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Seattle corset maker gives undercover support to Hollywood and Broadway

Period Corsets keeps period dramas like "1883" and "Dickinson" in great shape. #k5evening

SEATTLE — There’s a shop tucked in a basement in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood that has created corsets for Fergie, Madonna, and Victoria's Secret. Their corsets have appeared on stage and screen.

But Period Corsets had to change it up when the pandemic hit — and the entertainment industry shut down.

"We are making masks now,” said owner Hilary Specht. “Our business changed overnight and then we just kept adding different shapes of masks, different materials, different ear loops, fun patterns for kids.”

This creator of bespoke corsets began reluctantly with the whole mask thing, but they had the materials and the skill to make them quickly, they researched how to make fabric masks that worked, and the new business plan took off — especially after they posted a photo of Hilary’s daughter wearing a Period Corsets-made Super Mario mask on their website.  

“That's when it just went off the hook,” said Specht.

Making masks kept everyone here sewing — and employed — through the pandemic.

And now that the entertainment industry is back, Period Corsets is busy making their mainstay again, thanks to those period dramas we're all binging:

  • The cast of Apple TV's "Dickinson" wears Period Corsets.
  • They're making corsets and petticoats for HBO's "The Gilded Age."
  • Regina King wore a Period Corset in Netflix's revisionist western "The Harder They Fall."
  • And the corsets, petticoats, and bustle-pads for the Paramount+ "Yellowstone" prequel "1883" are from Period Corsets.
  • Touring companies of Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, and The King and I have danced and sung in Period Corsets. 

Often, their work is never seen.

“You can't have a period costume and not have the right undergarment, it won't hang the same way it won't fit the same way, it won't look right,” said Sara Lanzillotta, Period Corsets’ office manager.  

It's cause for celebration when their underwear becomes outerwear.

"Sometimes, and for '1883' in particular, they sent us their own fabric and we did make four identical corsets and usually when that happens it gives us a little hint that hopefully possibly it might show up on the screen because they went through the extra effort to make it pretty,” said Lanzillotta. “I'm keeping a watch for that corset. It might be just three seconds but that's our three seconds of glory and we cheer, we were on tv!"

Credit: Period Corsets

That corset did make an on-screen appearance in "1883's" trailer and one of the episodes — being worn by Faith Hill. 

Credit: Paramount +
Faith Hill in 1883 wearing a corset made by Period Corsets.

But whether what they make is a wardrobe star or a behind-the-scenes player, the crew at Period Corsets is content knowing they support the arts.

"Our big tagline is ‘corsets undercover’ because we're giving the foundation, we're giving the shaping in the proper silhouette,” said Lanzillotta.

KING 5's Evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.