18th-century Stay and Meadham Kirchhoff

A “stay” was the word of choice for the understructure later referred to as a corset in the 19th-century. Today, the corset conjures up notions of tight-laced, wasp-waisted hourglass figures, however, the stay of the 18th-century was intended to lift the breasts and straighten the back rather than nip in the waist. The chemise served as a barrier between the wearer and the stay, which was never worn directly against the skin. Making a nod to the stay-over-the-chemise method of underdressing, Meadham Kirchhoff would send what would resemble a woman in her underwear to the 18th-century eye, down the runway for their SS 2014 collection.

Italian Stay c. 1780. (Back View) Housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Meadham Kirchhoff SS 2014

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