This page has only just started, and with a company like Gossard, how does one adequately cover 100 years of glorious history? We thought that these fine images from their catalogues of 1916 and 1920 would be appropriate, since the corsets mark the watershed between the Victorian / Edwardian tight-lacers, and the 'conventional' front-laced corset that lasted well into the 1980's, and still may be purchased today.

Gossard even made the combined brassiere and corset (left) that achieved fame as Spencer's Spenall, but I wonder, which came first ?



1920 corset

1940 girdle

This incredible flight of fancy comes from a Gossard cartoonist in 1940! In fact, in 1950, they excelled themselves once more with an incredible display of models and the factory products. These pictures were available for Gossard corsetieres (to purchase at their own expense). We have used the cartoon above as one of the pages for the 2015 calendar.

It's interesting how the two corselettes (basques or guipures) above speak of the fashions and the times. Both ladies are going to an evening function in strapless gowns. Neither has wide hips, however, the lady on the left will wear a figure hugging design, whereas, the model on the right will wear a skirt 'en bouffant' style.

As with all reputable corset manufacturers, a trained corsetiere or fitter was absolutely essential. 

This heavy satin Gossard comes straight out of the box in 1964. It would be stiff and tight on first wearing, but if well-fitted, it would become as comfortable as a good pair of shoes. A staunch ally, a necessity even, for the older woman to attain a good figure.

Suffice it to say, that we feel the image below sums up so much about the art of the corsetiere and the corset shop where she worked. This is why it once graced the opening page of Ivy Leaf's tribute to the corsetiere.

Interestingly, although the advertisement (1930's) and the actual corset (mid-1950's) are a quarter of a century apart, the style and cut has barely altered, such was the pace of change in those days.

These Gossard advertisements (right) span nearly a decade (1930, 1935 & 1938) and play heavily upon the well-used marketing ploy 'What lies beneath'. What is rather curious, if not down-right amusing is that the high-waisted girdle of 1935 is referred to as 'bosom-high'. By 1938, in a curiously American way, the same girdle is now called 'Buzum-hi'. That's progress for you, if not quite in spelling. It marked the dawn of an era of course spelling.