The Prince and the Pauper



Olga Potaeva


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Model: Aleksandra Ursul

Outline the story …

I have a stupid habit from my deep childhood, I love to return over and over again to my favourite movies, series, games, concerts, and of course books. Someone will consider it a waste of time, but for me it is a point of power and research of myself. I’m deeply convinced that one can step in the same river twice, because people change really dramatically sometimes. And it’s fantastic how much perception varies from time to time. One of such books that follows me my whole life is Mark Twain's “The Prince and the Pauper”. When I was a child, I was mesmerized by fine illustrations by the Merited Artist of Russia Anatoly Itkin (I shared them in my instagram). I’m sure that these detailed historically accurate pictures influenced my current passion for corsetry and historical recreation among others.

My beautiful model embodies two characters of this novel at the same time, whose destinies are closely intertwined, Tom Canty, a pauper who lives his difficult life on Pudding Lane in London, and son of Henry VIII of England, Edward Tudor, the Prince of Wales. They looked like twins and switched places by accident. I tried to play with this duality in our photoshoot. Ornaments on the corset refer to the recognizable patterns of the Tudor dynasty. Each portrait of Henry VIII recreates the same lines every single time, so I replicated them in my design. I prepared four embroidered panels on each hip and one along the top edge.

Outline the construction…

I tried to achieve the luxury look of the royal costume, so silk velvet was the choice. For the same purpose works color combination of powder pink, scarlet red and pink gold. Corset is made of soft corsetry mesh covered with the thinnest dotted tulle — truly delicate but tricky combination. To accentuate features of Tudor era fashion, I needed a construction with separate hip panels. So my choice fell on ref E drafted by Joëlle Verne from Atelier Sylphe. And this part was one of the most challenging. Original pattern has measurements 102 cm in bust and 75 cm in waist. I did some serious alterations to make it work for my model, and I love how dramatic the silhouette turned out.
Another thing that changed really strongly is the result of my work in comparison with the first sketches. I had an intention to make a garment fully covered with velvet relief, but all the trials didn’t satisfy me. Moreover, the main idea was to recreate puffed sleeves of Tudor period in hip panels of the corset. But it made my corset look rather masqueradish than kingly, so in the last two days before the deadline I made a volitional decision to refuse the conceptual part of my entry and leave it plain and boring but delicate and couture. As a finishing touch I used my most favourite trick of all times — invisible flossing, this time in viscose thread. And a crown brooch as a charming accessory.




  1. Avatar Charlotte on March 11, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    Absolutely stunning. I particularly like the contrast between the red velvet and the dobby tulle.

    • Avatar Olga Ggis on March 24, 2021 at 6:25 pm

      Thank you! That dobby tulle is one of my absolute favourites, amazing material to deal with.

  2. Avatar Gabrielle Amey on March 12, 2021 at 2:58 am

    This is gorgeous!

    • Avatar Olga Ggis on March 24, 2021 at 6:25 pm

      Thank you, Gabrielle!

  3. Avatar Amanda on March 13, 2021 at 1:25 am

    I love all the little details!

    • Avatar Olga Ggis on March 24, 2021 at 6:26 pm

      Details are everything. Thank you!

  4. Avatar Carly Van Groeningen on March 13, 2021 at 10:32 am

    Stunning work as always! I love the delicacy of the overall look, and the intricacy of your beading is so perfect.

    • Avatar Olga Ggis on March 24, 2021 at 6:27 pm

      Beading always works great in corsetry, thank you so much!

  5. Avatar Rebecca on March 15, 2021 at 2:25 am

    That crown brooch is adorable. And I think you really did capture the quality of Russian folk costume, in the palette and the pretty ornaments. Good luck! (from icarus!)

    • Avatar Olga Ggis on March 24, 2021 at 6:31 pm

      I didn’t try to make it look like Russian folk costume, but you’re definitely right. Thank you so much for sharing this observation!

  6. Avatar Effi on March 15, 2021 at 4:10 pm

    This is breathtaking!
    I always like translucent materials and combined with a usually tough item as a corset? Fall in love!
    The details only add to this! Really a stunning piece!

    • Avatar Olga Ggis on March 24, 2021 at 6:32 pm

      Awww, thank you for your lovely comment! I love this combination too.

  7. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 17, 2021 at 1:25 pm

    This is very regal indeed! I love the richness and details. Beautiful job!

    • Avatar Olga Ggis on March 24, 2021 at 6:33 pm

      I really tried to make it look regal, thank you so much!

  8. Avatar Katie Hernandez on March 17, 2021 at 5:52 pm

    Bravo! I love the embroidery, beads, and flossing. The choice to use a translucent material is bold and definitely deserves to be acknowledged. Beautiful job!

    • Avatar Olga Ggis on March 24, 2021 at 6:33 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words!

  9. Avatar Damaris Luhn on March 20, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    This is such a stunning piece, Olga. And it is beautiful in such a fragile and elegant way. Can’t really put into words how it feels looking at it, but just wow. And your work is flawless as ever… perfection <3

    • Avatar Olga Ggis on March 24, 2021 at 6:35 pm

      Awww, you are so sweet, Damaris, thank you so much! I’m a huge fan 😉

  10. Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 26, 2021 at 11:52 pm

    Red and baby pink go SO well together and anyone who disagrees can fight me XD Even thought the corset didn’t turn out like you planned at first, it’s still an incredible piece of art! I would love to see this in an editorial in Vogue or something, very chic!

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