Category Archives: Inside a&a studio

Operation Pink Sparkly Flames

We recently put our hearts and souls into this stunning black corset with magical pink sparkled flames cascading up the front. We try not to pick favorites, because we love every corset that we make, but this one was hard not to adore. Our inspiration was drawn from some of America’s outrageously cool style icons – Elvis Presley, Evel Knievel, Dolly Parton and one legendary costume designer; Bob Mackie. This corset is currently living with one of our favorite celebs, so keep your eyes peeled for this blinged out number to hit the stage sometime in the near future!!!

Creating this corset required us to really get out of our comfort zone and work with some different materials. Only a week prior to being commissioned for this piece we were given an AMAZING collection of vintage beads and sequins. A friend from Colorado, JoDee Costello, came across this gold mine as she was cleaning out a house that was once owned by a professional ballroom dancer. She apparently had left behind some of her costume décor and we were fortunate enough to get these passed on to us! Take a look at some of our vintage materials and watch this fierce number come to life!

We were given boxes and boxes of these fuchsia beads. We fell in love with the glass tubes they came in, how cool are the tiny cork tops?!?

This was our first attempt at laying out the flame. Danielle sketched a flame and we experimented with setting the beads and jewels into different combinations

We started with a custom black cotton corset with a zipper up the center front. From there we hand stitched the pink flames to the top layer of the corset, and lined the edge with Siam aka fire truck red Swarovski crystals.

We then filled the flames with a combination of rhinestones, sequins, and beads.

We added black Swarovski crystals around the flames to create a little more drama and like that it was done!

We had so much fun creating this piece, and can’t wait for it to make it to the stage, because clearly that’s the only place it belongs!

Thanks again to JoDee for the beautiful vintage sequins and beads, it wouldn’t have been the same without that special touch!

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Corset Bling

We had a special request from stylist Tiffany Gifford to create custom black leather corset that could have interchangeable Bling for Shawna Thompson of Thompson Square. The first bit of bling we created for Shawna’s corset was variety of jewels, beads, and chains.

We took a variety of jewels we had in the studio covered them in our trade secret glue that is the strongest glue around, and dipped them in cool beads.

We then glued the beaded jewels to a piece of cotton Coutil and wrapped them in chains. The trim was attached to the corset by metal hooks that were sewn into the Coutil.

The finished corset looked amazing! The embellishments added something special to the basic black leather corset! The best part is that the bling is removable! Stay tuned to see what embellishments Tiffany requests next – maybe studs, flowers… we can create anything she can dream up!! It was a good craft day at ani&ari 🙂

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Inside an ani&ari fitting!

Are you curious about what happens at an ani & ari when there is a corset fitting? Here is a peak at the behind the scenes at our atelier.

Our client Tarah, came by today for her fitting appointment to be measured for her custom corset. She will be attending a Christmas gala this December in New York City and she is looking to create a corset that will be memorable! She was inspired by all the corsets that she has seen on the runways of Europe for Spring.  We are psyched to have her choose ani&ari to make her a new custom piece. We took pictures during the fitting to give you all more of an idea of how the whole design process works! Check out how easy it is to be measured. After we measure Tarah we will sit down and talk about what she is inspired by and the types of fabrics and the notions that will fit her vision for her corset. She loves Alexander Wang so we are thinking there may be some leather involved check back to see what Tarah’s corset came out like.

The lovely Tarah, ready to be measured!

Danielle getting her waist measurement

Fittings are fun 🙂

Danielle making sure to get the perfect length

Under the arm is one of the most important measurements!

The waist to lap measurement is another vital one to get, to ensure that our clients can always sit comfortably in their corsets.

Thanks for stopping by! Check back for more inside the studio, and stay tuned for Tarah’s amazing new corset coming soon!!!

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Hayden Panettiere in ani&ari

Exciting news at the studio; we were contacted by Susie DeSanto from the wardrobe department of the hot new ABC show “Nashville” to create a custom corset for one of their stars Hayden Panettiere. If you haven’t heard about “Nashville” then you must be living on another planet, because it’s the most talked about new show for the fall. The show stars Connie Britton as a country singer juggling her home life and struggling to remain a relevant country star. Meanwhile Hayden’s character is taking over the country music industry.  It’s going to be amazing and we’re so excited to watch!

We are over the moon to be part of the show because the producers have made a huge effort to portray Nashville in an authentic light. Our studio has created custom corsets for Miranda Lambert, The Pistol Annies, and Carrie Underwood thus it would be perfect for Hayden’s country Music Star character to rock an authentic custom ani&ari corset.

We were given a (tiny) pair of studded white denim True Religion shorts to be our inspiration for creating the corset.

Hayden and Wardrobe Stylist, Susie DeSanto both loved these shorts, so we came up with a design that highlighted all the special aspects of these minis. We went with the same white denim and camel colored topstitching. Then we embellished the cups with an array of multi colored rim set jewels. Can you believe we only had 5 days? Our first fitting was via the telephone, but in the end the corset was PERFECTION. We missed the taping, but pictures are beginning to surface and we couldn’t be happier with how she looks!

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a&a photo shoot

Woahhhh! Things have been crazy here at ani&ari. We recently went to LA and had our first official photo shoot. We had an amazing team, and we are SO excited to share the photos with you. Until then, here are a few behind the scene pics. Enjoy 😉

Behind the scenes pictures taken by

Denise López

Danielle and Ariel Tredway

Melinda Rodriguez

Photographer: Sye Williams

Styling by: ANNIE+MELA

Hair: Clark Ivor

Make up: Melissa Tolentino

Art Director: Denise López

Models/ LA Models

Coco Hunter

Alyena

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Inside the ani&ari studio: Grommets Edition

One of our favorite parts of finishing a corset, is embellishing the busk and grommets. When we want something other than silver (which is the way the come) we get a little creative with combinations of nail polish…

Our plain grommets (left and right) and a simple busk (center)

We used a white polish by Essie for the base coat of the busk, then covered the top in an OPI sparkle. The grommets are covered in an OPI blue sparkle.

For this fabulous pink linen, we chose to paint our black grommets with a matching pink sparkle by Sally Hansen.

Be sure and check back for more peeks inside ani&ari!!! We’ve only just begun 😉

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Inside the ani&ari studio: Boning

Boning is a key component in making a foundation for a corset. It gives the fabric structure and creates the shape that hugs the curves of the body.

 Throughout history corset makers have used many different types of boning. Each one has unique benefits and challenges.

 

Baleen or also known as whalebone comes from the filter-like structure in the mouths of Baleen whales. During the 18th and 19th century it was used for constructing corsets, in collar stiffeners, as parasol ribs, and even buggy whips. Another material used for boning in the early days of corsetry was Coraline. It was made from the straight, stiff fibers from the Mexican ixtle plant, bound together by two strands of thread wrapped in opposite directions.

Featherbone was another alternative to baleen, and was made from the quills of feathers

In more recent corsetry there has been a transition to using steel and plastic. These are more humane options and easier to work with.

 

At ani&ari we prefer to use a combination of steel and plastic boning. The steel boning is either a half-inch or quarter inch wide flat piece of powder-coated metal. It is also rust free, which allows it to be washed or dry-cleaned.  It offers the most strength and structure in a custom corset.

You can also use two types of plastic boning. You can buy individual lengths, like the steel pieces or you can use the rigilene, which is a woven plastic boning that comes by the spool. The regilene is used in lightweight, looser fitting garments. You have probably seen rigeline in your own gowns and structured dresses.

 

Boning is a corset makers best friend! Hope you enjoyed your glimpse into the ani&ari studio. Until next time!!

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Inside the ani&ari studio: Patterns

One thing that is unique about our corset company is that we make a new pattern for each customer. Once you see what goes into making a pattern, you will understand why this is such a big deal. It is rarely done anymore, because it is so difficult and time consuming. Most designers are not draping their own patterns. They hire a pattern maker, or send their sketched designs to a foreign country. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and some of the world’s top couture designers do it. We chose a different path here at ani&ari because we value the traditional methods of the design process.

There is no simple way to describe making a pattern, but we are going to do our best to share our process.

You begin to make a pattern by creating an outline of the shape of the desired garment. For this blog, we will be making a new underbust pattern.

I won’t go too much in detail about this, but it is important to know that there are reasons for multiple pattern pieces. You cannot just take one piece of fabric and wrap it around the body and expect it to fit. Pattern making is truly an art, in the sense that you must sculpt the fabric around the body in a way that’s comfortable, flattering, and beautiful. It is a skill that some people just don’t have, and luckily Danielle is an expert.

Once you have figured out the shape, the next step is transferring it to fabric. Muslin is a thin and inexpensive cotton fabric used for draping and pattern making by designers. Before you make any garment you must get the fabric on grain. Properly aligned grain is the key to a well-made garment. You probably know more about grain than you think. Have you ever tried on a cheap T-shirt and had the side seams twist around your body? Or after one wash it magically has taken a new shape? That is the result of fabric being off grain. You want the grain, or weave of the fabric, to be straight, even and square. This takes a lot of stretching, ironing and sometimes even wrestling. If we had an intern, this is what they’d do 😉

 

The next step is draping the muslin over the outline of the garment. You then pin the fabric together where the seams are going to be.

After you get all the pattern pieces connected you take them off, press them, and trace what you’ve made on to paper. From there you smooth out the edges of the pattern lines.

After making sure that the paper pattern matches up perfectly, you add the seam allowance. The most important part of all of this is testing a pattern before you make anything out of expensive fabric.

TADAAAAAA!!! Pattern Piece!

Check back for more peeks inside the studio! Happy Monday y’all 😉

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Inside the ani&ari studio: Fabrics

One of the most important steps in creating a custom corset is choosing the fabrics. Unlike many designers, we do not carry a specific swatch book full of fabrics to select from. We treat each corset as a work of art and no two corsets are alike. Our process of designing the perfect piece for the client begins with a one on one consultation. During the consultation we present different types of fabrics we like to work with and we see what they gravitate towards. Fabric choices depend on specifics about the customer’s style and where they will be wearing the corset. People’s taste is as individual as their measurements, so we cater to their different needs. The people we work with vary from knowing exactly what they want to letting us take complete design liberty to create what we see fit. Either way a allows for a unique piece to be born.

Cotton Coutil is the only specialty fabric that we always have in stock. Coutil is a very densely woven fabric created especially for corsetry. The tight weave helps to prevent poke throughs of boning and provides the ultimate in fabric strength and durability.

Combined with the cotton Coutil, we can overlay lace, embroidered organza, silk, linens and pretty much any other fabric you could imagine to make a corset.

The only fabrics we really try to avoid are any that stretch. With the structure of the boning and the shape, corsets just aren’t made to stretch. Imagine shoving a pillow up to a fence, the boning being the fence polls, and the pillow being ANY woman’s flesh. You don’t want anything stretching in-between the boning it just doesn’t work.

Sequins! Yay!

Leather and lace

Happy Wednesday! Be sure to keep checking back for more looks inside the studio!

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Inside the ani&ari studio: Measurements

A lot of people have no idea how much work really goes into a custom ani&ari corset. We have decided to do a weekly post showing you the process of making a custom corset, and some of our favorite secrets.

They key to making a custom corset, starts with custom measurements. Clients are always shocked to find out how many measurements we use to create their custom garments. Despite what magazines may tell you, you cannot categorize a woman’s body into the three common types. In the same breath, they also say that no two women’s bodies are exactly alike. After measuring hundreds of women, we have come to find that this can’t be more true. The comfort and fit of a garment made to your specific measurements is what sets ani&ari apart from the rest. Corsets have a bad reputation of being incredibly uncomfortable and restraining. If you were to purchase one off the rack at any given store, you are going to find that it will in fact, be uncomfortable and ill fitting. We pride ourselves on taking these important measurements and creating corsets more like sculptures, taking into consideration fit, comfort, and beauty. 

Be sure and check back for more looks inside our studio!

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