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Doff your cap to the dream makers
Please be upstanding for the esteemed Katharine Harrison, The Queen of Corsetry
When William Penhaligon travelled from Cornwall to London to seek his fortune, he came not as a reactionary but in the spirit of progress; as a creative craftsman, a pioneer, a dreamer.
Through a journey of discovery and education Penhaligon's champions the fellow dreamers of this world, who dared to dream big and set up shop in our beloved stomping ground, London.
So, without further ado, allow Penhaligon's to introduce you to the first Dream Maker to leap into the limelight. She made the move from The Queen of Watering Places, Brighton to London, cast herself into the world of Corsetry and, with just a few illustrious accolades under the boning of her girdle, she's done a darn good job at it. Breathe in and stand up straight, for the esteemed Katharine Harrison.
Her corsets, which draw inspiration from the 18th and 19th Century, as well as emotions and individuals, have graced the worlds of Film, Theatre and Fashion. Perfumery aside, those are Penhaligon's three favourite, non-alcoholic, things.
“I am fascinated by real clothing of all periods. It is so interesting to hear why and how things were made in a certain way and how that relates to the time period in which they were made and the people who made them, wore them and their stories. I suppose I am most interested in clothing that pre-dates the introduction of the sewing machine in the mid 19th century. I feel a garment is so much more interesting when it has the touch of the hand that made it. There is a poetry that exists also in a finished garment or collection, in the combination of cut, colour, fabrication and finishings, which will hopefully echo the original mood and if kept in the correct balance will create something sublime in its own right.”
“As a child, I really enjoyed drawing and sketching shoes and clothes. I always felt like I wanted to be a fashion designer from quite early on. I started to focus on corset making when I did an internship with a brand called Marchesa. I worked quite closely with the corset maker there, who was making a lot of bespoke pieces for celebrities at that time, and she really inspired me. Constructing a bespoke corset for a client is different because you’re allowing for alterations to be made and you’re really thinking about the customer and their body shape. The process of cutting the pattern, the process of actually constructing the garment, is very different from ready to wear fashion. The design process of a garment is very similar to constructing a perfume. You’re obviously looking at quite a diverse range of inspiration from poetry or the mood or the sense of a place that you might draw inspiration from. You’re trying to capture that and then translate it through your own medium.”
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