Interview with Holly Swinburne of Holly Rafaela

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Name : Holly Catherine Rafaela Swinburne
Corset Brand : Holly Rafaela
Role : Designer/Maker
Country where you’re based : U.K.



How and when did you become interested in corsets?
Ive always had an interest in the silhouette of Victorian fashion since an early age but without really understanding how the silhouette was created, when I started a fashion design degree at university there was a corsetry taster module & from there I started to understand corsets & possibilities for embellishment & so on but it wasn’t till I interned then later on working for Jenni Hampshire at Sparklewren that I really fell in love with everything corsets 🙂 

How long have you been making / designing corsets?
I’ve only been making corsets since last year when I signed up to attend the conference in 2014 I knew I wanted to sign up to do a photoshoot so it was great motivation to start making corsets.
I attended the conference in 2015 after hearing wonderful things about the event since the first year so I booked in 2014 & it certainly didn’t disappoint I had a fabulous time I would recommend to anyone who even has a curiosity in corsetry. 

Where do you get your inspiration from for corsets?
At the moment I have a bit of an obsession with religious iconography, so architectural based silhouettes, ornate & heavy embellishment & rich colours. I tend to lean to the dark gothic fantasy side. 

What was your first/favourite corset like?
My first corset is the ‘Trinity’ its nickname is the catholic goth corset, heavily embellished with Czech glass spikes, vintage swarvoski, hand painted lace, titanium Quartz, I think it was a corset I wanted to show how many different types of embellishment I could use.

What kind/shape/era of corsets do you prefer?
I tend to like a conical rib with a curvy full hip


What 3 tips would you give to corset newbies?
Just experiment & do something you want to do there’s no limitations 

Do you have any favourite fellow corsetieres?
I’m friends with a lot of corsetieres & I think everyone brings something new to corsetry whether that be construction or embellishment or silhouette.

Any pets? What’s their silliest quirk if so?
I have two cats one is quite a character he likes to chase dogs often comes back after a couple of days sporting a new scar & one time he came back with a dog collar I don’t know what happened to the dog… Haha, my other cat is quite boring in comparison but still just as beautiful. 

Favourite things right now?
You know I’m not really one for quotes. I do like melancholy, dystopia fantasy movies/books also detective crime books, I can’t bear romantic comedies I prefer a good thriller/horror as long as it’s nothing to do with ghosts! 

Instagram @hollyrafaela
Facebook holly Rafaela

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Fabulously eccentric actress, TV host, curvaceous model and creator of Hong Kong’s first luxury corset brand Pearls & Arsenic. Celebrating everyday elegance, beauty & inspiration on instagram. My Dearest Beloved and I live with a fluffy Angora rabbit named Lord Pemberly III who is a ridiculous snob, and his dwarf-lop brother The Earl of Tillington who may be a sociopath. Join me to explore corseting on my Pearls & Arsenic youtube channel or step through Periscope’s looking glass into my world – Raven Tao.

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