Friday, April 17, 2015

How to Break In a Dark Garden Corset

We often equate corset shopping to shoe shopping. Like shoes, if you only have one corset that you wear everyday, it will wear out more quickly. And like new shoes, your corset might need a little bit of time to break in and mold to your body. If you're wondering how long this process should take and how you should do it, this is the article for you! Much of this information is aimed at waist trainers, but even if you're just wearing your corset for a special occasion like a wedding you may have wondered about breaking in your new corset.

Proprietress Autumn Adamme
Dark Garden Bespoke "Sweetheart" Corset
Photo © Perry Gallagher
Our proprietress, Autumn Adamme, has been making corsets for over 25 years, and, having grown up in a historic costuming community, has been wearing them for over 30. You can see she has a lot of experience to draw on when designing the construction, fit, and wear of our handmade beauties!

Your new Dark Garden corset should fit you well from the get-go. Don't worry about "seasoning" your new corset, be it Ready-to-Wear, Personalized Made-to-Order, or Bespoke, to make it fit. Your new corset should lace to a gap of 2-3", with the ribs and hips just flush against the sides of your body, and a comfortable compression at the waist. If you are "seasoning" your corset with only the waist actually touching your body, you may as well just be wearing a belt! Part of the reason to train with a corset instead of a belt is that you support your guts while you make your waist more pliable.
If you train too far without this support for your belly, you will encourage that below the waist bulge that very few people like. Additionally, wearing your corsets with a too-wide gap strains the bones at the back of the corset and can cause them to twist in their channels or warp the fabric.

Dark Garden "Cincher"
Model: Nicole Simone
Photo © Joel Aron
When you first pick up your new corset, wearing it at the standard 2" lacing gap might seem a bit too snug. Breaking in a corset, especially for first-time corset wearers, is also about training your body to understand the compression/redistribution and newly improved posture. With your body heat, the fibers of the fabric will over time relax and mold around your unique body shape and the corset itself becomes more pliable. The waist should stay fairly stable, because of the waist tape running the circumference of that area.

Here at Dark Garden, we do have an organic process of "breaking  in" our corsets. It is a much more relaxed process than the "seasoning" espoused by many. The nuance in vernacular seems defined by common use, different methods to achieve the same goal.

  • Simply lace your corset as tight as you find comfortable.
  • Leave it on as long as you can, going about the sorts of activities you expect to experience while wearing your corset in the long run.
  • Do this as often as is practical.
  • If you're waist training, this will seamlessly translate to wearing your corset at its designated 2" gap on a daily basis.
  • In other words, just wear your corset, but don't overlace.
Dark Garden Bespoke "Cut Out Victorian"
Model: Anneka Quellhorst
Photo © Edward Saenz / Ultravolta Photography
A well-fitted corset should sit pretty flush against your ribs and hips immediately, as would be assessed by our trained fitters on any visitors to our San Francisco boutique. Our company policy is to only sell corsets that are a good fit in both size and shape: a corset that stands away from the ribs and hips to a noticeable extent can chafe and create pressure points instead of support. Unless you are actively losing weight, your brand new corset should fit well with a gap that is no more than 1" wider than the final lacing gap measurement. In most cases, this means that you will have a 3" gap for first wear, and eventually settle to the standard 2". If the corset and your body are in perfect harmony, feel free to wear your corset perfectly laced to its 2" gap immediately, for as long as you like.

Breaking in a corset should not be the mechanism that makes it fit. Breaking in a corset makes it more comfortable to wear, especially for longer periods of time.

Dark Garden "Grable" corset
Photo © Joel Aron

~Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere
Read More

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Corset Boudoir Returns: April 25

Dark Garden is pleased as punch to bring back our beloved Corset Boudoir this spring! On April 25, 2015, from 5 to 10 pm, you are invited to book a session with our featured photographer Chris Gaede. Pamper yourself with an intimate evening of glamorous boudoir photographer and luxe corsetry at Dark Garden's boutique at 321 Linden St., San Francisco.
Dark Garden Risqué Cincher
Model: Miss If-N'-Whendy
Photo © Chris Gaede
Chris Gaede was a great hit at the 2013 season of the Dickens Fair, and I've had the personal pleasure of posing for Chris on several occasions. He is incredibly skilled with light and fantastic at making non-models feel at ease while nailing beautiful shots in-camera.

Dark Garden Sweetheart
Model: Victoria Dagger
Photo © Chris Gaede
Photography sessions may be scheduled beginning at 5:00 pm; allow for up to two hours total time for complete styling and your private boudoir experience. Availability is limited so please reserve your sitting early with a non-refundable deposit. Call 415-431-7684 to book. Wardrobe is, of course, provided by expert Dark Garden stylists, featuring Dark Garden Corsetry for all participants. Bring your own intimates and shoes to complete your ensemble. Expert hair and makeup artists (Danielle Blanchet of Sublime Salon and Lee Stewart, respectively) will also be on-hand should you wish to upgrade your experience. Also included are an 8"x10" print and 10% off any corset purchases - a value of $25-$150! Additional prints and digital images may be ordered online after your session.

Photo © Chris Gaede
All packages include:
Personal styling, including corset fitting & rental
Photo session
Online gallery for additional images
Private shopping
10% off corset purchases
Sneak peak photo print

Dark Garden Risqué Sweetheart and Tailored Cincher.
Client image used with permission.
Photo © Chris Gaede
The following packages are available; additional prints and high-res image galleries may be purchased after your shoot.

Classic Shoot, $75
Personal styling
Photo session
Sneak peak photo print

Swanky Set, $135
Personal styling
Professional hair or makeup
Photo session
Sneak peak photo print

Deluxe Experience, $195
Personal styling
Professional makeup artist
Professional hair styling
Photo session
Sneak peak photo print

Prints and Image Galleries are available directly from your photographer after the shoot.
Prints begin at $15
Single digital images from $25
Digital galleries from $75

Photo © Chris Gaede
Want to hear about events in The Corset Boudoir before everyone else?  Sign up for our mailing list and be the first to hear about upcoming sessions and upgrades to the program!  Never miss out on shooting with your favorite photographer (we almost always book solid for each event); early notification means you get first pick of session times.  No worries about cluttering your inbox - you'll only hear from us a few times a year.

Dark Garden Dollymop Overbust
Photo © Chris Gaede

~Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere

Read More

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Fascinator to Remember: Bridal Mixer & Trunk Show March 15

Brides unite! Come join Dark Garden in San Francisco for a lovely afternoon trunk show and bridal mixer with Kalico Delafay and Pop Antique on Sunday, March 15th. From 1pm to 5pm, Kalico Delafay and Marianne Faulkner of Pop Antique (that's me!) will be in our 321 Linden St. boutique with a selection of alternative bridal headwear.

Dark Garden proprietress Autumn Adamme
in a Dollymop for Dark Garden "Lancer" bridal ensemble
and boater by associate designer and milliner Kalico Delafay.
Photo © John Carey
Our boutique is nestled in lovely Hayes Valley; why not make a day of it? Bring your mom, Maid of Honor, or Best Person. First, grab brunch at one of our favorite neighborhood spots, like Absinthe or Chez Maman. Then swing by our boutique at 321 Linden St. for a top-up on bubbly punch and some mingling with other brides. (Nobody likes talking about weddings as much as another bride!) Browse a curated selection of gorgeous handmade headpieces and talk to the designers about having a piece custom-made. On your way out, have a taste of Smitten's fresh-made ice cream, scope out the vintage dresses at Ver Unica, and perch in Patricia's Green with your notebook as you continue your wedding planning.

One of a kind hat by Kalico Delafay
Bridal ensemble by Kalico Delafay featuring a
Dollymop for Dark Garden "Amelia" corset
Model: Dwoira Galilea - Photo © Joel Aron
Kalico Delafay is our in-house associate designer of the Dollymop corset line, and she's designed several exquisite bridal ensembles for us over the year. However, her true passion lies in millinery. All of her creations are one-of-a-kind. Kalico's sculpted felt creations utilize exquisitely upcycled vintage felt, veiling, and buttons, and she also does stunning lace and horsehair fascinators, straw boaters, and gloriously regal crowns made of stiffened lace and glimmering Swarovski crystals. Personally, of the several Kalico Delafay hats I own, my favorite is the one she custom-made just for me. I highly encourage you to commission a bespoke piece from Kalico - you will be absolutely thrilled with the result.

Pop Antique "Classic Fascinator"
with flocked polka dots & silk bow
Model: Victoria Dagger - Photo © Max Johnson
My line, Pop Antique, has a more minimalist approach. My "future vintage" style nods to the classic mid-century aesthetic without replicating it. I love simple, classic shapes, executed with great attention to proportion and finishing details. I never use glue to assemble my horsehair fascinators and all my buckram and sinamay pieces are individually hand-blocked. I especially love to make things my clients can envision fitting in their life for more than just a special occasion - a gorgeous hat collection deserves to see the world, not just sit in a stunning vintage hat box! My wedding is also coming up this October so I'd love to hear all the foibles and triumphs from your own wedding planning.

Dark Garden Princess Victorian bespoke corset
Photo © Perry Gallagher
Of course, if what you're after is a traditional veil, Dark Garden's in-house bridal atelier can make veils of any length, trimmed in simple satin ribbon or luxurious lace. While you're with us, you can get fitted in one of our fabulous ready-to-wear corsets and book an appointment to have a bespoke bridal ensemble designed just for you. Not sure you're ready to book a full appointment? Proprietress and lead designer Autumn Adamme will be available for on-the-fly mini consults, as, of course, will Kalico.

We can't wait to see you on Sunday, March 15 for our bridal mixer! If you've been struggling with your choice of veil or headwear, we're sure to have something special that will please you.

Bespoke Kalico Delafay sculpted felt hat.
Photo © Alyxander Ryan
-Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere
Read More

Monday, February 2, 2015

Edwardian Ball Styling Party with ReVamp Vintage

Annamarie von Firley, proprietress of reVamp Vintage
Dark Garden is partnering twice this month with our old friend in Los Angeles, reVamp Vintage. First, we have the Vintage Fashion Expo on Feburary 7th & 8th. Then, we'll be visiting the reVamp showroom on Friday, February 13, to bring you a curated selection of corsets, jewelry and hats to help you polish off your Edwardian Ball Ensemble. And not a moment too soon - the Edwardian Ball Los Angeles is the very next night, February 14!

Edwardian Ball Styling Party
A Trunk Show at reVamp Vintage
Friday, February 13, 2015, 6pm-9pm
818 S. Broadway St., Suite 801
Los Angeles, CA 90014

Associate designer Kalico Delafay in a Dollymop Cavalry,
proprietress Autumn Adamme in a Risqué Cincher,
and production manager Kristin Argue in a Dollymop Lancer.
Photo © Joel Aron
Dark Garden proprietress Autumn Adamme and our associate designer Kalico Delafay will both be there. Autumn of course is the visionary and world-renowned corset fit expert responsible for our Signature Collection and bespoke corsets. Kalico Delafay is responsible for our popular Dollymop line of corsets and has designed many of the most memorable ensembles from our fashion shows over the past five years.

Dollymop Couture & Kalico Delafay Millinery
at the Edwardian Ball San Francisco 2015
Photo © John Carey
A Dark Garden corset is the perfect complement to formal and vintage dresses, creating a natural-looking hourglass figure, instantly improving your posture, and refining the line and hang of any garment its worn beneath. Of course, our creations are so beautifully crafted and designed that they are often styled as the centerpiece to an ensemble!



Kalico Delafay's true specialty lies in her gorgeous sculpted felt millinery. Each of Kalico's hats is a unique design, never to be created again. (I myself am the proud owner of four of her blocked hats as well as several fascinators.) Part of the unique nature of a Kalico Delafay creation comes from her materials choices: Kalico repurposes and upcycles vintage fur-felt, veiling, and buttons, mixing them with gorgeous textural plumage.

Fascinators, lace crowns, and blocked hats by Kalico Delafay Millinery.
You can RSVP to the event on Facebook. Of course, if you're not going to be in LA, we'll be fitting fine corsets at 321 Linden St., San Francisco, 6 days a week. We also have a selection of millinery and accessories from Kalico and other independent designers on display in the boutique.

Kalico Delafay Millinery
Photo © Joel Aron

-Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere
Read More

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Cinch-ening: Dark Garden Returns to Jenette Bras in L.A.

Dark Garden "Risqué Cincher"
Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Joel Aron
We are so pleased to make our trunk show with Jenette Bras an annual event. Jenette is a fabulous host with a fantastic boutique (did I mention there will be cocktails? There are cocktails involved!), and we'll be making our triumphant return to her Melrose location on Sunday, February 8. (Yes, we'll be dashing over straight from the Vintage Fashion Expo.) You can catch us at Jenette's from 6-9pm.

Dark Garden 3: The Cinch-EningA Trunk Show at Jenette Bras
Sunday, February 8, 2015, 6pm-9pm
East Hollywood
4308 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90029
323-665-7490

Dark Garden proprietress Autumn Adamme
in the "Risqué Sweetheart"
Photo © Joel Aron
This year, not only will Jenette's brilliant staff be there (fitting bras and corsets), but Dark Garden proprietress Autumn Adamme will be leading our team. Dark Garden is bringing an assortment of Cinchers and Corselettes as well as full-bust friendly overbust corsets like our Valentine and examples of our bespoke work. Jenette Bras is a full-bust specialist where 'the alphabet begins at D,' but fret not, this is event is open to all cup sizes.

Dark Garden "Grable"
Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Mask Photo
Waist training has been quickly gaining momentum since last year. If you're in LA you may have been eyeing some of its celebrity proponents firsthand but still have a lot of questions. Autumn and I are both happy to talk you through waist training with an authentic and shapely steel-boned corset. We'll answer your questions like, "What style do I start with?" and "Is it safe?" (It totally is, at least when you use a high-quality and properly fitted corset.)

Dark Garden "Sweetheart"
Model: Dwoira Galilea | Photo © Joel Aron
We'll be in Los Angeles quite a bit in February, so if we don't see you at the Vintage Fashion Expo or Jenette's, we hope you'll visit us at our Edwardian Ball Styling Party with ReVamp on February 13, or watch our fashion show at the Los Angeles Edwardian Ball.

Dollymop for Dark Garden
Couture corset ensemble
Photo © John Carey
Cheers!
Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere
Read More

Friday, January 30, 2015

Red-Hot Valentine's Day Shopping Guide

Dita Von Teese "Mancatcher" lingerie set
Available at Dark Garden in San Francisco
Valentine's Day is nearly upon us! Whether you've got a hot date or are pampering yourself, we've got a list of lovelies that will keep you feeling hot despite the lingering chill in the air.


Dark Garden "Cincher" in red silk satin
and Pop Antique Hex Crown Pillbox in red sinamay.
Available at Dark Garden in San Francisco.
via @DarkGardenCorsetry on Instagram.
Accessories & Treats

Apothekerri: Fizzy Melts, "Love Spell," $6 - Get snug in the tub with luxuriously scented fizzy melts. These effervescent bath bombs are super moisturizing and smell ah-mazing.

Pop Antique: Hex Crown Pillbox, $110 - Why not pair your Risqué corset with a sinamay mesh pillbox hat? Pop Antique's pillbox hats are all hand-blocked and hand-finished with millinery wire and lovely petersham ribbon. The back of the hat band has a slot for modular pairing with Pop Antique's super-versatile Bow Clip Fascinator ($32-$35).

Kalico Delafay: Horsehair & Lace Fascinators, $112.50+ - Dark Garden's associate designer Kalico Delafay designs our incredibly popular Dollymop line of corsets, but her millinery skills are even more impressive. Her horsehair and lace creations, trimmed with vintage feathers and buttons, are wonderful cocktail hats for a picnic or a night at the opera. Normally retailing for $225-$250, the fascinators are currently 50% off.


Dita Von Teese "Her Sexcellency" lingerie set
Available at Dark Garden in San Francisco
Lingerie

Evgenia: Handmade red silk panties, $65 - Formerly Honey Cooler Handmade, local designer Stephanie Bodnar has rebranded her locally made line as Evegnia. Dark Garden still has a handful of unique one-off silk panties and camisoles featuring her expert and elegant insertion lace technique.

Dita Von Teese: Mancatcher Set, $40+$55 - Mancatcher it may be named, but I can say from experience that this style works just as well on the ladies! This set is an instant classic in red satin and black lace, with diagonal seams accenting a sheer lace cup.

Dita Von Teese "Her Sexcellency" lingerie setand Dark Garden "Risqué Cincher" in red silk/black mesh.
Available at Dark Garden in San Francisco
Model: Euphrates X. Photo © Joel Aron
Dita Von Teese: Her Sexcellency Set, $40-$70 - This stand-out set has both a push-up and a longline overwire bra option in glossy satin. Bottom's up with matching panties and suspenders - why not pair those with our new-old stock vintage stockings? It's a guaranteed stunner no matter how you style it.

Dita Von Teese: Parisienne Half Slip, $200 - Polka dots are so on point these days, and you're sure to charm in this darling half slip with bow and godet detailing. If you're feeling playful, try layering it over a sexy sheath dress for a floaty lingerie-as-outwear look.

Dita Von Teese "Parisienne" half-slipand Dark Garden "Alexandra" in black poplin and leather.
Available at Dark Garden in San Francisco
Model: Euphrates X. Photo © Joel Aron

Dark Garden Corsets

Monthly Special Fabrics, $200 off - Each month, we offer a discount on a select few custom fabrics from our couture loft. This month, we've got a luscious palette of red and black: a cheery red poplin, black filigree silk brocade, and super luxe red patent leather. You can read more about each of these fabrics here.

Dark Garden "Cincher" in red silk satin.
Model: Victoria Dagger. Photo © Joel Aron.
Cincher in Red Silk Satin, $475 - Gorgeous red silk makes a perfect corset for daywear, foundations, or even waist training. Our Cincher is fit from an average of thousands of bespoke corsets, making for an incredibly comfortable and curvaceous cinching experience. All corsets are handmade on-site in our San Francisco boutique, guaranteeing the highest level of quality. If well cared for, a Dark Garden corset is an investment that can last years or even decades.

Dark Garden "Risqué Sweetheart" in red silk/black mesh.
Model: Dwoira Galilea. Photo © Joel Aron
Sweetheart Risqué in Red Silk with Black Mesh, $555 - Of course, if you want to take it to the next level, you could pair that luminous red silk with super sexy sheer mesh. Our corsetry mesh is both strong and breathable, and the Risqué line comes standard with a modesty panel and detachable garters.


Dita Von Teese "Savoir Faire" Lingerie Setand Dark Garden "Cincher" in black brocade
Available at Dark Garden in San Francisco
Model: Euphrates X. Photo © Joel Aron
If you're looking to buy a special gift or a sexy treat for yourself, Dark Garden is happy to help you in finding just the thing. We also have gift cards available if you're uncertain of size or color preference. Come by and visit us at 321 Linden St, Thursday through Tuesday for a corset fitting or gift consultation. We open at 11am every day, except for Wednesdays when we are open only by appointment. Give us a ring at 415-431-7684 for over-the-phone inquiries.

Dark Garden "Dollymop Overbust"
Photo © Joel Aron
-Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere
Read More

Friday, January 23, 2015

Fabulous Foundations at LA's Vintage Fashion Expo!

Dark Garden "Corselette"
Model: Dark Garden proprietress Autumn Adamme
Photo © Joel Aron
Dark Garden is so excited to return to the Los Angeles Vintage Fashion Expo on February 7th & 8th, where we will once again share a booth with ReVamp. You can see us there and get professionally fitted for a ready-to-wear or bespoke corset at The Reef, 1933 Broadway St., Los Angeles. Tickets are $12-$30, or only $5 with a valid student ID on Sunday. The Vintage Fashion Expo hosts an array of vendors with gorgeous original vintage clothing and accessories, but, in the words of Christian Dior:
"Without proper foundations, there can be no fashion."
What foundations? Foundation garments - corsets, of course! Most vintage pieces were cut to be worn with at least a girdle or merry widow, so their waists tend to be too small with a different hang and posture if worn without shapewear. A Dark Garden corset makes a wonderful foundation for vintage dresses and gowns, yet is cut to suit modern bodies with unparalleled all-day support and comfort. Our standard fit line is based on an average of thousands of our handmade bespoke corsets, and doesn't pinch or roll like stretch shapewear.

Dark Garden "Risqué Cincher"
Model: Khadijah. Photo © Joel Aron
We'll be bringing a selection of our Basics in simple and sturdy black poplin as well as our Risqué line. The Risqué's single-layer mesh construction with luscious silk-satin accents makes it a lightweight, comfortable, and oh-so-sexy base for any ensemble, and comes standard with detachable garters... perfect for snag-free support of your vintage nylon stockings!

Dark Garden "Risqué Cincher"
Model: Euphrates X. Photo © Joel Aron

Our partner ReVamp specializes in exacting period reproductions from 1910-1957 with all the vintage style and none of the vintage DNA. ReVamp was originally founded as the brainchild of current owner Annamarie von Firley and Dark Garden proprietress Autumn Adamme. Though our two companies are now separate entities we have always maintained a close relationship with Annamarie von Firley. Indeed, Autumn is often seen working at Dark Garden in her ReVamp "Maisie" sailor slacks.

Left: Annamarie von Firley of ReVamp
Right: Dark Garden's Autumn Adamme
The Vintage Fashion Expo is the first of many events in Los Angeles we are doing next month. We'll also be doing a trunk show at Jenette Bras on February 8th, another trunk show hosted by ReVamp on February 13th, and of course, the Edwardian Ball on February 14th!

Dark Garden "Corselette"
Photo © Joel Aron
-Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere
Read More

Friday, April 17, 2015

How to Break In a Dark Garden Corset

We often equate corset shopping to shoe shopping. Like shoes, if you only have one corset that you wear everyday, it will wear out more quickly. And like new shoes, your corset might need a little bit of time to break in and mold to your body. If you're wondering how long this process should take and how you should do it, this is the article for you! Much of this information is aimed at waist trainers, but even if you're just wearing your corset for a special occasion like a wedding you may have wondered about breaking in your new corset.

Proprietress Autumn Adamme
Dark Garden Bespoke "Sweetheart" Corset
Photo © Perry Gallagher
Our proprietress, Autumn Adamme, has been making corsets for over 25 years, and, having grown up in a historic costuming community, has been wearing them for over 30. You can see she has a lot of experience to draw on when designing the construction, fit, and wear of our handmade beauties!

Your new Dark Garden corset should fit you well from the get-go. Don't worry about "seasoning" your new corset, be it Ready-to-Wear, Personalized Made-to-Order, or Bespoke, to make it fit. Your new corset should lace to a gap of 2-3", with the ribs and hips just flush against the sides of your body, and a comfortable compression at the waist. If you are "seasoning" your corset with only the waist actually touching your body, you may as well just be wearing a belt! Part of the reason to train with a corset instead of a belt is that you support your guts while you make your waist more pliable.
If you train too far without this support for your belly, you will encourage that below the waist bulge that very few people like. Additionally, wearing your corsets with a too-wide gap strains the bones at the back of the corset and can cause them to twist in their channels or warp the fabric.

Dark Garden "Cincher"
Model: Nicole Simone
Photo © Joel Aron
When you first pick up your new corset, wearing it at the standard 2" lacing gap might seem a bit too snug. Breaking in a corset, especially for first-time corset wearers, is also about training your body to understand the compression/redistribution and newly improved posture. With your body heat, the fibers of the fabric will over time relax and mold around your unique body shape and the corset itself becomes more pliable. The waist should stay fairly stable, because of the waist tape running the circumference of that area.

Here at Dark Garden, we do have an organic process of "breaking  in" our corsets. It is a much more relaxed process than the "seasoning" espoused by many. The nuance in vernacular seems defined by common use, different methods to achieve the same goal.

  • Simply lace your corset as tight as you find comfortable.
  • Leave it on as long as you can, going about the sorts of activities you expect to experience while wearing your corset in the long run.
  • Do this as often as is practical.
  • If you're waist training, this will seamlessly translate to wearing your corset at its designated 2" gap on a daily basis.
  • In other words, just wear your corset, but don't overlace.
Dark Garden Bespoke "Cut Out Victorian"
Model: Anneka Quellhorst
Photo © Edward Saenz / Ultravolta Photography
A well-fitted corset should sit pretty flush against your ribs and hips immediately, as would be assessed by our trained fitters on any visitors to our San Francisco boutique. Our company policy is to only sell corsets that are a good fit in both size and shape: a corset that stands away from the ribs and hips to a noticeable extent can chafe and create pressure points instead of support. Unless you are actively losing weight, your brand new corset should fit well with a gap that is no more than 1" wider than the final lacing gap measurement. In most cases, this means that you will have a 3" gap for first wear, and eventually settle to the standard 2". If the corset and your body are in perfect harmony, feel free to wear your corset perfectly laced to its 2" gap immediately, for as long as you like.

Breaking in a corset should not be the mechanism that makes it fit. Breaking in a corset makes it more comfortable to wear, especially for longer periods of time.

Dark Garden "Grable" corset
Photo © Joel Aron

~Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Corset Boudoir Returns: April 25

Dark Garden is pleased as punch to bring back our beloved Corset Boudoir this spring! On April 25, 2015, from 5 to 10 pm, you are invited to book a session with our featured photographer Chris Gaede. Pamper yourself with an intimate evening of glamorous boudoir photographer and luxe corsetry at Dark Garden's boutique at 321 Linden St., San Francisco.
Dark Garden Risqué Cincher
Model: Miss If-N'-Whendy
Photo © Chris Gaede
Chris Gaede was a great hit at the 2013 season of the Dickens Fair, and I've had the personal pleasure of posing for Chris on several occasions. He is incredibly skilled with light and fantastic at making non-models feel at ease while nailing beautiful shots in-camera.

Dark Garden Sweetheart
Model: Victoria Dagger
Photo © Chris Gaede
Photography sessions may be scheduled beginning at 5:00 pm; allow for up to two hours total time for complete styling and your private boudoir experience. Availability is limited so please reserve your sitting early with a non-refundable deposit. Call 415-431-7684 to book. Wardrobe is, of course, provided by expert Dark Garden stylists, featuring Dark Garden Corsetry for all participants. Bring your own intimates and shoes to complete your ensemble. Expert hair and makeup artists (Danielle Blanchet of Sublime Salon and Lee Stewart, respectively) will also be on-hand should you wish to upgrade your experience. Also included are an 8"x10" print and 10% off any corset purchases - a value of $25-$150! Additional prints and digital images may be ordered online after your session.

Photo © Chris Gaede
All packages include:
Personal styling, including corset fitting & rental
Photo session
Online gallery for additional images
Private shopping
10% off corset purchases
Sneak peak photo print

Dark Garden Risqué Sweetheart and Tailored Cincher.
Client image used with permission.
Photo © Chris Gaede
The following packages are available; additional prints and high-res image galleries may be purchased after your shoot.

Classic Shoot, $75
Personal styling
Photo session
Sneak peak photo print

Swanky Set, $135
Personal styling
Professional hair or makeup
Photo session
Sneak peak photo print

Deluxe Experience, $195
Personal styling
Professional makeup artist
Professional hair styling
Photo session
Sneak peak photo print

Prints and Image Galleries are available directly from your photographer after the shoot.
Prints begin at $15
Single digital images from $25
Digital galleries from $75

Photo © Chris Gaede
Want to hear about events in The Corset Boudoir before everyone else?  Sign up for our mailing list and be the first to hear about upcoming sessions and upgrades to the program!  Never miss out on shooting with your favorite photographer (we almost always book solid for each event); early notification means you get first pick of session times.  No worries about cluttering your inbox - you'll only hear from us a few times a year.

Dark Garden Dollymop Overbust
Photo © Chris Gaede

~Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Fascinator to Remember: Bridal Mixer & Trunk Show March 15

Brides unite! Come join Dark Garden in San Francisco for a lovely afternoon trunk show and bridal mixer with Kalico Delafay and Pop Antique on Sunday, March 15th. From 1pm to 5pm, Kalico Delafay and Marianne Faulkner of Pop Antique (that's me!) will be in our 321 Linden St. boutique with a selection of alternative bridal headwear.

Dark Garden proprietress Autumn Adamme
in a Dollymop for Dark Garden "Lancer" bridal ensemble
and boater by associate designer and milliner Kalico Delafay.
Photo © John Carey
Our boutique is nestled in lovely Hayes Valley; why not make a day of it? Bring your mom, Maid of Honor, or Best Person. First, grab brunch at one of our favorite neighborhood spots, like Absinthe or Chez Maman. Then swing by our boutique at 321 Linden St. for a top-up on bubbly punch and some mingling with other brides. (Nobody likes talking about weddings as much as another bride!) Browse a curated selection of gorgeous handmade headpieces and talk to the designers about having a piece custom-made. On your way out, have a taste of Smitten's fresh-made ice cream, scope out the vintage dresses at Ver Unica, and perch in Patricia's Green with your notebook as you continue your wedding planning.

One of a kind hat by Kalico Delafay
Bridal ensemble by Kalico Delafay featuring a
Dollymop for Dark Garden "Amelia" corset
Model: Dwoira Galilea - Photo © Joel Aron
Kalico Delafay is our in-house associate designer of the Dollymop corset line, and she's designed several exquisite bridal ensembles for us over the year. However, her true passion lies in millinery. All of her creations are one-of-a-kind. Kalico's sculpted felt creations utilize exquisitely upcycled vintage felt, veiling, and buttons, and she also does stunning lace and horsehair fascinators, straw boaters, and gloriously regal crowns made of stiffened lace and glimmering Swarovski crystals. Personally, of the several Kalico Delafay hats I own, my favorite is the one she custom-made just for me. I highly encourage you to commission a bespoke piece from Kalico - you will be absolutely thrilled with the result.

Pop Antique "Classic Fascinator"
with flocked polka dots & silk bow
Model: Victoria Dagger - Photo © Max Johnson
My line, Pop Antique, has a more minimalist approach. My "future vintage" style nods to the classic mid-century aesthetic without replicating it. I love simple, classic shapes, executed with great attention to proportion and finishing details. I never use glue to assemble my horsehair fascinators and all my buckram and sinamay pieces are individually hand-blocked. I especially love to make things my clients can envision fitting in their life for more than just a special occasion - a gorgeous hat collection deserves to see the world, not just sit in a stunning vintage hat box! My wedding is also coming up this October so I'd love to hear all the foibles and triumphs from your own wedding planning.

Dark Garden Princess Victorian bespoke corset
Photo © Perry Gallagher
Of course, if what you're after is a traditional veil, Dark Garden's in-house bridal atelier can make veils of any length, trimmed in simple satin ribbon or luxurious lace. While you're with us, you can get fitted in one of our fabulous ready-to-wear corsets and book an appointment to have a bespoke bridal ensemble designed just for you. Not sure you're ready to book a full appointment? Proprietress and lead designer Autumn Adamme will be available for on-the-fly mini consults, as, of course, will Kalico.

We can't wait to see you on Sunday, March 15 for our bridal mixer! If you've been struggling with your choice of veil or headwear, we're sure to have something special that will please you.

Bespoke Kalico Delafay sculpted felt hat.
Photo © Alyxander Ryan
-Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere

Monday, February 2, 2015

Edwardian Ball Styling Party with ReVamp Vintage

Annamarie von Firley, proprietress of reVamp Vintage
Dark Garden is partnering twice this month with our old friend in Los Angeles, reVamp Vintage. First, we have the Vintage Fashion Expo on Feburary 7th & 8th. Then, we'll be visiting the reVamp showroom on Friday, February 13, to bring you a curated selection of corsets, jewelry and hats to help you polish off your Edwardian Ball Ensemble. And not a moment too soon - the Edwardian Ball Los Angeles is the very next night, February 14!

Edwardian Ball Styling Party
A Trunk Show at reVamp Vintage
Friday, February 13, 2015, 6pm-9pm
818 S. Broadway St., Suite 801
Los Angeles, CA 90014

Associate designer Kalico Delafay in a Dollymop Cavalry,
proprietress Autumn Adamme in a Risqué Cincher,
and production manager Kristin Argue in a Dollymop Lancer.
Photo © Joel Aron
Dark Garden proprietress Autumn Adamme and our associate designer Kalico Delafay will both be there. Autumn of course is the visionary and world-renowned corset fit expert responsible for our Signature Collection and bespoke corsets. Kalico Delafay is responsible for our popular Dollymop line of corsets and has designed many of the most memorable ensembles from our fashion shows over the past five years.

Dollymop Couture & Kalico Delafay Millinery
at the Edwardian Ball San Francisco 2015
Photo © John Carey
A Dark Garden corset is the perfect complement to formal and vintage dresses, creating a natural-looking hourglass figure, instantly improving your posture, and refining the line and hang of any garment its worn beneath. Of course, our creations are so beautifully crafted and designed that they are often styled as the centerpiece to an ensemble!



Kalico Delafay's true specialty lies in her gorgeous sculpted felt millinery. Each of Kalico's hats is a unique design, never to be created again. (I myself am the proud owner of four of her blocked hats as well as several fascinators.) Part of the unique nature of a Kalico Delafay creation comes from her materials choices: Kalico repurposes and upcycles vintage fur-felt, veiling, and buttons, mixing them with gorgeous textural plumage.

Fascinators, lace crowns, and blocked hats by Kalico Delafay Millinery.
You can RSVP to the event on Facebook. Of course, if you're not going to be in LA, we'll be fitting fine corsets at 321 Linden St., San Francisco, 6 days a week. We also have a selection of millinery and accessories from Kalico and other independent designers on display in the boutique.

Kalico Delafay Millinery
Photo © Joel Aron

-Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Cinch-ening: Dark Garden Returns to Jenette Bras in L.A.

Dark Garden "Risqué Cincher"
Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Joel Aron
We are so pleased to make our trunk show with Jenette Bras an annual event. Jenette is a fabulous host with a fantastic boutique (did I mention there will be cocktails? There are cocktails involved!), and we'll be making our triumphant return to her Melrose location on Sunday, February 8. (Yes, we'll be dashing over straight from the Vintage Fashion Expo.) You can catch us at Jenette's from 6-9pm.

Dark Garden 3: The Cinch-EningA Trunk Show at Jenette Bras
Sunday, February 8, 2015, 6pm-9pm
East Hollywood
4308 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90029
323-665-7490

Dark Garden proprietress Autumn Adamme
in the "Risqué Sweetheart"
Photo © Joel Aron
This year, not only will Jenette's brilliant staff be there (fitting bras and corsets), but Dark Garden proprietress Autumn Adamme will be leading our team. Dark Garden is bringing an assortment of Cinchers and Corselettes as well as full-bust friendly overbust corsets like our Valentine and examples of our bespoke work. Jenette Bras is a full-bust specialist where 'the alphabet begins at D,' but fret not, this is event is open to all cup sizes.

Dark Garden "Grable"
Model: Victoria Dagger | Photo © Mask Photo
Waist training has been quickly gaining momentum since last year. If you're in LA you may have been eyeing some of its celebrity proponents firsthand but still have a lot of questions. Autumn and I are both happy to talk you through waist training with an authentic and shapely steel-boned corset. We'll answer your questions like, "What style do I start with?" and "Is it safe?" (It totally is, at least when you use a high-quality and properly fitted corset.)

Dark Garden "Sweetheart"
Model: Dwoira Galilea | Photo © Joel Aron
We'll be in Los Angeles quite a bit in February, so if we don't see you at the Vintage Fashion Expo or Jenette's, we hope you'll visit us at our Edwardian Ball Styling Party with ReVamp on February 13, or watch our fashion show at the Los Angeles Edwardian Ball.

Dollymop for Dark Garden
Couture corset ensemble
Photo © John Carey
Cheers!
Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere

Friday, January 30, 2015

Red-Hot Valentine's Day Shopping Guide

Dita Von Teese "Mancatcher" lingerie set
Available at Dark Garden in San Francisco
Valentine's Day is nearly upon us! Whether you've got a hot date or are pampering yourself, we've got a list of lovelies that will keep you feeling hot despite the lingering chill in the air.


Dark Garden "Cincher" in red silk satin
and Pop Antique Hex Crown Pillbox in red sinamay.
Available at Dark Garden in San Francisco.
via @DarkGardenCorsetry on Instagram.
Accessories & Treats

Apothekerri: Fizzy Melts, "Love Spell," $6 - Get snug in the tub with luxuriously scented fizzy melts. These effervescent bath bombs are super moisturizing and smell ah-mazing.

Pop Antique: Hex Crown Pillbox, $110 - Why not pair your Risqué corset with a sinamay mesh pillbox hat? Pop Antique's pillbox hats are all hand-blocked and hand-finished with millinery wire and lovely petersham ribbon. The back of the hat band has a slot for modular pairing with Pop Antique's super-versatile Bow Clip Fascinator ($32-$35).

Kalico Delafay: Horsehair & Lace Fascinators, $112.50+ - Dark Garden's associate designer Kalico Delafay designs our incredibly popular Dollymop line of corsets, but her millinery skills are even more impressive. Her horsehair and lace creations, trimmed with vintage feathers and buttons, are wonderful cocktail hats for a picnic or a night at the opera. Normally retailing for $225-$250, the fascinators are currently 50% off.


Dita Von Teese "Her Sexcellency" lingerie set
Available at Dark Garden in San Francisco
Lingerie

Evgenia: Handmade red silk panties, $65 - Formerly Honey Cooler Handmade, local designer Stephanie Bodnar has rebranded her locally made line as Evegnia. Dark Garden still has a handful of unique one-off silk panties and camisoles featuring her expert and elegant insertion lace technique.

Dita Von Teese: Mancatcher Set, $40+$55 - Mancatcher it may be named, but I can say from experience that this style works just as well on the ladies! This set is an instant classic in red satin and black lace, with diagonal seams accenting a sheer lace cup.

Dita Von Teese "Her Sexcellency" lingerie setand Dark Garden "Risqué Cincher" in red silk/black mesh.
Available at Dark Garden in San Francisco
Model: Euphrates X. Photo © Joel Aron
Dita Von Teese: Her Sexcellency Set, $40-$70 - This stand-out set has both a push-up and a longline overwire bra option in glossy satin. Bottom's up with matching panties and suspenders - why not pair those with our new-old stock vintage stockings? It's a guaranteed stunner no matter how you style it.

Dita Von Teese: Parisienne Half Slip, $200 - Polka dots are so on point these days, and you're sure to charm in this darling half slip with bow and godet detailing. If you're feeling playful, try layering it over a sexy sheath dress for a floaty lingerie-as-outwear look.

Dita Von Teese "Parisienne" half-slipand Dark Garden "Alexandra" in black poplin and leather.
Available at Dark Garden in San Francisco
Model: Euphrates X. Photo © Joel Aron

Dark Garden Corsets

Monthly Special Fabrics, $200 off - Each month, we offer a discount on a select few custom fabrics from our couture loft. This month, we've got a luscious palette of red and black: a cheery red poplin, black filigree silk brocade, and super luxe red patent leather. You can read more about each of these fabrics here.

Dark Garden "Cincher" in red silk satin.
Model: Victoria Dagger. Photo © Joel Aron.
Cincher in Red Silk Satin, $475 - Gorgeous red silk makes a perfect corset for daywear, foundations, or even waist training. Our Cincher is fit from an average of thousands of bespoke corsets, making for an incredibly comfortable and curvaceous cinching experience. All corsets are handmade on-site in our San Francisco boutique, guaranteeing the highest level of quality. If well cared for, a Dark Garden corset is an investment that can last years or even decades.

Dark Garden "Risqué Sweetheart" in red silk/black mesh.
Model: Dwoira Galilea. Photo © Joel Aron
Sweetheart Risqué in Red Silk with Black Mesh, $555 - Of course, if you want to take it to the next level, you could pair that luminous red silk with super sexy sheer mesh. Our corsetry mesh is both strong and breathable, and the Risqué line comes standard with a modesty panel and detachable garters.


Dita Von Teese "Savoir Faire" Lingerie Setand Dark Garden "Cincher" in black brocade
Available at Dark Garden in San Francisco
Model: Euphrates X. Photo © Joel Aron
If you're looking to buy a special gift or a sexy treat for yourself, Dark Garden is happy to help you in finding just the thing. We also have gift cards available if you're uncertain of size or color preference. Come by and visit us at 321 Linden St, Thursday through Tuesday for a corset fitting or gift consultation. We open at 11am every day, except for Wednesdays when we are open only by appointment. Give us a ring at 415-431-7684 for over-the-phone inquiries.

Dark Garden "Dollymop Overbust"
Photo © Joel Aron
-Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere

Friday, January 23, 2015

Fabulous Foundations at LA's Vintage Fashion Expo!

Dark Garden "Corselette"
Model: Dark Garden proprietress Autumn Adamme
Photo © Joel Aron
Dark Garden is so excited to return to the Los Angeles Vintage Fashion Expo on February 7th & 8th, where we will once again share a booth with ReVamp. You can see us there and get professionally fitted for a ready-to-wear or bespoke corset at The Reef, 1933 Broadway St., Los Angeles. Tickets are $12-$30, or only $5 with a valid student ID on Sunday. The Vintage Fashion Expo hosts an array of vendors with gorgeous original vintage clothing and accessories, but, in the words of Christian Dior:
"Without proper foundations, there can be no fashion."
What foundations? Foundation garments - corsets, of course! Most vintage pieces were cut to be worn with at least a girdle or merry widow, so their waists tend to be too small with a different hang and posture if worn without shapewear. A Dark Garden corset makes a wonderful foundation for vintage dresses and gowns, yet is cut to suit modern bodies with unparalleled all-day support and comfort. Our standard fit line is based on an average of thousands of our handmade bespoke corsets, and doesn't pinch or roll like stretch shapewear.

Dark Garden "Risqué Cincher"
Model: Khadijah. Photo © Joel Aron
We'll be bringing a selection of our Basics in simple and sturdy black poplin as well as our Risqué line. The Risqué's single-layer mesh construction with luscious silk-satin accents makes it a lightweight, comfortable, and oh-so-sexy base for any ensemble, and comes standard with detachable garters... perfect for snag-free support of your vintage nylon stockings!

Dark Garden "Risqué Cincher"
Model: Euphrates X. Photo © Joel Aron

Our partner ReVamp specializes in exacting period reproductions from 1910-1957 with all the vintage style and none of the vintage DNA. ReVamp was originally founded as the brainchild of current owner Annamarie von Firley and Dark Garden proprietress Autumn Adamme. Though our two companies are now separate entities we have always maintained a close relationship with Annamarie von Firley. Indeed, Autumn is often seen working at Dark Garden in her ReVamp "Maisie" sailor slacks.

Left: Annamarie von Firley of ReVamp
Right: Dark Garden's Autumn Adamme
The Vintage Fashion Expo is the first of many events in Los Angeles we are doing next month. We'll also be doing a trunk show at Jenette Bras on February 8th, another trunk show hosted by ReVamp on February 13th, and of course, the Edwardian Ball on February 14th!

Dark Garden "Corselette"
Photo © Joel Aron
-Marianne
Multi-Purpose Corsetiere