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Look of the Week: Taylor Russell's dramatic red carpet corset
Featuring the good, the bad and the ugly, 'Look of the Week' is a regular series dedicated to unpacking the most talked about outfit of the last seven days.
At last weekend's premiere of Italian director Luca Guadagnino's new film "Bones and All" during London's BFI Film Festival, actor Taylor Russell cemented herself as one to watch on the red carpet wearing a striking head-to-toe Schiaparelli look and boned corset.
Designed by the label's creative director Daniel Roseberry, the outfit was painstakingly hand-sewn at the brand's atelier in Paris and featured a cropped black jacket with structured shoulders, a boater hat and a drop-waist pencil skirt fastened at the hips by two velvet bows.
The jacket alone took over 150 hours and five fittings to get right, Roseberry told Harper's Bazaar. But the standout piece was the double satin, champagne-colored corset, with its long-line cut drawing the eye to the skirt's V-shaped draping.
Thanks to trends such as "cottagecore" and "regencycore" — which often take fashion cues from 18th- and 19th-century silhouettes — corsets have made an unlikely resurgence in recent years. On TikTok, there are more than 278 million views under hashtag "corsettop," where users make videos styling lace bustiers with jeans, cargo pants or mini skirts.
This season, corsets also have dominated the runways, including Versace's Spring-Summer 2023 collection at Milan Fashion Week and Dior's catwalk show in Paris. At London Fashion Week, Christopher Kane created clear plastic corsets covered with anatomical drawings, while Yuhan Wang fashioned more traditional bodices from lace and chintz fabric. In March, Women's Wear Daily called corsets the definitive fall 2022 trend, of which Russell's red carpet look is further evidence.
According to the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, corsets date back around the 1500s and were originally made from rigid, uncomfortable materials like whalebone and animal horns to mold women's bodies into the idealized hourglass shape.
Among history's most politically charged items of clothing, the restrictive garments have been criticized for symbolizing oppression — though some fashion historians, such as Hilary Davidson, believe the idea that corsetry was a literal instrument of patriarchy to be a myth. "And they put up with it for 400 years?" Davidson said in an interview with Smithosian magazine last year. "Women are not that stupid."
Today, corsets are structurally softer — with boning made with wire or metal, if any at all. The appeal of a corset now is less tied to a desire to cinch the waist to an ideal size and specification, and more about subverting expectations in a number of ways: lingerie as outerwear, mixing masculine tailoring with feminine accessories, pattern-clashing. A quick scroll on TikTok will tell you that Gen Z rarely wears corsets in the traditional sense, pairing them instead with baggy, boyish trousers and oversized fleeces.
In Russell's case, the captivating contrast comes from the angled lines of the jacket's squared shoulders playing off the curved, swooping lines of the pearlescent corset. The effect seemingly offers a glimpse of something intended to remain unseen.
This is not the first time one of Russell's looks has made headlines. During the Venice Film Festival in September, the actor arrived in an emerald green Balenciaga couture look, hot off the runway. Far from your average cocktail dress, the strapless number was like two gowns in one: long and voluminous in the front with a mini skirt reveal at the back. With a penchant for the unconventional, Russell is starting to make a name for herself in the industry — while her onscreen "Bones and All" character has a taste for blood, the actor seems to prefer the flavor of high fashion.
Top image caption: Taylor Russell attends the "Bones & All" premiere during the 66th BFI London Film Festival at The Royal Festival Hall on October 8, 2022 in London, England.