Since Spanx were invented in 2000, corsets of all sorts have never really gone out of fashion. Shape wear, whether it is flesh-compressing spandex or the more ancient technique of boning, is always present on red carpets. The question is whether or not you can see it.
At the 2022 Grammy awards, you could definitely see it.
Nominated for seven Grammys this year, Olivia Rodrigo made one of the boldest proclamations. Striking lines of pink shimmer ran down the ribcage of Rodrigo’s black satin gown, then jutted straight down the length of the skirt.
Looking more-or-less like a glow-in-the-dark skeleton suit, it advertised its frame-cinching interior right on the outside. The dress was made by one of this era’s unapologetic masters of boning, Vivienne Westwood.
Doja Cat wore crystals sprinkled over her corset, while Dua Lipa’s was an explicit nod to bondage, all black leather straps and gold buckles. Both gowns were made by Versace – though Dua Lipa’s was vintage, from 1992, while Doja Cat’s was custom made for the event.
Donatella Versace also made an instructive appearance. Her lime green gown had a peekaboo window that showed all the boning and compression undergarments needed to suck a waist right in.
Bringing Bridgerton to mind, rapper Saweetie’s Valentino two-piece kept its structural engineering work to the bust, compressing her cleavage into two perfect spheres.
The boning work on St Vincent’s frothing pink Gucci dress was a little less extreme, but still absolutely visible; while Chrissy Teigen’s gown, also luminously pink and ruffled, was voluminous everywhere but its ultra-tight waist.
Lil Nas X, whose taste in clothes runs as bold as his taste in memes, wore a panelled Balmain bolero embellished with pearls. Not quite a corset, but it came close.
Meanwhile, after arguably contributing to the corset fever with her 2021 Vogue cover, Billie Eilish chose to opt out by pulling an oversized black Rick Owens overcoat over the top of her head.
Justin Bieber also wore a giant jacket, albeit less successfully.
Perhaps the evening’s most surprising corset was worn by singer Halsey, who goes by they/them pronouns. Theirs was deep burgundy and patent, and surprising not for any particularly fashion detail, but because they had undergone surgery for endometriosis just four days prior.
They sensibly called it an early night, later posting to Instagram that they had removed the garment in favour of a T-shirt and a bowl of pasta.