Established in 1991, Dianna DiNoble has gained a huge and devoted following as corsetiere and proprietor of Starkers Corsetry. Dianna was kind enough to take some time out of her jam-packed schedule, creating custom-made corsets for prestigious clients all over the world, to talk about all things corsets and what’s coming up for Starkers.
“About a year ago, a couple of my colleagues confessed to me that they were wearing corsets under their office wear. That is when I realized that corsets weren’t just for burlesque performers, Goths and Marie-Antoinette themed parties anymore: the corset had officially gone mainstream. “Some customers see it as a fetish item; some see it as a pretty lingerie piece or solid base to a gown. Some find that they can transform themselves into an alter-ego just by putting on their corset, much like a superhero transforms themselves simply by putting something on,” says Dianna of the growing popularity of corsets in modern life.
Dianna acquired her practical skills at Sheridan College, where she learned pattern drafting, alongside many other industry techniques. However, her passion for corsets started way before that. Having attended an arts-centric high school, where she studied art history, she couldn’t help but notice the role that corsets have played for centuries, “In many old paintings and photographs, I saw the corset as either a focal point or under-stated piece that wasn’t meant to be noticed.” A fascination with corsetry was born.
“I loved how a piece of cloth and metal could shape someone’s body so dramatically and was instantly drawn to the beauty and structure of the corset,” says Dianna. Already making her own clothes at this point, Dianna turned her attention to corset-making. “Most of the nitty-gritty skills were self-taught after interpreting and misinterpreting old corset-making manuals from the early 1800s when I was in my late teens, early 20s.” With her refined DIY techniques, combined with practical training, and years of sweat equity, Dianna developed her own method of corset construction and is constantly evolving it to make her corsets stronger and more comfortable.
Citing ballet, biker culture, technology, nature, and her clients as her sources of inspiration, Dianna has the gift of seeing beauty in everything around her and interpreting that into the perfect corset. As to what’s next for Starkers Corsetry, Dianna coyly hints at the big things she has planned for the future, “I’ve been working on a new direction that I’ve been toying around with for a number of years, collaborating with my husband who has special expertise in certain mediums…that I will leave as surprise. Expect something that has never been done before with corsets!”
WORDS: MELISSA ALLEN
PHOTOS: SASS FRASER
HAIR & MAKEUP: NATALIE HEMUEL & LEXY ROBIDOUX
MODELS: DIANNA DINOBLE, KERTNEY LYNN RUSSELL & FAERY LEPIDOPTERA