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Rachael Reichert’s Ghoul Couture
Posted by richard | June 4, 2012

If you’ve ever wondered what a grown-up Wednesday Addams or Lydia Deetz might be wearing under their ghastly frocks, then look no further.

The new collection of corsets and accessories from indie designer Rachael Reichert offers bold, Halloween-ready outfits that wouldn’t look out of place in an adult version of Beetlejuice or The Addams Family.

Rachael’s fourth collection is called Ethical Luxury and it’s noteworthy for both its highly original styles and its designer’s commitment to producing eco-sensitive garments.

All of the items in this substantial collection are made using only certified organic cotton, fair trade hemp silk and reclaimed vintage fabrics. Rachael uses only American steel in her corset boning and vintage ribbons for corset laces and — get this — produces a one-of-a-kind thread lace that is “created from the extra threads I cut off the end of each machine stitch.” Now that‘s a commitment.

Cobweb corset and Sacrifice dress

Many readers will remember Rachael Reichert from our earlier profile back in January, when she was seeking financing for her new line: Ethical Luxury is the result of that effort and the payoff for those who supported her.

And what a payoff. Ethical Luxury is packed with ghoulish goodies, from Rachael’s signature corsets to belts, robes, jackets, bustiers, neck pieces, headdresses, garter belts and more.

It’s also an outstanding example of what’s possible in the world of alternative fashion, given enough determination and creativity. Rachael — who bankrolled the collection with an appeal through the micro-finance website Kickstarter — is living proof you don’t need venture capital, an offshore factory or a Manhattan address to get your garments to market. Instead, she makes everything by hand in her Ithaca, N.Y. studio and sells through Etsy.

Ethical Luxury is the kind of costumey, black-and-white range that Rachael has produced in the past, but this time taken to a new level of originality and technical achievement. Here’s her Asymmetrical Corset, a good example of the fearless and dramatic styling she aims for:

As you can imagine, this piece won’t go under anything. Wear it loud and proud and expect plenty of comments.

The collection was inspired by three fictional goddesses — Muse, Memory and Manifestation — and includes several unusual pieces.

For example, the Muse range includes a romper-corset combo and matching bolero-like jacket, while the Manifestation range offers a bustier-corset and a dramatic matching black silk robe (main photo above).

You’ll also find plenty of amusing details: the Tails corset (below) really does come with tuxedo-like tails, while the Memory Goddess corset has a matching ruffled collar that creates a real statement ensemble.

Ethical Luxury should appeal to fans of goth alt-fashion or anyone who digs the Dark Shadows ambiance and Bride of Frankenstein motifs that run through Rachael’s styling.

But there’s a lot more going on here than just ghoulish costumes. Have a look at the vintage lace Sacrifice dress above and you’ll see the work of a real artist creating one-of-a-kind collector’s items.

It’s hard to overstate the amount of work and the degree of artistry that goes into a collection of this size from an indie designer. Rachael estimates she spent about 2,500 hours over six months on the project, which also includes a very theatrical video of a performance held this spring to launch the collection (below). Even Rachael herself calls the collection “an extreme endeavour”.

“I sacrifice myself to to the Goddesses for the collection and the show,” she said. “Then with the completion of the project, I am reborn and rewarded with the fruit of my efforts.”

Here are some items from Rachael Reichert‘s new Ethical Luxury collection. You can see more on her Facebook page and shop in her Etsy store.

Manifestation bustier-corset
Priestess corset
Tails corset
Corset romper and jacket
Muse Goddess corset
Memory Goddess corset, slip and collar

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