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Monday
May112009

A Black Belt in Corsetry

Image used with kind permission from Seedhouse / Peter Soronen

Last week, Mrs. O attended Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" gala in New York, wearing a Michael Kors gown and corset belt by Peter Soronen.

While photographs highlighted the delicate folds of the front of the corset belt, little was revealed about the back. We're delighted to feature both views of the exquisite belt here; and indeed, the back view is quite telling. Many of you will recall that the waist-cinching lace-up detail is similar to the striking red corset gown, also by Peter Soronen, worn by the First Lady for the Alfalfa Club dinner in February.

Corsetry is a trademark of Peter Soronen's designs. In late March, he told the The National of his inspiration: "When I was a kid, I liked the silver-screen films and the characters' costumes were inspirational to me, especially in films such as Gaslight with Ingrid Bergman, and also Gone with the Wind. I was fascinated with watching period films, and saw the level of care and craftsmanship of the costumes, and what the corsets worn did to the overall look. So, I just had to make one, and tried to get girlfriends to wear them. They loved the pieces and I began to alter the patterns to fit the modern woman."

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Reader Comments (167)

ooh thanks for finding this, it's absolutely beautiful.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered Commentermoja31

Wow Mrs. T, you are truly amazing. I love coming to this site particularly because of pieces you do like this. You always get great exclusive information. Keep up the good work.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterAri

Thank you, Mrs. T! Very interesting.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterInHerFashion

I decided from now on before I start off speaking about Mrs. O's fashion sense I would address her acts and deeds.
Today five U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq by a fellow soldier. We know Mrs. O is passionate about military families. Today I'll talk about Ginny Luther, a mother who also lost her son at the hands of a fellow soldier and her desire to meet Michelle O. She made a video log of her heartbreaking story and talks about Mrs.O:

youtube(dot)com/watch?v=n4jjM-tkJWI

P.S. I love the corset.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoane

Dress up or dress down, the corset belt is versatile. Love it! Thanks, Mrs.T!

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterjayj

Joane, I'm not 100% sure what your multiple postings on various threads are aiming at accomplishing - do you think Mrs. O reads this blog and so you will influence her to see these people in the military? I think it highly unlikely that Michelle spends any time on the Internet, she is too busy. Just imho, I come here to take a break from horrible news.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterjoye

Any idea, anyone, how the Michael Kors dress looks like sans corset belt?

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterMJMR

I agree with joye. I am well aware of the problems that plague our society and important current events in politics etc., so it kind of bothers me when the threads on this site get so heavy and serious. There are other media outlets and forums available to talk about these issues, I just don't want to do it here. Sometimes it's ok to take a break from doom and gloom for a minute and focus on lighter things.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterAri

This corset was such an inspired choice. I think the Michael Kors dress, with that striking square neckline, was already very beautiful, but the corset just elevated it to another level. And actually, as someone else had pointed out in that thread, it's really cute that Mrs. O is so determined to wear a "belt" at the waist that she's like singlehandedly bringing back the corset!

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

I thought it was insightful and demonstrates the power of Michelle's reach. No I don't think Michelle is reading this blog, I'm not crazy. I rather have something positive to add rather than some of the back and forth arguments that happens here. If thats not your cup of tea so be it. Skip it.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoane

Joane, I don't see anything wrong with you bringing up our service men and women who have had their lives taken, I think the other bloggers are just saying maybe this is the wrong site to add that information.
It is rather said what happened today with the soldier not only taking his life but the life of his fellow soldiers

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicole

I understand. Yeah, it was unfortunate. I added it on this blog because so often serious subjects are addressed such as Michelle's serving as a role model to AA community, presenting a positive image for young girls, embracing her body image. I thought people would appreciate her work with military families and knowing that it resonates with them. Maybe not. I'm always tempted to talk about the woman wearing the clothes. I see that it ruffles some peoples feathers. Not intended.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoane

Joane,
I do not see the point in posting that news story here. You say that "before . . . speaking about Mrs. O’s fashion sense" you want to "address her acts and deeds". Exactly how does your comment do that? Are you suggesting that she is somehow responsible for this sad event? That "her acts and deeds" influenced it?

Because your post sure reads that way.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterHyde Parker

Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but NYMag has just posted an article saying that Ikram ordered Mrs. O a WHITE MARGIELA TUXEDO.

This could be amazing.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterMr. S

I was talking about her work with military families and her outreach to them and how it resonates with them. I think they find comfort in her being a voice for their struggles. I didn't mean to make that confusing. Sorry if I making a mess of this whole thing.
OK so um, everybody just skip my previous comment. I was just trying to share something positive but I guess its causing confusion and chaos. Didn't mean to.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoane

Okay I don't think thats what Joane was suggesting, I think she was just speaking of something that happened in the military which is a cause close to, Mrs. O. can we all just get along and move on from this and discuss other things, Im sure, Mrs. O, would not like this at all.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Actually, I think Joane was trying to talk about a topic that is important to Mrs. O, as a tribute to her. I'm definitely ALL for staying on topic, of course, but Joane obviously meant not harm.

But back to the corset!!!! I'm really not that familiar with Peter Soronen, other than the times Mrs. O has worn his clothes. I was just browsing his site and his clothes are AMAZING. One of the dresses in his fall/winter 2009 line has a similar silhouette, including the corset top, to the red dress worn to the Alfalfa dinner. The model is wearing it in black, and I can't see the back of it though. I hope someday we get a better picture of that red dress!! It's kind of tragic that we missed seeing such a dramatic look by Mrs. O.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

A white Tuxedo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY! That really would be amazing! We all now how cool she looks in that Steve McQueen pinstriped suit, and this would be exponentially cooler.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

I didn't really care for the back of the red dress worn at the Alfalfa dinner but maybe if I see a front pic, I would like it. I love when she wears softer or lighter colors, like the J. Crew sweater & pincle skirt ensemble when meeting with the Browns in London or the pink/fuschia dress to the WH Corr. Dinner (she owed that pink), of course, she can wear black as well.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Thank you Mrs T. It was difficult in some of the pictures to really see the corset. I wondered how it would look from the back. Excellent find!

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterDonna No Shock

Thanks Mrs. S for the heads up about the tux.
I notice that Mrs. O and Ikram often focus on designers that also artists. Saunders, Margiela, Toledo, Watanabe, Saccai, Alaia and some of the other designers she wears have a really open minded and unconventional approach to their designs which is why I think many of them enjoy running as a small business and don't even take out advertising campaigns for magazines or give interviews that often. Their not really after fame, they just want to be recognized for quality work. I think it's great that Mrs.O and Ikram appreciate that when we live in a world where everybody and their mama wants to have a fashion line.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterAri

I need this desperately. Wouldn't it look gorgeous wrapped around a white men's shirt? It would provide a little shape and glamour to an otherwise bland ensemble. Love it!

http://cafefashionista.blogspot.com

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterCafe Fashionista

Speaking of NY Mag, by the way, in case any of you haven't seen it, they have this great "look book" cataloging every one of Mrs. O's looks worn in public since the Inauguration. It's actually really interesting to look back at some of the more underrated dresses she has worn in the past. Like now I am dying to see that blue Proenza Schouler dress from February be "recycled".

nymag (DOT) com/daily/fashion/2009/04/michelle_obama_slideshow (DOT) html#

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

aw, that was unfortunate. totally see where you were coming from, joane.:)

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterrachel

I agree, I get what Joane was trying to do, and I'm sorry it missed folks, or rubbed them the wrong way. I hope you continue to post substantive issues that are close to Mrs. O, or directly related to something she's doing because it could provide some balance, as well as spark interesting conversation that isn't centered around her tummy or whatever we tend to veer off that's similarly superficial.

Anywho - on to this corset, which I absolutely WANT! I guess this is my next Mrs. O inspired purchase.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterIVA

It's very cool that we know Michelle is getting a white tuxedo - now when she appears in it we are already savvy!

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterBevi

Donatella Versace did a nice blog post for The Huffington Post today about the White House Correspondents Dinner. Her take on the atmosphere this year in comparison to last year is pretty interesting.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donatella-versace/white-house-correspondent_b_201456.html

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterAri
Monday, May 11, 2009 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterBevi

I wonder what Mrs. Obama will wear with the tuxedo. She likes very pretty, feminine, cute things and a tux is tricky to pull-off: you can look a bit harsh. Wonder when she will wear a white tux?

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMJMR

Bevi, THANK you for that link. I think I was thinking of this white tux as being maybe campy and costumy. But those pieces are just straight-up gorgeous! This is not like some Halloween costume. It's a classy interpretation of menswear. And she sure has the height to pull it off.

So I think this will be like a beautiful white suit, maybe with her hair curly like it was for the Stevie Wonder event, and then a bold piece of statement jewelry pinned to the lapel, and black pumps.

Sounds really awesome! I look forward to seeing this.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

That piece by Donatella was really sweet. It seemed like she had a lovely time and is really taken by the Obamas.

I know there will come a time where we get disappointed by something Obama does (maybe some are already there), or the sheen wears off and we just get used to him, but for now, I'm savoring the energy and positivity this family and the administration is bringing to our country. Every time I see Cheney being interviewed lately, I go back to the doldrums that our country was in for a good part of Bush's presidency. He just comes across so negative. We know things are bad and we're in tough times, but our leaders don't have to wear the difficulties on their sleeves. We really needed this fresh air.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterIVA

I never even heard of a corset belt before Michelle. This is what makes her so exciting to watch. Her interests in fashion are so varied, and she's got the height and body to get away with things many of us couldn't dream of. I like her showing off her mid-section with the various corseted things she's worn - the red dress, the lace-up blouse, and this. I even like that she can get away with the fussy, feminine things. I enjoy them on her. I enjoy other styles she wears, too.

I've often thought that Michelle uses belts to break up the very long mass of color from neckline to knee or ankle when she wears a solid color without a belt. The first time this mass of color nearly knocked me out was during the campaign when she wore an orange dress without a belt, a pin, or anything. (She wore a single strand of pearls, which IMHO didn't provide enough punch or contrast.) I was thrilled when she added a belt to the violet dress (I'm sorry, but I don't seem to have the knack to get the names of designers attached to the various dresses like some of you do) that was such a big hit with everyone on the night Obama won the nomination.

Watching Michelle is greatly entertaining. Much of her stuff works for me, some of it doesn't. But I respect her taste and her right to choose whatever suits her fancy. The fun she's having surely seems to be lifting the mood of the country.

Michelle has some serious issues she is championing, and we need to pay attention to those. But, as with her diet where breaks her usual discipline by regularly enjoying a good burger, she likes mixing the serious with the light-hearted. What a good example of balance -- an elusive thing this Libra (me) is always striving for... (smile)

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterWillow

Mrs. T, I have to say I'm envious of you! I was just sitting at my desk at work daydreaming about how wonderful it would be to FUNTASTIC job following MO's fashion/style. She never disappoints! You don't either. Keep up the good work.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterLande007

A versatile belt that must be had!

Reminds me of a runway leather version done years ago by Max Azria...

Thanks for doing all the hard work Mrs T.!

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterAudrey

I was so hoping to find out more about the belt! I checked out Peter Soronen’s website earlier, but couldn't find anything. Now, the real question is who carries it. . .

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterELJay

Greta van Susteren had on a tuxedo jacket at the Correspondent's Dinner and it looked like she forgot button her shirt and to put on her black bow tie.
http://d.yimg.com/a/p/rids/20090510/i/r1796163960.jpg

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeah D

Many of us commented on Saturday night that Alicia Keyes was the best looking person on the Red Carpet Arrival at the WHCD. She was wearing Narcisco Rodriguez from the Spring 2009 collection:

http://nymag.com/daily/fashion/2009/05/white_house_correspondents_din.html#photo=1

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 5:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterDonna No Shock

All I can say it that I am thrilled that we have a First Lady that is young enough and stylish enough to wear corsets and black leather motorcycle boots!

I've seen a photo of President Obama before with a black leather jacket - hopefully next fall/winter Michelle will pull one out of her closet too.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 5:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeah D

@ Leah D - and it looks like she's going to rock a tuxedo at some point in the future too.

Talk about versatile - corsets, motorcycle boots, flowy skirts and preppy caridgans. Love it.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 5:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterIVA

So many folks were saying Mrs. O's Time 100 gown was navy blue, but folks said it was an Alaia, too. I think both pieces were black.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I love this piece. It's so skillfully made and beautifully tailored. I also love the fact that Mrs. O understands her best features; ie her cheekbones, strong jawline, toned arms and petite waist. I also love the fact that Mrs. O has real American woman hips but makes it all work so beautifully. I foresee a change in the way that working American women view themselves going forward. Thank you Mrs. O.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterStrong

The "tuxedo" is a double-breasted white jacket shown on the runway model here:

http://images.nymag.com/fashion/fashionshows/2009/spring/main/europe/womenrunway/martinmargiela/images/3.jpg

I imagine Mrs. O has also ordered a pair of trousers to go with the jacket.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeeGee

Tomorrow...

Tuesday

The Obamas host a poetry jam in the East Room to celebrate poetry, music and the spoken word.

and

2:45pm Michelle Obama visits Corporation for National and Community Service.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeah D

This is a fun read:

www(dot)nymag(dot)com/daily/fashion/2009/05/glamour_magazine_snubs_michell(dot)html

Glamour thinks Ann Hathaway is more glamourous than the First Lady.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterIVA

Hey Leah D, have you found any reference of the poetry slam being televised, or there being a way to watch it on the internet?

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterIVA

IVA, I totally agree!!!! Its so refreshing, no stuffy suits or big bulky gowns with long sleeves and sequins!

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicole

I so wish I had the figure to carry this corset off! I loved it with the Michael Kors dress.

HuffingtonPost has a piece on the President and whether or not he made a fashion faux pas by not wearing a bow tie to a black tie event. What do you guys think?

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 6:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrook

Glamour, with all respect to Kate Winslet, #1?? What are they thinking? I do understand Anne Hathaway, because she always look fabulous, and she's had a tough time lately with her boyfriend turning out to be a rat.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered Commentertrudy

I did find it rather odd that he had on a tie and not a bow tie..I thought he looked good though

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicole

I've seen men wearing long ties with tuxedos for several years now, you can always see a handful of men making that choice during the Academy Awards. So no, it's not a fashion faux pas.

A real fashion faux pas probably was wearing that white bow tie during the Inaugural balls when he was not wearing a dress coat with tails, but who cares.

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

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