Elizabeth (Sisi), Empress of Austria was rumoured to have an 19″ waist – it was the result of rigerous dieting and incredible tight corseting*. And because Sisi was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time other women followed her example. Hours were spent encased in whalebone and stays tightly bound by lacing. It was not unknown for pregnant women to still wear corsets up until a month or less before their “encouchment”. Everyone wanted to have that 19″ waist.
Back in 1898 Herr Prof. Heinrich Lahmann , an early advocate of diet, exercise and loose clothing as being health improving, looked at those whalebone corsets and the damage they could do. This book that he published in 1898, now in the Museum of German History – shows what they did to the lungs, liver, stomach, intestines and bladder.
The normal placement of major internal organs.
All in the name of beauty and fashion! Plus ça change, plus c’est pareil! as we say in French.
*It should be noted that Sisi’s tight corseting prevented her from realizing she had been stabbed on that fateful day in 1898 when she was assassinated.
20 novembre – I Santi Avventore, Ottavio e Solutore