Ernest Leoty has its roots in nineteenth century Paris, when Maison Leoty was the city’s most fashionable corset maker. The son of a famous Parisian corset maker himself, Ernest Leoty made his mark being inventing the first modern corset of his era.
While most corsets in vogue at the time constrained the body, Leoty corsets allowed ease of movement. Conscious of the woman’s well-being, Ernest’s corset was light and supple. Their smart cut and elasticity gave women room to breathe. Modern and technical for their time, Leoty corsets did not compromise style.
Leoty understood that wearing something beautiful, even a concealed corset, gave women the confidence to embrace life to the fullest. His invention was so revolutionary that his pieces and his book made its way into world-class museums around the globe.
Leoty’s original corsets can be found in New York City, at the Met. They have two original corsets in their collection, though not currently on view. You can view their pieces online here , and their Costume Institute has hundreds of pieces of vintage corsetry to browse.
Once you’ve exercised your mind in the libraries at The Met, we suggest heading to ultra-exclusive E by Equinox, one of our favorite places for an ultra-focused workout. After, swing by Pressed Juicery for a refuelling and refreshing juice.
Though not currently on display at the V&A, corset enthusiasts can dive deep into the archives and request specific pieces to view from different corset makers, to see how women’s style was revolutionised. We recommend visiting their permanent fashion exhibit, which shows the drastic transformation from centuries ago to modern day fashions.
Make a day of your trip to the V&A, and head to nearby CoreFlex Pilates for an intimate and focused reformer pilates session near South Kensington station. Find your appetite after at Farm Girl Café in Chelsea, for the perfect healthy lunch spread.
We love heading to the Louvre for the ultimate inspiration not only for our pieces, but as it is one of the world’s finest cultural collections. Our founder, Marion Rabate, was searching for inspiration behind what is now Ernest Leoty, when she came across the archives in the Louvre. This was where she found the story of Leoty’s heritage corsetry, and where our story begins to unfold.
These few museums offer amazing insight into how women lived in his time. Available to read as well at the Met and the V&A is Ernest Leoty’s book, Le Corset a Travers les Ages, which discusses corsets of his time, and his opinions and development of his own pieces.
“...certain Parisian corsetry makers have managed to create an object of art of an incomparable flexibility that facilitates the movement of the body instead of impeding it, and gives a purity of line to the woman’s form that enchants and seduces the eye.” — Ernest Leoty, Le Corset a travers les ages.
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