Sparklewren's specialism is couture corsetry... We spend weeks working on each corset, creating luxurious statement pieces.
Over the past few years, we have worked closely with our clients to produce stunning heirloom garments, both corsetry and bridal gowns, which are art pieces in their own rights. Our wish is to be proud of every single design we produce, to create something you feel beautiful in, and to make something that will never exist again.
Our work is a genuine labour of love. Making one-of-a-kind couture corsetry is no easy way to earn a living. And yet, many corsetmakers like myself and Holly (my assistant) do it. Because we adore creating something new. Bringing together elements in a way that has never existed before. The work is a personal expression of aesthetic and it seems to me, at least, that pursuing something to its height, just because you can, is a decent way to spend a life.
During 2017, we are focussing on two small corsetry projects. Moths and Butterflies. We are not accepting bespoke orders during this time.
The Moths are my own flight of fancy and will not be for immediate sale. I have sewn around 14 or so couture corsets in pale and earthy shades of silk duchesse. I have gathered up assorted freshwater pearls, couture laces, seed beads, gemstones, feathers, mother-of-pearl, crystals and so on, and built a purposeful little corsetry nook on my narrowboat home. This nook is made of undulating wooden shelves, each full to bursting with glass jars of embellishment options. The Moths are my creative playtime, a return to making work in the way that produces the best results: freely.
Sharing space in that corsetry nook are embellishment options for my second 2017 project. My Butterflies. We have prepared 12 silk corsets for this project (which will be listed for sale, one per month) and their theme is boldness. Whether that be of colour, silhouette, line, or embellishment. Amongst our butterflies are ruby reds, vibrant pinks, watery tones, and blinding golds. Some will be riots of colour, others will be classic pieces embellished with black symmetric lace and beading.
With both projects, I hope to indulge in some creative photography before letting the corsets fly away, hopefully using them as an opportunity to get out on location more often.
We may resume bespoke work in 2018 and beyond, but cannot say at this stage. There is no obligation in getting in touch as we cannot currently plan that far in advance, but we'd love to throw some ideas around with you to get the ball rolling at any rate: firstname.lastname@example.org. Bespoke corsetry ranges from £600 - £1500 for underbusts and from £1500 to £3900 for overbusts. Opulent gowns (for bridal or otherwise) range from £4500 to £13,000.
But for now, I want to focus on the particular corsetry niche that I feel I can contribute to best. Fantastic couture.
Please note, as we now work from home our corsets are embellished in an environment that includes a short-haired cat and a coal fire! I also volunteer with horses at a charity stables each week. Items are stored and worked on cleanly, of course, but do keep this in mind in case of allergies, etc.
I should also add, if you need something bespoke during 2017, we would heartily recommend contacting our assistant and friend Holly Rafaela. Holly creates highly ornate corsetry with strong aesthetic, and her own brand is going from strength to strength.
Meanwhile, accepting interns and students will be hard whilst working from my boat. Indeed, we are uncertain about whether we can accept them during 2017. We could perhaps do the odd day here and there, but we probably couldn't offer more than that. For private tuition, we don't have many facilities on the boat, but could possibly do occasional 2hr patterning slots or general trouble-shooting/brain-storming, so please do get in touch if you need something like that.
Otherwise, for those needing more focused attention, we can recommend a number of teachers here.
Our clients tell us that wearing and owning their Sparklewren corsetry makes them feel special, feminine, and as though they hold a beautiful secret.
The following are examples of our best work. We will not replicate existing designs, though we have recurrent themes and materials, and a strong aesthetic identity. Guide prices are given, although as noted we are not accepting bespoke commissions this year.
Bloom was an absolute treasure. In deep rose and ruby tones, this corset was born from our first curated corsetry collection. Curated collections allows us to explore an existing aesthetic with you and with this corset we created something vibrant and personal for our client's 50th birthday. The blossoms corsets are amongst our absolute favourites. "Bloom" guide price: £1998.
Falling Blossoms was the corset that launched our first ever curated corsetry collection. Curated collections allows us to explore an existing aesthetic with you and with this style we focussed on something intensely femme and romantic. The blossoms corsets are amongst our absolute favourites. "Falling Blossoms" guide price: £1998.
This beautiful piece was about rebirth, self-creation, and transformation. Our client gave us colours, images, and ideas to interpret, and we worked closely together to make something that reflected both Sparklewren and her innermost thoughts. "Scarab" guide price: £2600.
Created as the starting point for our Where Angels curated corsetry collection, this verdigris duchess corset was dripping in fool's gold and encrusted with gold lace. Cut with a flattering flattened front and Tudor-inspired lines, this lovely piece ended up finding its home with our friend Glo at InaGlo Photography (middle photo). The symmetry of this design creates grandeur and drama, though it is the sort of nonchalant couture piece that can be styled with jeans and a leather jacket very nicely indeed. "Pyrite" guide price: £2600.
Part of the Where Angels inspiration, Unicorn was created to be grand, almost heraldic. Pure fairytale couture. Fool's gold, duchess, lace, crystal and shell are all combined in a piece that celebrates the wearer. "Unicorn" guide price: £3000.
An example of our sometimes wild and surprising stylistic clashes. Leopard-print silk satin is adorned with softly pink and silver lace, pearls and spikes. Dramatic lines complete the look, making this a bold design perfect for fearless creatures. "Sugared Leopard" guide price: £1800.
Rich cranberry silk satin flows in this fully-boned corset, embellished with black antique lace and sparse flossing motifs of black silk twist. The bust rises and plunges for elegance and drama, whilst the curves of the low hip complete the sense of flow. This corset was created for popular corset collector and youtube sensation Lucy (Bishonenrancher). "Butterfly" guide price: £1450.
Black silk duchess is symmetrically embellished with corded lace, beads, sequins, and crystals. A cupped bust and flowing hip-line convey simple elegance, whilst numerous steels provide smooth and sleek support. Created for an international client, Carbon is a classic beauty. "Carbon" guide price: £2350.
First image by InaGlo Photography, 2013, featuring Leah Axl. Second image by Katelizabeth Photography. Pale silk duchess creates a sleek and feminine base for a wealth of tactile embellishment. Vintage-pink couture lace is layered above leopard-print silk chiffon, whilst degradé finish silk organza "lichen" is applied by hand with freshwater pearls and large Swarovski crystals to finish. "Strawberry Leopard" guide price: £1700. Add a skirt and change the colourway to transform this into a perfect bridal ensemble.
The gloss of duchess satin is offset by the hard sparkle of crystals and soft caress of ostrich feather. Layered couture laces in silvery taupe, muted vintage pink and soft white enhance the surface for a visually delightful and tactile corset. Perfect for bridal or special occasions. "Platinum" guide price: £2160.
POPPIES & PEARLS
A corseted gown and capelet of silk duchess with pearls, lace, tulle, feathers, and hand-quilting. Utterly delicious and made with a client who was highly inspired by haute couture. An absolute joy to work on. "Poppies & Pearls" guide price: £6000.
Professional images above shows Elle photographed by Robert Mosbach, 2014. The Tjarn corset was created for a wonderful client in Sweden. Fully-boned with fine steel, Tjarn was made of Charcoal silk duchess with a conical busk and dramatic shape. The satin surface was roughened using a wire brush and washed with silk paints in black and green, to give a textural and inky effect. Black and black/gold couture laces were layered together, with a touch of green silk organza at certain points to boost the sense of watery colour. Tiny beads in clear-green and opaque pewter are scattered across the lace, catching the light in a subtle manner. The overall effect is one of looking into dark deep waters to see shadowy outlines of shifting weeds. "Tjarn" guide price: £950.
Commissioned by a friend (Karolina Laskowska, lingerie designer), the Moth corset is heavily embellished in a symmetrical fashion reminiscent of the patterning on moth's wings. Black and pale pink laces, black silk chiffon, grey leopard-print scarf silk, freshwater pearls, metal spikes in black and silver, and large Swarovskis in "Sapphire", are layered upon a Birds Wing corset of black and grey leopard silk damask. "Moth" guide price: £1950.