When I was raising money for Random Acts‘ projects in Haiti in 2011, and pledging to make the Peacock Dress in return, I imagined that I would be the maker of the whole outfit, every stitch. However, it’s not going to work out that way, and I’m delighted about that.

Not only because it reduces the workload (hiring Indian specialists to embroider the dress takes about thirty years off, literally) but because the result of any project is so much better when you let go, step back and ask for help from people who know what they’re doing better than you do.

It’s also fun to share the spotlight.


Edwardian style bespoke corset, (c) 2014 Sparklewren Bespoke Corsetry. Used with permission.

Edwardian style bespoke corset, (c) 2014 Sparklewren Bespoke Corsetry. Used with permission.


Last year, when my workload piled up, time was short and something had to give, I hired Sparklewren Bespoke Corsetry to make me an authentic Edwardian corset. It turned out looking amazing, as you can see above, and wonderfully comfortable.

Now, I’m a very competent corsetmaker. I’ve been making corsets for almost twenty years, sometimes professionally, but I don’t make them every day, year in and year out, and I don’t have the equipment that specialist corsetmakers like Jenni have.

Although she studies and learns from original corsets, Jenni’s work tends to be modern in style and interpretative of the past, so it was fun for her to try something authentic. She had so much fun with it, in fact, that she was chomping at the bit to have another go. And since Jenni is undoubtedly a way better corsetmaker than I, who better to make the corset that underpins this whole outfit?


But there is a decision to make, and you can help me. What colour should the corset be? The colourways in our chosen fabric (below) are dizzying, and I’ve seen historic corsets made from many of these. Granted, the Cyclamen is probably more at home in the 1880s, and overall we’re probably looking at one of the paler colours, but other than that I’m open. I like the Vin Santo, Sugared Almond, Dijon, Mauritius, and I’m strangely drawn to the greens…. but what would you pick? I’m opening this decision to the floor.


Savoy silk by James Hare


When the corset is fitted, everything else will fall into place around it, as we’ll see. Butย over the next few weeks, while Jenni takes care of the corsetry,ย  I’ll be working on the other vital element that makes the whole outfit possible.

I’ll be working on it very publicly of course, but keep your eyes peeled, because it won’t be obvious that it has anything whatsoever to do with the Peacock Dress.

All I’m going to say is… screw Kickstarter. I’ve got a better idea. And I hope you’ll help, and share what’s coming like mad with anyone who might be interested so that we can get this dress made… maybe even by next summer!