Curious Trends


Victorian style bustles

There’s a definite trend towards all things Victorian at the moment, so I suppose it’s not so extraordinary to see bustles starting to reappear. The bustle was big in the nineteenth century, when it was worn with a corset, to fill out the rump - emphasizing the waist and bottom. The shape of the bustle changed slightly over the latter part of this period, but remained a firm favourite in fashionable circles, as evidenced in artworks, cartoons and historically accurate fashion illustrations from La Mode Illustree.

Some have drawn a link between the shape of the bustle and the exaggerated shapes of South African Khoikoi women, who were exhibited as freak show attractions in nineteenth century Europe. The most famous and widely documented is Sarah Baartman, popularly known as Hottentot Venus, whose controversial story is widely referred to in academic studies and discussions regarding the sexual exploitation of black women. At the time of freak shows and menageries, it was not uncommon for humans of anatomical curiosity to be exhibited, alongside other ethnological exhibits and museum artefacts of scientific interest.

Perhaps our fascination with all things curious explains the current craze for physical enhancement, with significant numbers of women resorting to body altering plastic surgery, or purchasing buttock plumping underwear in efforts to accentuate their 'assets' (see below).

Of course, the curiously fashionable may prefer to look less like a porn star and more like a Victorian lady.



By worm on 16/08/2010 21:29:58

The Hottentot Venus! I think that she was even exhibited as part of a zoo! a very shocking and interesting story.

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