Corsets That Are Both Form-Fitting & Breathable

By Jessica Beresford
Paris Georgia's Maeve bodice. Photo / Supplied

A cinched waist and the clothing employed to achieve such a feat might be one of the more controversial aspects of fashion design.

Certainly, the corset has had its fair share of accusations levelled at it, deemed both an oppressive tool of the patriarchy by some or too provocative by

And yet, fashion designers can’t help but employ it: from Christian Dior’s New Look silhouette of the 50s, which used the “waspie” girdle to cinch waists, to Vivienne Westwood’s collections in the 70s and 80s, which gave the Victorian undergarment a punkish twist, and the conical bra and corset designed by Jean Paul Gaultier and worn by Madonna during her Blond Ambition tour in 1990.

The corset has appeared on runways for the past few years, but this season reaches a crescendo. And the styles realised by designers today seem to be less concerned with provocation or making women faint and more about styling and nodding to an idealised female form.

At Versace, they accentuated the waists of tonal looks, on slinky dresses and oversized sweaters; Dior’s corsets were rendered in leather and accompanied demure midi skirts; while at Gucci’s show, where designer Alessandro Michele debuted a collaboration with Adidas, they were made to look like sporty armour.

The revival of the garment today is also thanks to the resurgence of trends from the 90s and early aughts, with designers such as London-based KNWLS or local label Paris Georgia referencing these eras.

“We grew up in the 90s, and our collections will often be drawn from that era,” says Paris Georgia co-founder Georgia Cherrie. “The corsetry designs are no different the 90s movement is an integral part of [the brand].”

She points to the Heart singlet, one of the brand’s early styles, which had a bodice-like structure. “It’s been a natural evolution from there, adding boning, binding and working with new fabrications each season.”

That includes the Maeve bodice, rendered in sateen, and the Eliana style, made from a stretch material with boning, which Cherrie suggests pairing “with an oversized trouser”.

Viva Shops

Sumptuous bodices that you can actually breathe in.

For something handmade: Ria Bhogal handmade corset top POA.

For when you feel like dressing up: Zambesi lace corset top $495.

For something shiny: Cue satin corset $275.

Something locally made: Billie Zinzan bodice top $225.


For when you want to wear tweed: Karen Millen tweed bustier approx. $72.

For a corset that’s also a dress: Reformation denim bustier detail dress $345.

For a little more coverage: Aje puff sleeve corset detail top $340.

For a little matchy-matchy: Staud strapless bustier top approx. $320.

For something clean and considered: Sir The Label structured bodice $354.

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