The corset is a fashion convention to define the waist and project the bosom. Challenged by nature, reason, and gender rights, the corsetted silhouette remained a persistent aesthetic ideal of the twentieth century. During the 1940s and 1950s, in particular, ideas of femininity were expressed fashion-wise in a cinched waist akin to the corsetted construction of the past, as in this evening gown by Jacques Fath. Despite the anachronistic lacing, this dress reveals its structure like a modernist building. Pink, a color of twentieth-century lingerie, is combined with a traditional lacing in an evening silhouette of the postwar years, here given deeper historical resonance. In 1954, just before his death, Fath returned to the representation of the corset as a means of reationalizing the wasp waist he preferred.
Marking: Jacques Fath Paris
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Extreme Beauty: The Body Transformed," December 4, 2001–March 17, 2002.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Infra-Apparel," April 1, 1993–August 8, 1993.