Corselets

Loy's drawings of corselet
Corselet. Mina Loy Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Bienecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
“Loy was armoring the body not with a purely rigid material’ the Corselet was ‘made of Bands embracing the body’ and was meant in part as preventative…and restorative too” 
                                                                                                         Jessica Burstein , Cold Modernism, 182.

In the 1940’s, Mina Loy drew up designs for a modern take on the corset. At once both an answer to the archaic qualities of the former and a surprisingly early instance of body-conscious marketing, the corselet was imagined to provide corrective measures for a sagging waist and/or “dowagers hump,” as Loy called the upper back hump some experience in old age (Burstein 180).

Envisioned for nightly use by both women and men, the corselet would have “consist[ed] of wedge-shaped cushionettes incorporated with belt and halter of light net” along with a “net girdle” positioned around the bottom of the stomach that “[held] a cushionette in place against the posterior” while another component, the “net halter” “[held] the cushionette in place against the dowager’s hump area.” (Burstein 179).

Another example of Loy’s fascination with the body, the corselet is a true example of her bridging together the artistic and commercial impulse. The goals of the corselet immediately bring to mind, among others, the body-wrap, a modern (highly critiqued) “miracle solution” marketed to women to reduce the appearance of body fat and cellulite. For better or worse, the “joyful satisfaction” of waking up lighter hasn’t left the imaginations of creators and consumers, and probably never will (Burstein 183).

 

woman's torso with body wrap and waist measuring tape
Ultimate Body Wrap. Image Source: Amazon.com.