VFW - Lace Embrace Atelier

Photography by Wayne Mah - http://www.staticpixel.com/.

"Cultivate your curves - they may be dangerous, 

but they won't be avoided." - Mae West

There were several wonderful additions to the Vancouver Fashion Week line-up this year and one of my favourites was Lace Embrace Atelier.  I cannot remember how I heard about Melanie Talkington, the talented designer who creates these beautiful corsets, but she is still high on my list of interviews I want to do - I'm just looking for the right publication. 

I vividly remember the day I took my daughter to her store.  Miss D. grew very tall very quickly, so had that long lean look that led her to do some freelance modelling.  BUT, when she quit growing 4 inches a year, she gained a bone structure to suit her 6 foot height.  While she looked lean by street standards, she no longer had the super narrow skeleton required to fit a size 0, and at her height, I am glad.  However, she increasingly found it difficult to look at back stage photos from the fashion shows she walked in because in comparison to the other girls, she looked different.

Entering the boutique is like walking into a candy store for women and we both were entranced.  While she did try on a few different styles of corsets, for this first purchase we settled on the most versatile option - a waist cincher in black.  The waist cincher goes from just under the bust to the high hip.  It can be worn over lingerie as shown in the first photo at the top, over a dress, a wide variety of blouses combined with skirt/pant/legging or even with an amazing lace bra and panty for a super sexy look.

Designer Melanie Talkington on the runway at VFW
Miss D. turned to the mirror and smiled.  All I could say is, "Do you really wannt to look like an androgynous model or do you want to look like THIS!"  Her face said it all.  The only downside is she has had to use a bit of discretion at times in where she wears it. Even if just paired with a print halter top and pair of skinny jeans, the attention she gets while wearing her waist cincher is pretty incredible.

Talkington is a fashion design graduate who's early interest in corsets led her to amass rare texts on historical corsets and construction methods.  She also has an amazing collection of antique corsets.  To preserve their delicate nature, these are never worn.  Instead, she has created precise patterns for these beautiful Victoria, Edwardian and 18th century antique corsets.  "I create reproductions of corsets that can withstand wear and allow people to have fun and feel beautiful." Her antique corset collection was featured at the Delta Museum in 2002 and the Vancouver Museum in 2003. 

Talkington started LEA in 1998 and opened Lace Embrace Atelier in 2008.  "We love to lace women into our corsets and let them see themselves in a new light, find they are comfortable and experience the goddess within."   This designer is a favourite among true corset aficionados such as Dita von Teese, the Queen of Burlesque, and Cathie Jung, Guiness world record holder for the smallest waist.  Taking notice of her growing international status, Tyra Banks recently invited her to be interviewed on the show and she was commissioned to create the unique corsets seen in Sucker Punch, the movie just released by Warner Brothers.

What I love about Talkington's corset designs is that she not only supports the history of corsetry, but brings new and innovative designs to the table.  At Vancouver Fashion Week we saw corset dresses, striking patterns such as the black and white ensemble shown above - middle photo.  Another surprise was the black leather version with hoodie and long tails in back. This unusual leather creation as well as the stunning gold sequins corset are exact replicas of ones you see in Sucker Punch.

Lace Embrace's runway presentation included lots of Vegas style sparkle and showmanship.  The opening sequence set the tone when a model in a beautiful Patricia Fieldwalker silk gown sashayed down the runway followed by male model dressed to the nines.  He proceeded to intimately help her don her corset.  How do you follow that?  With models that could hold their own.  A bit of sex, sass, fun and flirtatiousness kept us all entranced. 

I can't tell you how many times over the next few days I was approached about these corsets and where to find them, but I wasn't surprised.  Corsets are no longer limited to the specialty market, but have stepped out of the shadows as a major addition to the fashion scene.  They are in celebration of women's curves - a return to an aesthetic that embraces all that is wonderful about the female figure.  They definitely made an impact on the guests and were an up beat and enjoyable way to open fashion week.

I hope Lace Embrace Atelier will be back next season - I'll be front row and centre.  In the meantime, a trip by Lace Embrace Atelier might be in order - this time for me.  Also, keep your eyes open for details on an upcoming June 19th event.  High Tea at the Hycroft will feature a historical fashion show and display as well as offerings by Ayala Perfumeries and Coco Nymph Chocolatiere. All proceeds to benefit the building of an Antique Corset Museum.

For more information please go to http://www.laceembrace.com/ or pop by the Vancouver store at 219 E. 16th (just east of Main St.)