Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Photos: Where the Dark Art of Custom Corsets Lives On

Posted By on Sat, Dec 13, 2008 at 6:00 AM

By Peter Jamison

click to enlarge corsetuno_thumb_400x533.jpg

This woman wants to sell you a corset.

Autumn Adamme, pictured above, is the owner of Dark Garden, a corset shop on Linden Street in Hayes Valley. These days, corsetry of the kind practiced at Dark Garden is a lost art. In fact, Daphne Merkin, writing in T Magazine, the glossy Sunday style rag of the New York Times, recently lamented the absence of girdles and other forms of ironclad undergarments from lingerie shops in Manhattan.

Adamme, after reading the piece, wrote a letter to the editor. "I just wanted to say, 'You're on the wrong coast,'" she said during an interview at her store. Adamme, 37, has been doing business in Hayes Valley for the past 14 years. Her childhood fascination with period costumes eventually led her to focus on the corset - that monument to coerced curvature which went out of fashion sometime in the early twentieth century, and, by all indications, has not been sorely missed.

click to enlarge corsetprelude_thumb_400x300.jpg

"I was really fascinated that you can sculpt the human body from outside, as well as inside," Adamme said. "If you look at the history of clothing, 'corsets' have moved from the outside to the inside. Now people go to the gym; they sculpt their bodies from the inside."

Not all. Adamme says her store still does business with customers from around the world, selling both ready-to-wear and tailored corsets to everyone from costume hunters to women who want to tighten up around the waist for a high school reunion. Take a look...

click to enlarge corsetquatro_thumb_400x300.jpg

How fetishes are born.

click to enlarge corsettres_thumb_400x533.jpg

Anyone else remember the ghoulish wedding scene from the end of Beetle Juice?

click to enlarge corsetdos_thumb_400x533.jpg


click to enlarge corsetcinco_thumb_400x533.jpg

And naughty. Maybe it is high time for the corset to make a comeback.

  • Pin It

About The Author

Peter Jamison


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"