Cathie Jung

2014

  

 

In September 2014, we visited Bob and Cathie Jung at their home in North Carolina. My husband was honoured to be allowed to take some photographs of Cathie wearing some of her own corsets as well as a couple from our own collection. It was a delight to meet Bob and Cathie on their home territory and they showed us true American hospitality to the extent of hanging the Union Flag outside their apartment.

 

 

I quote from a page on our web-site "The Queens of Tight-Lacing were undoubtedly Ethel Granger and currently Cathie Jung who have both graced the Guinness Book of World Records, however, such attenuation goes beyond the subject matter here." In conversation with Bob however, we realised that we were coming from the same direction in that we both appreciated the female form as controlled or shaped by foundation garments. Bob and Cathie have explored the world of real tight-lacing, whilst our own interest lies in the 1960's style of foundation garment, however, the elegance achieved is well appreciated by both parties and was a central theme of Les Gracieuses Modernes inaugurated by Rudi van Ginkel in 1986.

 

The picture on the right shows Cathie wearing a 20-inch waist Axford's corset (which of course was far too big for her waist) holding up a 26-inch waisted Marks & Spencer girdle from the late 1950's. Both are elegant garments capable of powerful shaping that illustrate both the similarities and differences of our interests.

We enjoyed three days of their excellent company and thoroughly enjoyed a different American experience from most people!

These photographs have been reproduced with the kind permission of Bob and Cathie Jung.

 

 

Bob Jung, apart from enjoying a successful career as an orthopaedic surgeon, is a practical man and his handiwork is evident throughout their apartment. One of his creations is the foam mould of Cathie's torso (left above). There are several of these in existence and they show off Cathie's corsets (this one by Bizarre Design) to excellent effect. In the centre (above) Cathie holds the brass plaque that used to adorn the premises of specialist corset-maker, Diana Medeq. The belt that Cathie wears was a present from Diana.

   

During our visit we took many photographs, however, we like the one above best, where Cathie reclines on a 'fainting couch'. The Guinness certificate is self-explanatory, however, it fails to emphasise that in relation to her height, Cathie's 15 inch waist is as extreme as Ethel Granger's 13 inches, and probably even that of Catherine de Medici (16th Century)

 

 

 

On the left (above), Cathie wears a standard 20-inch corset from Axfords (vintage 1994). It was very easy for her to put on, however, it has a rigid front busk and there was a lot of space between the corset and Cathie's waist that she felt was rather uncomfortable. All Cathie's corsets have a flexible busk so that the corset can follow her waist-line. Our calendar model Victoria wore this corset just a few weeks before Cathie, but in her case there was an unclosed four inches of lacing at the back and she got stuck in the corset! Victoria and two dressers tried to undo the busk and failed and it was only with the help of a rather embarrassed photographer that we managed to get Victoria out of the garment. Cathie, in contrast, simply unhooked the corset with ease and as you can see (above), the corset is fully closed. On the right two pictures, Cathie wears one of our 100 year old Jenyns corsets. The suspenders are far too long belonging as they do to an era of far shorter stockings. We had to be careful lacing Cathie into this 19-inch device since the laces are now quite fragile.

 

 

Farewell to Bob and Cathie - 17th September 2014 after a holiday we will never forget.

 

NOTE:  As a matter of course, all the images that we display are unmodified. Occasionally, as above, we blur out the background (in this case Bob's pick-up in their garage) and add in two of Bob and Cathie's beautiful (and appropriate) pieces of scrimshaw. One thing that certainly needs no computer enhancement is Cathie's amazing waist!

 

 

 

 

Footnote:

 

 

We had two strokes of good fortune in 2014. The first was to meet the charming model, Victoria, a 19-year-old who was enthusiastic to try on the foundation garments of a previous generation. The second was to meet Cathie Jung in person. Cathie was keen to try on some of the collection, but of course nothing that we have could possibly fit her. She kindly modelled our smallest corset, a 20-inch waist Axfords from 1990. Cathie wore it with ease, however, the rigid busk left an uncomfortable gap between Cathie's waist and the corset. Victoria, just one month before had tried on the same corset having felt at home in a 24-inch version. I dressed Victoria and dared not lace the corset fully closed leaving a 4-inch gap at the back. So tight was the corset that my husband was called in to release the busk that was beyond the combined efforts of myself, Victoria and Victoria's mother!!

 

2016

Quite unexpectedly, in August 2016, Cathie phoned us from North Carolina and explained that she and Bob would be coming to Europe in October and would we like her to appear in our calendar. We were honoured indeed and in short order recruited our young model Victoria and two of our favourite amateur models who were keen to appear with Cathie. My husband had the notion that we could recreate the picture above, but for real this time - and so we did!

 

 

We all had immense fun photographing Cathie and the other models in the fantastic setting of a friend's house that has featured in the earlier calendars. We got Cathie to wear a girdle (right), the first she has worn since she started wearing corsets over 40 years ago. Of course, it doesn't even vaguely fit but we managed to take some realistic shots.

 

Cathie at her Victorian best.

 

It was a privilege to work with Cathie.