coverage and hip spring. Let me say that this corset is hardy and so well fitting that it was hard not to rush the seasoning process. It’s a corset that just begs to be tightened. All her corsets are double boned and have all the bells and whistles of a quality corset. I inspect it before each wearing and it’s as flawless today as it was the day I got it. Julianne was fantastic to do business with as she is kind, patient, and honest. I felt very safe ordering from her because she took the time to TALK to me.

    I would recommend buying the Retro Basic for anyone looking for a strong waist training corset. Unfortunately, I was told by Julianne that her art history corsets aren’t suitable for 23hour/6day waist training as the fabric is delicate and the image could distort but I would think her art history corsets could hold up nicely under considerable wear because her construction methods are so meticulous. Of course I can’t say that they would stand up to waist training but her corsets are so strong I think they would stand up to daily wear. Just maybe not over 8 hours a day. If you’re looking for a waist trainer, get the Retro Basic. If you’re looking for something nice to wear to work or to party in regularly, get an art history corset.

    The best part about her art history corsets? She can replicate ANY painting so long as it’s in the public domain. You can go online and see databases of these paintings by searching for “public domain art”. Different countries have different laws.

    When I last spoke to her in January, she was getting ready to start work on a new line called Retro Antique and had promised to do research on fan lacing for me. I check Etsy often but no Retro Antuque yet. I know you can’t rush art but I’ve been holding my breath for a month now. Anyway, I just wanted to weigh in on this little jem of a corset company. She has something special and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her growing in the next few years.


  2. Meg says:

    I am a Retrofolie customer and I can attest to the superb quality of this designer and artist’s work. Retrofolie created a stunning custom corset made especially for my performance as Columbia in the Rocky Horror Picture Show Halloween Ball. Retrofolie’s corsets provide a nice waist reduction and can withstand movement. On top of that, the lines and choices of fabric are unlike anything else I’ve seen on the market

  3. Thanks for sharing, these are amazing. Love when fashion and art can combine to create something beautiful.

  4. Avigayil says:

    Incredible. I absolutely love the last one with the beautiful cherubs. Amazing work.

  5. Sweets says:

    Holy pants, these are amazing. My jaw dropped. I am so in awe!

  6. Rachel says:

    I’m a beginner sew-er. Pattern matching is a super advanced level sewing skill. Especially on something like this, where boning probably makes it even trickier.

    These are epically beautiful.

  7. KathTea says:

    RetroFolie won the last Foundations Revealed competition so I am pretty sure her work quality is pretty amazing!

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