IRIS NORRIS:  PHOTOGRAPHS and LETTERS

 

1921-2000

 

 

CORSETIÈRE EXTRAORDINAIRE

 

This was the cover for the funeral service.

 

 

             

Photographs of Iris show her on the left as a young woman, then as the well-corsetted figure with the Cuban-heeled stockings that so many people remember.

 

 

 

In response to a client's request for information on the 'Corset Question' publication, Iris responds (above - these are just a few snippets from a lengthy letter). The picture seen here looks like an informal shot before the official picture that graces the 'Corset Question'.

 

 

   

 

Iris working hard into her old age as she always had done throughout her life.

 

At the end of Appendix III, Iris says in one of her notes, that one corset had "...three flutes a side, with two at  three inch and the third at four inch over the hipbone itself...". In addition to her normal 8-inch reduction in the straight panels, this totals a 28-inch hip-spring. Was this corset for Cathie Jung? Iris certainly did make some corsets for Cathie Jung (below - wearing an Iris Norris mauve satin creation) whose measurements are 39 - 15 - 39; this makes a hip-spring of 24 inches. Another of Iris's creations for Cathie is the black and mauve corset in the middle that resembles one of Cathie's present corsets photographed at her home in 2014 that is also one of Iris's creations. It is good to know that 15 years after Iris's death, her corsets are still being used.

 

 

Cathie and Bob Jung have attended and been guests of honour at many corset balls, no one more so than Les Gracieuses Modernes. The first of these balls was in 1985 and (I think) they finished with the 8th ball in 1992. Iris attended the first four of these balls and writes candidly about the fourth one:

 

 

 

 

 

In her typically chatty style, she describes the problems of sourcing her favourite stockings in between lamenting the 'drunken Scotsman' at the ball and the behaviour ("walking around the way she did") of Jutte van Ginkel.

 

       

 

28, Barnsbury Square in London (it looks the same today), the workshop of A. Gardner where Iris spent so many years (left). 114, Church Green Road, Bletchley, Milton Keynes from where Iris commuted into London.

 

 

 

From a confirmed corset wearer in England

 

We recently received (2015) a photograph from another customer of Iris Norris. These corsets certainly do produce a remarkable waist-line. She comments

 

"I did not corset my figure to be famous, but for my personal pleasure and that of my husband. I purchased corsets from Gardners from 1972 and from Iris Norris after she retired, until this last corset in 1999.
In fact, this photo was offered to a corset site in 2003 and it has appeared elsewhere on the world-wide web. Someone once altered it to be more extreme, and that version has appeared also, but the picture on the right is the original.
I have worn corsets of various designs under my top clothes for over 40 years, but these days, after a serious operation, I wear firm girdles rather than laced corsets."

 

It is heartening to know that there are still women out there who appreciate a firm foundation garment - Ivy