Lenton's corsets were good in some ways but a disappoint- ment inothers; he did not like to make repairs and rejected our legitimate complaints.
Will had seen an advertisement by a Mme Verneau, whose French name suggested that she might have some new ideas about corsets. He wrote to her, and she answered that she had all the skills necessary to make a wasp-waist corset of any size.
Her address was in Baker Street and they decided to try her. As with every new corset maker, they made an appointment so that Mme Verneau could gain a real appreciation of Ethel's figure and see that it was not a fake.
They took their young daughter with them to Baker Street, but MmeVerneau did not want Will and the daughter present during the fitting, so they went for a walk and returned later. Mme Verneau went into raptures over Ethel's figure and said that no other customer had such a small waist. Ethel expected that Mme Verneau's corsets would be very comfortable, so Will concluded that they were all right, and ordered a pink satin corset, long and high busted, with a 15" (38 cm) waist.
When it arrived, Ethel put it on and Will could easily lace it closed. He thought that at last they had found the right corsetière. Ethel wore the corset for over two weeks under dresses loose at the waist because the weather was warm. When it turned cooler, she put on a more closely fitting dress but they found it impossible to close its waistband. Furthermore, her metal belt did not fit. Will measured Ethel's waist and found it to be 17" (43 cm), not 15" (38 cm) as had been ordered for the corset's size. No wonder that it was so easy to lace closed! Will was furious at having lost 2" (5 cm) of progress. They tried adding a second waist tape to make it 15" (38 cm), but that was not successful, and Ethel never wore that corset again. They replaced it with an old corset with a 15" (38 cm) waist, but it required two weeks before they could lace it closed.
After this fiasco with Mme Verneau, they tried another corset from Lenton. It was made of lovely bronze satin, waist 14½" (37 cm), and short over the hips. Although the material was beautiful, it was again too tight above and below the waist and did not wear well. When Will complained, he was told that 14" (36 cm.) was too small for Ethel to achieve. Therefore he started looking for a new corsetière.
They learned of another corsetiere, Mrs Kayne, who lived in Brighton. She was an interesting person, very outspoken, and claimed to be able to wear a 13" (33 cm) corset and 7" (18 cm) heels. She had published several interesting booklets on the history of the corset and others with photos which told of her experiences while being laced into the 13" (33 cm) corset. One booklet had a photograph that showed her wearing a steel 13" (33 cm) corset cover like those in use at the time of Catherine de Medici.
Will wanted to meet her, but twice she was not at home when Will and Ethel went there. Mrs. Kayne quoted a reasonable price for her corsets, and sent sample materials, so Will mailed her Ethel's measurements and ordered a black satin corset with a 14½" (37 cm) waist. It fitted so well that soon Ethel urged Will to lace it tighter. In a short time she was able to wear it closed from top to bottom all day and all night. It had enough space above and below the waist, a great improvement over Lenton's model. Will could easily span Ethel's slender waist with his hands. She was smaller than she had ever been before.
Copyright © ethelganger.com