A corset is often associated with women clothing but not so in Southern Sudan. The women wear the corset in the form of a lace around the neck region (Alual) while the men wear the corset (Manlual) which is sewn around the upper body.
The Dinka tribe of Southern Sudan has been inspiring the global fashion scene since the 90’s with their renowned Dinka corset. The first notable appearance of the Dinka corset was in Christian Dior’s 1997 campaign.
HISTORY AND TRADITION.
The Dinka corset, traditionally called the Manlual, is worn by men to indicate their wealth in the community (usually calculated by the size of their herd). The corsets are made of colorful beads and are sewn around a young Dinka boy at a very early age. He never takes it off and as he grows older and richer; more beads are sown and woven at the back of the corset on the body even as he continues to wear it. The richer he is, the higher the back of the corset. The Manlual is only taken off after marriage. It is therefore normal for the male to wear their corset for about 20 years before ever taking it off.
The Dinka traditionally view the body as a focal point for artistic expression and what better way to be expressive than adorn one’s body with carefully crafted pieces like these beaded corsets. In the past, the corset was seen as a form of restriction for women, for men it was to signify age, wealth and ethnic affiliation.
IMPACT ON FASHION
The beauty of the Dinka corsets has influenced fashion and costume designs worldwide. Interpretations of the Dinka corset have been worn by characters in the musical stage adaptation of world reknown animated film “THE LION KING”. As well as this, the prominent fashion house Christian Dior adapted the dexterity and bold design behind these corsets to create pieces for his Haute Couture 1997 collection.
Fashion is and always will be a unique phenomenon of humanity. It affects not only our material culture but also music, architecture,theatre and daily lives of people all over the world. It also helps us to grasp and understand history.
The past influences and moulds us and makes us who we are today. Fashion always repeats itself and thats why without a past we have nothing to go by, alter or look back on.Elements from the past will always come back again into the present society and this is always a consideration to contemporary designers. You could say that the past is the core to our designs but it changes when given a contemporary twist.The catwalks are full of previous trends re-appearing. Not only has the corset crept its way back onto catwalks again but it has slowly changed to a piece of clothing that can be worn as an undergarment, as casual wear, evening gown or lingerie for females.
History is important to contemporary designers for many reasons; for example; the world and society never stays the same, something is always taking place in the world, technology improves and our way of life changes and all these have to be taken into consideration by contemporary designers.
This extraordinary beaded corset is a rare piece that forms a most prized possession among the Dinka tribe. A corset was a symbol of status, age and wealth.The blue and red corsets here is an indication of the young dinka females between the ages of 15-25, its also a symbol of eligiblity for marriage.
It is an original work of art with outstanding craftmanship. Very rare to find this two pieces together, it would be a great addition to a collector’s historical pieces or an artful decoration for a home owner who has a penchant for unique and authentic African cultural materials. At www.kezhiafields.com we are delighted to offer you yet another great and unique item from Africa
Be inspired to buy this corset!!