I honestly no longer remember when I first became aware of Melanie Talkington, Corsetiere Extraordinaire. Perhaps we met at a few events, or maybe I was on hand at one of her shows. It no longer matters. As someone who has sewn my entire life, I was awestruck by her work. At the time I was creating tons of dance costumes for up to four schools and occasionally had to produce ballet tutus with those stiff, boned tops. As production costuming, they did not have the same intricate construction and fine details, but there was a kinship. I was intrigued.

My daughter was also quite taken by Talkington’s corsets. One year for her birthday I took her to Lace Embrace Atelier and bought her a black waist cincher. It really did give her an amazing shape.The cincher was worn to finish off her look on numerous occasions where she always received compliments. I spent my time in the shop that day perusing all the different styles, eying the great displays and, if I remember right, looking through a catalog of custom pieces – all works of art.

Over the last few years I have been in the audience to view and write up Lace Embrace shows at several fashion weeks and was in attendance at her annual Hycroft event.When Talkington was invited to Paris in 2013 to show her antique collection in the Louvre, it was all I could do to not max out my credit card and fly off to join in the excitement. Then in 2015, New York City called with a second exhibition and a gala ball. I am a huge fan and hope to one day own my very own custom corset by this talented artist. Dreams do come true!




8Q Spotlight Melanie Talkington

What is your current career(s) – paid and unpaid?

Corsetiere/ Designer at Lace Embrace Atelier, owner of Scout Boutique, vintage/retro fashions and collector of antique corsets.

Can you share an interesting thing (or two) about your journey to reach this moment?

I found my passion in antique corsets and followed my dreams to collect and learn more about these exquisite body shaping pieces and their fascinating history. Because they are so delicate, I wasn’t able to try them on and experience how a true corset felt, so I began creating reproductions and wearing them as outer garments. So many people loved my outfits, I began shifting my business from bridal/ special occasion wear to corsetry and have enjoyed every minute of the last 19 years. I have been invited around the world for trade shows and museums exhibits including one in 2014 at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

What 3 things would you like people to know about you to give them a sense of who you really are?

  • I’m very passionate about all things corset.
  • I have the worlds largest antique corset collection
  • I hope to one day open an antique corset museum.

Highest moment so far?

Traveling to Paris and New York City to loan some pieces from my antique corset collection for an exhibit – Mechanics of Underwear & Fashioning the Body. Planning a Grand Corset Ball in NYC to bring the corset community together and celebrate with Cathie Jung – Guinness world record holder for the smallest waist measure of 15.” She’s been corseting for over 40 years!

What are you working on right now? In the next 6 months?

Exquisite costumes for Halloween and pre-planning a bridal collection. We are also in the early stages of planning our annual Corset Soiree/ High Tea for May 2016.

Who and/or what inspires you?

I am very inspired by all things French, especially antique French corsets. I love their classical whimsy and attention to detail – such delicate beauties.

How do you personally define success?

Expressing joy and seeing the joy in others while they experience the gentle hug of a corset and the beauty of silk, lace and frou frou.

Favourite quote?

“Cultivate your curves, they may be dangerous, but they won’t be avoided.” – Mae West


  1. www.laceembrace.com
  2. www.scoutboutique.com
  3. www.facebook.com/LaceEmbrace
  4. www.facebook.com/ScoutBoutique