Friday, November 20, 2009

And a Word of Warning

Elizabeth (Sisi), Empress of Austria was rumoured to have an 19" waist - it was the result of rigerous dieting and incredible tight corseting*. And because Sisi was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time other women followed her example. Hours were spent encased in whalebone and stays tightly bound by lacing. It was not unknown for pregnant women to still wear corsets up until a month or less before their "encouchment". Everyone wanted to have that 19" waist.

Back in 1898 Herr Prof. Heinrich Lahmann , an early advocate of diet, exercise and loose clothing as being health improving, looked at those whalebone corsets and the damage they could do. This book that he published in 1898, now in the Museum of German History - shows what they did to the lungs, liver, stomach, intestines and bladder.
The normal placement of major internal organs.
And what happens with a corset.

All in the name of beauty and fashion! Plus ça change, plus c’est pareil! as we say in French.

*It should be noted that Sisi's tight corseting prevented her from realizing she had been stabbed on that fateful day in 1898 when she was assassinated.

20 novembre - I Santi Avventore, Ottavio e Solutore


Anonymous said...

If I get stabbed and don't realize it, pazienza! At least I know how to do it!...So I cramp the liver a little!....any info on breast lifts? -Chris

Anonymous said...

I've had a taste of the corset when wearing costumes which have a lot of boning in them. But to get that small a waist, it must have been painful indeed.


Doralong said...

Historically women have gone to insane and painful lengths in the pursuit of some nebulous idea of beauty. And then came photoshop just to screw with us even more...

sageweb said...

Wow that looks so lesbos are probably the least likely to put ourselves through pain for beauty..they should do a study on why we are like that.


i'll send you a picture of me when i was about 20..i had a 18inch waist. just saying..and no corset.

laurent said...

Same thing with Archduke Ferdinand, he wore a corset under his uniform and when he was shot in 1914 in Sarajevo, at first his bodyguards had no idea he was mortally wounded because there was no blood. The corset prevented the blood from coming out and he died of internal bleeding.

Sisi said...

I have real corsets, and not painfully.
I love them, because I feel more feminim in them:)

Anonymous said...

I've worn corsets for costumes & special occasions, and have reduced my waist by 6 inches without discomfort or feeling faint. (In fact, they were good for my back.) The trick is to have someone lace you up, then re-tighten the laces 10-30 minutes later as your body grows accustomed to the fit.
Not that I've EVER had a small waist, but I had friends whose waists were 18-20 inches naturally, they were just small & fine-boned.