Ivy Leaf's Diary

2009

 

Some additions have been made to Ivy's diary from 2008.

 

January 2009: The Spencerette is dead: Long live the Lightweight Girdle!

I doubt it! Our Spencer contact informed us that the Spencerette girdle has been discontinued. For those that wear traditional girdles, the only alternative is the 'Lightweight', that really does not do the same job, or a corset that does more than many women require. Our friend has worn Spencerettes for years and laments their passing. It was only to be expected however. Consider Spencer's last offering to its corsetieres, a poorly and cheaply reproduced manual. Although the girdle is labelled as figure 80, there's far fewer diagrams than that. The fitter's manual is not even bound, it is held together by a bulldog clip. We reported elsewhere that Spencer discontinued making brassieres many years ago. They lost their patterns as Spencer became part of Remploy, Thamert and other enterprises. The seamstresses had little experience of the complex three dimensionality of the female upper torso. In brief, their brassieres were a poor fit and sales and bosoms collapsed.

Undaunted, our friend has stocked up on enough foundations to "see her out". Again, I doubt it. These long-lasting corsetieres are made of sterner stuff than we know today. She'll probably see us out!

 

 

She was kind enough to loan us her 'Spencer Bible'; the last proper fitting instruction manual issued to their corsetieres. It has 1978 crudely stamped on the fly-leaf, but the text shows that this is the seventeenth edition of their 1952 manual!

 

Regard some images from this manual and let us lament the passing of an era. It is this passing that prompted my husband and I to record as much as possible using the medium of the internet. We certainly have not finished yet and each year brings us new surprises.

 

On the left is the Spencerette, mainstay of Spencer's girdled clients and on the right is the fiendish complexity of the standard measuring garment. Our friend has not used this device for years. Only once have I tried on a similar modelling garment from our collection. It took my husband nearly 30 minutes to get it right in what I called at the time "A triumph of enthusiasm over experience!" I doubt if its kind has been worn for measuring for over  a decade.

 

We always appreciate correspondence, even when, perhaps especially when the reader has discovered a mistake. How else can one learn? We had referred to a French foundation from Scandale that we thought was called restrictions; an odd name for a girdle! Apparently, the name of the girdle is not restrictions. The French advertisement talks about restrictions in the use of rubber during the war. Apologies to Scandale whose garments were the epitome of flexibility. One of their advertisements shows a young lady doing acrobatics in her corselette!

 

 

More Ramblings:

 

Our robust acquaintance from October has become a friend over the past few months. She's had us round for dinner twice now and, of course, we have reciprocated since we enjoy her company. She was delighted with her new Spencer corset and persisted in discussing it during pre-dinner drinks. This embarrassed my husband to such an extent that he vanished into the kitchen to start preparing the meal. (I must use that ploy again!) She had ordered two and hoped that they would last for a good while. Like many of her ilk, it is impossible to guess whether she is well-off or not, but to buy two Spencer corsets is not far off three weeks state pension. I suspect she has independent means! We agreed that the material of the corset (a white artificial satin that Spirella used to call Orchid) provides excellent wear (it's what I have myself), but we lamented the passing of the real satins and the patterned brocades. I showed her a material swathe from Spirella in the 1950's and she pointed out some of her favourites that, I might add, were totally out of character with her tweed and oiled-cotton sensible exterior. I wonder how many frumpy old women (and I'm sure that's what my nieces call me) long to express their innate femininity through their underwear!

 

 

February 2009:

What a quiet start to the year! Little correspondence has arrived and my poor husband has had to travel on business several times, an activity that he loathes more and more as he grows older (and grumpier)! We thought that we might escape the unusually heavy snow that has plagued the south-east, but even in our small West Country village, several inches have fallen. Country folk are not noted for their sartorial splendour and, indeed, with the winter mud upon us, wellies, cords and barbours form a unisexual country uniform. Heels and short skirts are a dangerous waste of elegance (and frankly a waste of style on somebody like myself), but nevertheless, the odd female denizen of our small community will create a stir in the Lounge Bar as she enters. A week ago, a lady of serious 'granny age' entered wearing a micro-skirt over ribbed tights. A jeans jacket covered a barely adequate tank-top and when she sat at the bar, two inches of bare flesh was exposed at her waist. Goodness; when I was young, any granny worth her salt wore heavy corsets, heavy stockings, thick knickers, a vest, a slip, blouse, skirt, jacket, scarf, hat and probably many other garments as well! It probably added two stone to her weight! She would scold us youngsters, who wore barely anything less, that the omission of one of these essential items was to court influenza, arthritis, pneumonia, croup and possibly plague! Of course if one's corset was too tight, you were a moral wanton who would develop varicose veins, if too loose, your back would collapse in middle age, and of course your teeth would fall out in a malicious act of their own just to make old age even more unappealing! In some respects, I envy the granny in the micro-skirt!

We came across a fascinating picture recently and have compared it here to an advertisement from Spirella in the 1950's. On the left is Mrs. average American middle-class woman, dressed for an occasion with the artist, cleverly (and amazingly for the age) depicting what she might wear from Spirella's extensive range beneath her clothes. On the right is Miss Sultry, a model who could almost be attempting to recreate the advertisement from 50 years ago. Yet this outfit is intended for wear to a fashionable occasion! Fascinating if you are a fan of Jean-Paul Gaultier or Madonna! My husband was moved to suggest that at our next dinner party, I wear my bra and corsets with a satin dressing gown. I gave him what used to be called an 'old-fashioned look'. Some things are best left unsaid and others things definitely unseen!

That reminds me of a forthcoming project. You may have noticed on the Contents page that there are some grey titles in italics with no link. This is to remind my husband that we had planned some research on the topic or, at least, to insert some new pictures or thoughts on the subject. The AL Woman is a case in point. 'AL' was what Spirella called 'abdominal large'. Their measuring garments ran from S and M to L (small, medium, large). Extra large women were encased in extended portions of the large garment, however, Spirella felt that the pendulous abdomen needed special support, hence AL.

It isn't that the corsetiere would say to her client "Madam, I see you are abdominally large!", it was simply the method of identifying  the dished front-piece of the measuring garment that would result in a well-fitted corset. Of course these days, the poor fitter would probably have to say "Person, I see you are a deferred abdominally normal person!" Thank you so much to the EU legislators. That must have been a really dull day in Brussels!

 

 

 

March 2009:

 

Good Gracious! The vernal equinox has passed, and not before time after the hardest, coldest spell for many a year. The snowdrops have been out for weeks and the hedgerows are a riot of daffodils, blooming just in time to be harvested by legions of errant offspring who have forgotten Mothers Day. The clocks will change this weekend and subtly, the heart of our local inn will move from the roaring hearth to the beer garden at the back. I can't wait. In cold, icy conditions, I'm always aware that an incautious step could result in a slip or a reactive jerk that would cause havoc with my back, however firm my foundations.

 

This brings me onto a question that we often receive, "What was the best girdle, corset or brassiere ever made?" This is almost unanswerable, much as "What was the best football team?" or "Who was the greatest Inventor?", questions posed by the media when they feel that their audience is becoming jaded with vilifying rogue traders. (My husband added that he is certainly not jaded on that score!) I said almost since I believe, without being so arrogant as to suggest that I know the answer, that the best brassiere ever made, and still in production, is the Triumph Doreen. I love this picture since the lady depicted is certainly unlikely to be a wearer of such a garment, I should add "today", for Italians and German women from the south wore such garments as teenagers right into the late 1960's. As regards girdles and corsets, I fear that any answer will be similar to my husband's reply on being asked about what car he would like. The answer is always some impossible eclectic combination of various brands.

I have always admired the Marks and Spencer satin elastic girdle and its later derivatives. We have at least dozen of these and some will have been through the washing machine hundreds of times. It is only the fading of the label and the permanent set of the waist bones that reveal that these 40 year old garments were once well-worn. We are lucky enough to have a brand new (in 1967) satin elastic girdle still in the box. If it was put into use tomorrow, it would become a collector's item, and in good wearable condition in 2020; half a century after being made!

 

As regular readers know, I have worn a Spirella 305 for years, and when Spirella sold out to Spencer in the late 1980's (in Britain), I've ordered their nearest equivalent since. Personally, I really like the principle of Camp's fan-lacing, but they never made a model that suited my longer than average back. If I had to design the perfect corset, it would be made of Spirella's orchid material, busk-fastened in the front, and fan-laced at the back. The English climate is never likely to permit me to wear anything so insubstantial as to reveal Camp's engineering to the casual observer. Did Ambrose Wilson (right) make the most practical corset?

 

From time to time, we receive those gems of information that make the compilation of this web site so worth while. Frangard has sent a huge volume of material and another correspondent has written about the halcyon days of corsetry and enclosed pictures (one of which - right) of some extraordinarily complex devices that were manufactured as late as the 1970's.

My poor husband exclaimed "I'll have to give up my job to cope with this lot!" He enjoys it of course, but sadly, as has happened to many of our peers, that retirement that we dreamed about and saved for, has, indeed turned into a dream, as the trustees of our nest-egg, and I paraphrase my old school teacher here, "could have done better!" My husband was more forthright! Perhaps my the concept that we aired some years ago may be our salvation. Invest in corset futures!

 

 

April 2009: Double-tightening

 

After an astonishing spell of warm weather, Easter was so-so, but there is hope that Summer may be a scorcher. That is certainly the opinion of our corsetiere friend in the Midlands who wrote one of her informative epistles to us recently. She remains as sharp as a knife even though her writing is a tad spidery. This lady has been with Spencer for more than five decades and gladly corrects our errors of assumption and ignorance. She still fits herself and a few clients each year even though she is over 80! One incorrect assumption that I had made was that a corset is donned in the morning, then laced for the required support, a function that it should maintain all day with the satisfying comfort that a well-fitted pair of shoes affords. Try explaining that to the younger generation. My mistake is at the beginning. As our friend explained:- "It's alright for you! But when corsets were more widely worn, and not just but us oldies, the initial donning and lacing was but a pre-cursor. My auntie would put on her corset and lace it quite tightly. Then she'd put on her housecoat and busy herself around the house for an hour. Only then would she repair to the bedroom and find that another inch could be extracted from her stays. She would then dress and start a daily ritual of chores that would floor a young woman of today. She needed the support of her corsets you see." Apparently double-tightening was used, not just to get the extra inch but to provide the firmest support for back cases. I remember now an Australian lady that I met on a cruise many years back. She was a corsetiere herself and we got to chatting and became good (well shipboard) friends. If you are familiar with Jenyns corsets, you will know that the hip strap has holes that mate up with a sturdy hooks sewn into the corset body. Unlike the Camp, with its infinite adjustability, the Jenyns was adjusted by quanta (my husband's expression here). The lady in question informed me that three holes was for comfort, four for posh and five for a new husband!

 

 

The Vanishing Lady

 

Fate plays tricks on all of us. On my instructions, my husband had prepared a page on the AL Woman (mentioned in March). The lady that helps with our modelling turned up and immediately we could see that she had lost weight. Proudly she demonstrated her new figure, two sizes less than a year ago and, sadly for us but a delight to her, minus the pendulous abdomen that was to star in our article! Instead of a comprehensive photographic session, we repaired to the garden and enjoyed a glass or two of chilled Chardonnay. My husband even offered her a huge chocolate Easter Egg. "Oh how thoughtful!" she gushed. "I'll put on all the weight I've lost." "Yes please" my husband and I replied!

 

 

May 2009: Nothing changes

 

I was amazed to realise that it is a fortnight since my slothful husband updated the web-site. To be fair, he has been very busy at work and I have become involved in a friend's new venture, that is to open a 'ladies shop', if you know what I mean. I am hoping that this venture may prove fruitful. Next weekend, against our usual rule of never venturing onto the roads during a public holiday, we will be visiting our corsetiere friend. This remarkable lady started with Spirella in the early 1950's and still fits for Spencer today; although only a few clients per year now. The days of fitting female members of parliament and diplomats' wives are long gone. She recalls how, in the 1960's, the wife of a senior parliamentarian was distraught by her husband's imminent demise after some scandal or other. Whilst the country held its breath as the shocking revelations unfolded in the press, this lady's primary concern was for herself. "I'll have trouble affording these girdles next year!" she lamented! I wonder if they were claimed for at the tax-payers expense?

 

We have returned from seeing our corsetiere friend. She is quite remarkable for someone approaching their 90's. As is our custom, we enquired how business was going. "Oh, not a patch on the old days. I used to fit half a dozen, even a dozen clients a week in the 60's when we lived in Chiswick." We asked after her present clientele. "I've only got about four ladies left these days" she answered sadly. "Never mind" she brightened "Two of them contacted me last week!" One still still orders the front and back-laced corset that is Spencer's version of the remarkable Spirella 325. We enjoyed an hour chatting to our friend and laughed at some of her recollections. She handed over the last of her samples unceremoniously bundled up in a dustbin liner. This collection (that weighed about 15 kilos I might add) contained bras, girdles and corsets and each one told a story. The slightly worn examples had been returned for repair. The shiny new ones awaited collection by their owners. There was a corset with an extraordinarily large hip-spring, a surgical belt for the mother of a famous celebrity and two brassieres that took my fancy. One was a staggering 50 KK (Spirella never quoted sizes since they were made-to-measure; I compared it to a Triumph Doreen) and one was a 30 AA, yet both were totally feminine and beautifully made. So why were these garments still in the hands of our friend? In most cases, the owners or potential owners were elderly ladies and sadly not all survived to complete the purchase. Our friend was quite practical about it "This is a dying business since the clientele is steadily passing away. Many of my clients are nearly as old as me!"

 

Living in the west country, one of the few downsides is the appalling traffic during any warm weekend in summer. Due to my husband's careful planning, we had managed to visit our friend before the lemming like urge of the Great British to migrate to the coastline. As we drove inland away from the seaside town, we marvelled at mile after mile of cars awaiting their turn to find no parking spaces left! We have recently moved into the 21st century and purchased a satellite navigator that I swear my husband has programmed with all the pubs of Britain. Nevertheless, we did find our favourite pub, we avoided the main roads and enjoyed lunch in the sun. Not only have we embraced modern technology, but so has our friend. She has purchased her first lap-top and is having lessons on how to use the internet! "Well, it's not going to go away is it!" I think this demonstrates the practical approach to life that has stood our friend well for nearly 90 years.

 

 

June 2009: 

 

The summer solstice is upon us and, in contrast to the years few years, it does seem like summer. The temperatures have been warm, the incessant mud on the nearby moors have all but dried out yet there seems to be no shortage of water. The weather has tempted English womanhood to reveal more of their bodies than is strictly necessary or even vaguely aesthetically pleasant. But I cannot complain for these displays come from a generation of people to whom I do not belong. A generation to whom a 'celeb' is a role model and the acquisition of material goods an obsession. Not that my generation didn't have its fair share of jackdaws. I have mentioned elsewhere that on the death of an aged aunt many years ago, her nieces discovered nearly two dozen Spencer corsets worth (in today's money) nearly ₤3,000 or over half the annual old age pension! The old lady in question spent much of her last years on an equally ancient high-backed chair, her corsets precluded any other sort, that rested on a somewhat grubby Persian rug. The chair was consigned to the dump, but the rug fetched a small fortune at auction! If only her relatives had appreciated her eccentric (in their eyes) underwear, the sale of her corsets at auction would have paid for a good family holiday.

 

We found an excellent article on modern foundation garments that we have included under Roger's Rambling's Other Stories.

 

Already, our new piece on the Best Foundations Ever has been challenged and we have discovered a number of women prepared to fight for the Camp camp (sorry). One lone supporter of the Spirellette 105, quite correctly describes it as one of the most powerful panty-girdles ever made, but sadly, its minimal market penetration precludes it from the page.

 

 

July 2009:

England is a curious country. For two years the population has moaned about the dire summers. This year, we've had no rain and temperatures over 30o C (that is 86o F for the Imperialists amongst you). Still not satisfied, the population bemoans the heat and discomfort at night. I must admit, the orchid material (Spirella's popular artificial satin) from which my corsets are made is a little heavy for such temperatures, however, experience tells me that we'll soon be back to cardies and tweeds before long! I do have a few old Spencers constructed from light-weight Aertex material that would be cooler, but regard the picture on the right. The fitter shows the light-weight corset to the client who I'm sure will, as the advertisement claims, lose every bulge. The problem is the transparency of the material compared to the bone casings. I have a morbid dread of my corsets being seen through my clothes and I suspect that however cool and effective that Spencer corset might be, its presence will be detected through a thin dress. Also I just hate the material, so I'll suffer through the hot spell.

 

 

August 2009:

 

From time to time, we make additions to the 'strange names' page of our web-site. What on earth was running through the minds of the marketing department when they conjured up such classics as Le Compressif, Sturdi-flex, Free-mor and Haul in. I was about to include the wonderfully named 'Lipo in a box' in my collection of names, however, I took the time to read the web site and understood exactly what the remarkable Connie Elder was marketing. Connie Elder has come up with a fantastic product and I applaud the fact that more women are taking pride in their figures once again, however, I just love the marketing phrase 'excellent jiggle control.' I know exactly what she means!

Connie Elder's

Lipo-in-a-box.

 

Whilst we are on the subject of catchy phrases, I came across the expression 'Figure Tragedy' from a Spirella advertisement of the 1940's. Oh dear! There are some real figure tragedies walking the streets of England these days. Let us hope that Connie Elder and her peers can exert some influence on the wayward trend of the modern abdomen.

 

 

 

Mid August:  The New Project

 

We must apologise for a lack of recent updates, but a major new project has consumed our time. In addition to this, we still receive regular letters and emails requiring our response and input to the site. My poor husband has been going through a hectic time in his new role as consultant. Semi-retirement to the West Country is fine, but from time to time he has to visit the centres of  what is euphemistically called 'civilisation', and this requires the dreaded 'travel'.

 

Nevertheless, in his free evenings, he has stoically endured groups of women coming to our house to be fitted for garments from the Ivy Leaf Collection prior to a photographic shoot (I believe they call it) somewhere in Southern England. This will form the basis of a calendar. What is quite amazing, is the enthusiasm that these ladies have shown for foundation garments that are to most of them, quite historical. The giggles the ladies enjoy are quite audible to my husband in his study. From time to time he is called to assist or advise. "Are you decent?" he asks and in response to a collective affirmative, he ascends the stairs and proceeds to offer advice, being subsequently banished to his study, somewhat red-faced, whilst another rail of garments are fittted. We hope to bring this project to completion in October. As my husband added, it is always a good marketing ploy to release calendars before the New Year. The company for which he used to work could never produce the in-house diaries before March of the following year! We will not make that mistake since the whole project is designed to raise money for charity.

 

The fitting sessions were most revealing (pun intended) although not for my husband. The group of 12 ladies were amazed at the diversity of the Ivy Leaf Collection. Despite the amateur models' ages spanning five decades (from 30 to 80) none had ever worn a proper foundation other than a brassiere. After some thought, a couple remembered strapless brassieres with evening dresses and another admitted to wearing a 'roll-on' but many, many years ago. The late 70's year old mother of one model remembered a maternity corset with "plenty of adjustment", but on being shown such a garment was at a loss as how to adjust it! Another remembered her mother (born in 1900) being fitted for a corset; "Didn't they all then?"                                                

 

The 20 outfits selected by the models

 Despite this lack of knowledge or experience, virtually all of the ladies loved the reproduction, satin Victorian corsets. Amazingly, most enjoyed the feeling of being 'held in' and loved the effect on their figures. Most wanted to buy a corset of some description, but I doubt if they will in the cold light of day away from the hilarity of the fitting room. It was quite remarkable how a model's face would light up when she found the right garment. What was very surprising to me was that some of the ladies could not be extracted from the fitting room and tried on everything that would fit, and some that wouldn't as well. One lady emerged wearing a Jenyns corset, shortly aferwards she re-appeared in a girdle, then a panty-girdle and long French brassiere. Finally she donned one of my Spirella 325's but wore it back to front. Oddly, this seemed to suit her rather well and she wanted it for the ultimate photographic session!

 

Some of the models look at some

pre-production photographs in the kitchen.

 

 

End of August: 

 

How very unusual! It's the August Bank Holiday and not only does the sun shine, but it's actually hot out there! The work on the calendar progresses. Professional photographers have been engaged, and since the project is for charity, they have given their time for free. All the models have been fitted and the location scouted. It has been hard work but we hope it will be successful. We'll see how the photo shoot goes. If it is as much fun as the fitting sessions, we will be in for a good day!

 

Meanwhile, an echo from the past, in the form of the Ambrose Wilson catalogue arrived by mail this morning. Gone are the pages and pages of intricate corsets, but there is hope yet half way through the catalogue (comment on right).

 

Ambrose Wilson, unusually for a corsetry concern, used much more realistic models than many other companies. The woman on the right, whilst undeniably a pretty model, has what the fitting trade would call 'a modern body'. That is bigger below the waist in proportional to the upper half than was common three decades ago. In years gone by, the 'average' woman was supposed to be a size 14 (36-28-38). This was more realistic than the Hollywood dream of 36-24-36. These days, a size 12 top and a size 16 bottom is not uncommon.

 

This actually proved something of a challenge when fitting our volunteers for the calendar. Like many corsetieres in the past, we found the all-in-one far harder to fit than the separate top and bottom. But I digress. The point I was trying to make, and we found this whilst fitting our models, is that 'real women', whatever size or shape, bring the garments to life in a way that a professional model could never do. The professional can pose, act and smile, but never quite achieve the impression that this would be the garment she might wear every day.

A gentleman with a cheeky grin called GOK WAN has designed a range of 'shapewear' and I must say, they look rather effective. I dislike the name 'shapewear' but it seems to be here to stay so I might as well get used to it. Certainly, the marketing department has had a field day in naming its products and the available shades.

 

 

 

My husband was moved to comment "Darling, I really don't think your bangers need boosting!" I agreed.

 

 

September:  The photo shoot was a great success!

 

 

These photographs will be sold for charity and, therefore, carry a watermark since the photographers, the curators of the Ivy Leaf Collection and the models gave up many hours of their time without charge. The models, by the way, are all members of a local charity and span six decades! All of them enjoyed the elegance of the garments and wore them for the entire length of the photo session including a walk around the garden. It was, fortunately, a warm and sunny day.

 

 

October 2009:

Today sees the launch of the calendar at a county fair. In typical Autumnal style it is pouring, but the weather forecasters predict that it will clear up soon. Better take an umbrella then!

 

The calendar has caused quite a flood of correspondence, not by surface mail you understand, due to the strike, but by email. However, I must congratulate our village post office and postie who are simply carrying on whatever. It's the way of country folk to look after the community. One octogenarian lady who has seen the calendar, told us that she used to wear similar garments when she was a young mother. Although it is now years since she wore a foundation garment, she still carries the ridges where the stocking tops compressed her legs; a legacy of her corseted days! Several commented along the lines of "My granny used to wear something like that!" One of the models, who is obviously far younger than the other ladies, was quite mystified by the various corsets, corselettes and girdles in the collection. In fact, she was unsure as to what was what. However, during the fitting sessions, she was one of the most enthusiastic and tried on a dozen garments just for fun. Indeed, the whole fitting and photographic sessions were remarkable for the camaraderie and witty badinage that flowed throughout the day. My poor husband was quite exhausted after a day of shepherding a dozen ladies hither and thither. At the pub that evening I asked if he was alright. "strogen overload, m'Dear! Nothing that a manly pint of ale can't cure."

 

 

November 2009:

 

I must apologise for our lack of updates recently, but the calendar business has been most time consuming, to the extent that we have nearly sold out. I'm off to a ladies gathering this afternoon and hope to sell the few remaining calendars. It has been a very successful project that has raised ₤1,300 for charity; thank you very much for your support.

 

We actually made a county newspaper and got a mention in the Soroptimists' Magazine. We have apparently just sold out. We considered another print run however the costs would have been prohibitive so we will call it a day and hope that the charity concerned can make best use of the money. The whole project was a eye-opener for all involved and one of the 'models' who owns a lingerie shop has already received orders for foundations garments of a strength not seen in many decades!

 

 

December 2009:

It's that time of year when the approaching winter simply cannot be ignored. My husband shows me what looks like a hurricane approaching the west country and rain lashes the roof of the conservatory. Never mind. We can look forward to Christmas and the New Year, and, if funds allow, a trip to warmer climes in that worst month of all - February. It is that time of year when good humour is required to carry one through the dark days and a small slice of humour was recently sent to us. I have laboured the point in these pages about how advertising in the past was pretty blunt and direct, but this must be one of my favourites. No wonder women went screaming to their Spirella fitters! The psychology is, however, spot on. I recall Pug Henry's wife in Herman Wouk's 'Winds of War' lamenting the fact that her tummy was sticking out like a football "..and I'm wearing my tightest girdle!" she cried. Pug could see no difference from normal, but in the mind of a woman, if your tummy pokes out, even a millimetre, no amount of assurance will convince her that she is anything less than Hippo-like. Well, perhaps not today when the Hippo look is apparently "in", but in days gone by Mrs. Average was convinced that the Dior waist was mandatory, and the corsetieres were waiting in the wings to oblige.

 

 

2009:

The year is nearly over and what a year it has been. Sometimes we think that no new ideas will come our way, but then, often unexpectedly come new offers and challenges, not the least of which was to make a calendar. We have described the fun that this generated amongst the models, all of whom were amateurs ranging in age from late 20's to early 80's. One or two adverse comments came our way about the content, however, the nature of the complaints suggested that the 'offended' had not ever bothered to look at the calendar. We received far more compliments and, the bottom-line really was that we made over 1,800 pounds for charity.

 

We would like to wish all our readers and supporters a

 

Merry Christmas Time

and

a Happy New Year