“I really love the regular people. The people that are walking by on the street in the background of the painting. The people who are working in their house or are just doing regular things in regular life. That’s where I really love to study what people are wearing and how it’s cut and what hat they are wearing with it and what shoes. What are they holding in their hand and what is that they might be reading. I’m just a dork for the details like that.”
Our Guest today is Lara Greene-Vaught. Lara grew up in Staten Island, NY. Disappointed in her limited fashion choices for her Barbie doll, Lara began cutting up her Mother’s old clothing and making doll clothes around age 8. By her early teens, she had discovered that the Victorian treadle sewing machine actually worked. From then on was busy sewing clothing and Halloween costumes for herself. Her love of films with period settings fueled an obsession with historic clothing and the undergarments required to create the historic silhouettes. While attending F.I.T. University in NYC Lara began collecting antique corsets, antique sewing patterns, and other historic garments to study their cut and construction methods.
Lara began working in theater and opera in the early 1990s and became a member of the NYC Theatrical Wardrobe Union in 1994. She then spent the next 24 years working on Broadway, Opera, Film, and Television productions. At the same time, she ran her freelance custom corset and costume business on the side. Now she is branching out into a new endeavor and is busy learning digital pattern making software. With plans to launch a historic clothing pattern line in 2018. Lara is excited to share the research she has amassed over the decades with those interested in making historic corsets and garments for themselves.
Lara and I discuss many different aspects of historical clothing and how it affects our presentation of history to the public. We talk about how Lara it’s transitioning to pattern production because of the shift in demand from the historical community. There are many gaps in what is currently available for historical patterns, especially for everyday people. Quite often the clothing is one of the most intimidating parts of joining a historical group because of the expense and challenge of it.
When looking at history and presenting history, we often are in a place where we must help to dispel myths that people have learned in their lives. With corsets, myth is they are dreadful uncomfortable things. When cut and made right corsets can be quite comfortable. The same is true with a more sensitive subject such as immigration people believe it’s a growing problem we’ve never faced before. When looking at history we see that with immigration, in fact, we’ve been worried about it for centuries.
Lara and I discuss how we often forget how individual taste dictated variation in fashion. People wear what they love and what they are comfortable in whether it’s 1980’s style or corsets from 30 years ago. Often historical groups tend to gravitate to one or two basic styles without much variation other than color.
Lara offers her perspective of events as someone who runs her own small business. Often the events she would love to go to are too expensive even when the vendor fee is reasonable. It is a challenge to run an event that brings in a large enough population while also attracting the right mix of vendors for that population.
Links from Today’s Show
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/LaraCorsets-235230689368/
Website, currently under construction: www.LaraCorsets.com
Email: Lara at laracorsets dot com
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