The Corset Queen
RECORD WOMAN: The Scot who brought the Victorian bone crusher into the 90s.
Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland); 4/27/1998; Frame, Lorna
Forget the Wonderbra, Lycra knickers and tummy- flattening tights ... the good, old- fashioned CORSET does the work of all three. After more than 100 years, the humble, boned, laced-back undergarment is back in style. And it's all thanks to Scotland's only corset-maker, Emma Nugent.
Emma, 26, started a corset craze three years ago, after her search for suitable underwear for her wedding day drew a blank. She decided to solve the problem by making her own corset. And now her business, , based in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, exports all over the world. But her corsets are a far cry from the Victorian bonecrushers.
Emma said: "I did a lot of research into Victorian and brought them up to the modern day.
"Victorian women were a totally different shape to women today. They were very small- boned and were often put in corsets from very young ages."
Emma makes corsets from size 6 right up to 16, and they come in three different styles. The 1890s version cuts right across the bust and needs something to be worn underneath. The cupped corset is just that - with cups made to measure. And the ribbon corset is almost like a big belt, which pulls your waist in, but is worn over clothes.
Emma said: "I deliberately use non-stretch fabric, so the corset doesn't give.
"And, unlike the Victorians, there is no way I'd ever use whalebone.
"Instead, I use a metal which has plenty of give and doesn't snap, unlike whalebone."
Emma's corsets nip your waist in from one to two inches, al-though the Victorian version took off between six and eight inches.
Emma said: "I've been asked to make corsets for people wanting massive waist reduction, but I refuse to do it.
"It's unhealthy and very unnatural. My corsets basically enhance your existing shape.''
SHE added: "They give the perfect hour-glass figure, and are still very comfortable to wear.
"And, unlike the old style corsets, you can eat while wearing one."
Women buy corsets for every occasion, from a wedding to a night at a trendy club, and they appeal to all ages. Emma's never found anyone who can't wear one. Yet she had never thought of making them until she was planning her wedding outfit.
She said: "I was really frustrated at the poor selection of underwear on offer.
"I wanted something to give me a perfect womanly shape - nipped in at the waist, accentuated hips and a high cleavage.
"There were only bustier's on offer, which just didn't do the job, so I made my own corset.
"After that, everyone wanted one and I started it as a business."
As well as making classic underwear, Emma now makes corsets that are meant to be SEEN. She said: "I either make corsets for under wedding gowns or as part of the gown, worn above the dress
"Since wedding dresses can cost up to pounds 3000, women should be able to get good underwear to go with it.
"If the foundations are wrong, you could spend thousands on an outfit that will look like nothing."
Victorian women wore corsets to keep their morality intact - and bring men to their knees at the same time. Emma added: "I feel that particular theory works just as well in 1998."
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