Our sample corset dress has been getting a lot of attention since Ellie from our boutique slipped it on and posted the pictures on Facebook. Here's an explanation of why it's not going in to production.
When I start work on a new collection I have a list of things I want to achieve and at the end I alway have an 'in my dreams' item which we work on once the essentials are out of the way. A corset dress is the ultimate corset and definitely comes under 'in my dreams'.
I've always been a big fan of corset dresses but they are rather impractical. Most off the peg versions are micro minis which you can just about walk and sit in. I wanted to do an elegant knee length version which could be worn for an evening out not just to a fetish club or for a shoot.
The corset dress in the picture was our first attempt. It doesn't have much curve to the waist but I figured we could work on that. Like all corset dresses it has spiral steel boning from bust to hem - and here lies the problem. The fabric and lining make the corset a lot thicker than a skirt and when you try and sit the steel boning bends up over the thighs in an unattractive way. To walk the zip has to be undone completely and the thick skirt is very stiff so doesn't hang nicely.
Our next version had spiral steel boning that finished at the hip, where a normal corset boning would finish. I thought this would solve the problem when sitting, but it didn't, the fabric was so thick it still bunched up. And when I say 'sitting' here I mean 'perched on the end of a barstool', knees at 90 degrees would be impossible! Whilst you might just be able to hobble to a taxi, your boyfriend would have to manhandle you inside like a plank of wood. My idea of an elegant evening corset dress was slipping away: perhaps this is why no one had managed one before?
Several people posted on Facebook that £100 was a very reasonable price, and it is! If we were to put the dress into production it would retail closer to £400 and that's a lot for dress - let alone one you can't sit or walk in. Unfortunately I don't get as much time to design as I'd like and my actual 'sitting down at a machine and sampling' only comprises about 2 months of the year. That means I have to be very decisive about when to call it quits. An WKD item needs to be commercial and affordable enough to appeal to our customer base, and I'm afraid that the corset dress wasn't. This one that got away.
Still looks good though even if I say so myself!