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BR Creations

Updated 8/20/15
We like to look back at our history of ROMANTASY particularly this past month of January, 2015 -- our 25th year in business -- and credit our first and most influential mentor, Ruth Johnson of BR Creations Corsetry.

Ruth was an inimitable presence in the corset world -- fairly and undoubtedly to be credited with the rebirth of corsetry in the US if not the world. We are gratified to have known and learned from Ruth, and proud to have represented her from 1990 until her retirement in 2004. We remained in touch with Ruth until her untimely passing in 2010.

There will never again be a more perfect, comfortable hourglass silhouette created or replicated as in her simple, underbust Victorian -- the quintessential "tight-lacing" corset often made in two simple layers of cotton-backed satin (no coutil in sight!) with velvet trim and only eight panel pieces.

Those of us owning one or more "BR corsets" are lucky indeed to have a valued and irreplaceable piece of corset history! One of her friends became Melodie Chan Doss, a sales assistant at the famed Britex Fabric Store in San Frnacisco, who said:

"Thanks for the walk through memory lane. Mrs. Johnson was my first major customer when I began my retail career at Britex. Whenever she shopped at the store, she always greeted me with a smile and left me with a little gem about fabrics and corsets. It was a privilege to meet her." Melodie (1/12/15)

* * * *

We were saddened on August 1, 2010 to learn of the passing of Ruth Johnson, a most unique and talented individual in the world of quality custom corsetmaking.

We attended a lovely memorial celebration of her life held in her home town of Mountain View, CA, and met her family and many friends from Ruth's wide ranging life experience and many associations. We were proud to stand and offer a brief verbal acknowledgment of Ruth's enormous, world-wide influence commencing twenty-five years ago in her second career in custom corsetry; her first was as a school teacher.


Hundreds and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of our ROMANTASY clients enjoyed Ruth's creations during fourteen years of our productive association with BR Creations commencing in 1990 when we opened our retail boutique in the Marina District of San Francisco. During the eight subsequent years in retail before going online, Ruth visited several times to present seminars on corsetry and tight-lacing, pictured below on such a visit. Therefore we were exceedingly disappointed to announce her retirement from our corsetmaking team on April 15, 2004.

Ruth remained in contact with us from time to time and offered her advice and encouragement. She often told us how much she valued the additional time she had to spend with her husband Lewis and their children and many grandchildren. Then we were later saddened to learn of the passing of Lew, pictured below standing left, at a small social gathering to honor Michael P. Garrod from London (seated), True Grace Corset Company.


Like Michael, also a very good ROMANTASY friend and team member who passed some years ago, Ruth was one of a rare handful of superb corsetmakers contributing in modern times to the rebirth of quality corset making, tight-lacing, and corset education in this country and abroad.

We are grateful to have known and learned from her. She initially influenced Ann's grand passion with the corset. Ann will ever more be proud of owning 19 of Ruth's inimitable and beautiful hourglass creations, many of them seen below. On one occasion while visiting with corset scholar David Kunzle, Professor of Art History at UCLA, Ann reached her personal best in tight-lacing wearing the pink brocade BR corset (below) at 19.5" (over measurement, 18.5" under corset) worn for two-and-a-half hours.

BR Creations corsets were well-known for creating the perfect hourglass-silhouette, for their durability and for their waist-training suitability. An overview of Ruth's manner of approaching and educating about corsetry and her corsets themselves, reveal an amazingly wide range of images from the extremely fetish to the extremely feminine. You may view this wealth of images below on this page and in her ROMANTASY photo gallery.

Ruth's quirky personality and mannerisms reflected the same juxtaposition of opposites, a delightful quality but sometimes frustrating, as well. After a few months of our association, we noted that above all Ruth loved and promoted the mystery surrounding corsets and tight-lacing! It was only after five years of our active association with her that one day Ruth revealed to Ann how garter ribbons were meant to be positioned and shaped, as part of the romantic history of the corset. (Apparently, Ann as well as others had to "earn" her right to know; do you know, too?) Ruth was slow to accept any student or client who was not a true corset enthusiast, devotee of quality and fit, or one willing to learn from her long experience. She was known to promptly refuse orders if the potential client did not reflect the high values and standards in which Ruth believed and which her corset-making quality reflected. Others who became her devoted clients and students, earned her respect in turn and thus benefited from Ruth's knowledge and suberb personal corset creations.


Because Ruth personally oversaw the finishing of each garment and took orders from around the world, clients waited patiently, sometimes for over a year, for her lovely products. The demands for her garments made her workload such that "only one style" was offered: under-the-bust, eight-panel, double outer-boned Victorian, notable diagonal front boning, typically with velvet binding although later Ruth entertained requests from ROMANTASY clients for satin binding. Typically Ruth's corsets were lined in cotton-backed satin, but no fabric was ever bonded or interfaced as far as we are able to determine. Still, the quality, fit, and durability of BR Corsets were superb, and diminish if not demolish some social-media discussions by corsetiere "newbies" about additional elements they feel are "necessary" to create quality corsetry.

Despite the limits of the pattern she would typically produce, Ruth would sometimes deliver a stunning corset heavily boned for more fetish wearing preferences, such as the blue cotton corset pictured left. This tall corset was constructed for a gentleman client, with seven double bone casings interspersed with eight single bone casings per side. The front length is 17.5".

Ruth licensed and made perfect the pattern that Fakir, an icon in the Bay Area fetish scene, had carefully worked out. She varied the eight-panel design for full-figure or extreme tight-lacing of fetish clients. Corsets were typically delivered with four wide ribboned garters per leg, but on one occasion, our client ordered and received nine garters per leg!

Our clients customized this single pattern using various colors, laces and trims, and fabrics which you can see on this page. Ruth offered exquisite leather creations and rolled piping to contrast with outer bone casings. She was exceedingly particular in choosing high quality cotton-backed satin and top quality velvet trims and braids to adorn a corset, plus used only double steel stays.


We hope you enjoy below photos of beautiful BR Creations corsets and in the BR Creations photo gallery and the many Kudos and Corset Kisses we have received about Ruth's creations over the years of our association, and about her untimely departure. You are invited to send comments and photos you would like included on this memorial page.

None of the corsets shown here are for sale, however from time to time we feature a few consignment BR Creations corsets for sale. It is always worth it to visit this page and other online corset venues, to keep an eye out for such treasures!

  • "Lovely (web) tribute to Ruth Johnson -- a good artist and person." David Kunzle (Professor of Art History, UCLA, 8/3/10)
  • "I'm sorry to hear Ruth's passing. I really hoped to meet Ruth someday. She seemed like an amazing woman and corsetiere. I really am sorry to hear of her passing." Jade Locke, corsetiere (Boulder, CO, 8/3/10)
  • "I'm sad to hear that yet an other corsetiere, Ruth Johnson, has left us. It was the corsets from Ruth (BR creations) which inspired me to start designing corsets over 30 years ago. I still have her little catalogue from that time. So sad sad sad." Jeroen van Der Klis (Amsterdam, 8/12/10)
  • "My condolences to ROMANTASY on loosing a fine corset maker, Ruth, and my condolences to Ruth's family on their loss. I am honored to have one of her corset creations in my collection." Sarah R. (Roseville, California, 8/4/10)
  • "My corset has arrived safe and well and it is just so beautiful! Ruth is a genius; it fits so well and gives me such a fantastic waist line especially when I get that extra inch in once I have seasoned it !! (I put it down to a little winter spreading at the waist line!!) I am wearing it at the moment lightly laced :-)) and feel so good, I just threw on the first skirt and top I could lay hands on and tried it on---oh, its just fantastic. Now I have to start thinking about outfits to go with it so as to really show off my curves. I think the fabric just has such a classy look. Enough, I could go on for ever !! :-)) Thank you so much." Abby (New Zealand, 10/19/01)
  • " I received the corsets today. HOLY #$%@^ I must humbly apologize. There is no comparison or custom with readymade corsets! These corsets are so comfortable, and yet, my corseted waistline is now 27" (I didn't even have to try to accomplish this). The best I could do with the off-the-peg was 28 " at a comfort level that doesn't even approach these corset. Kudos to Ruth! Forget this silly nonsense about ordering anymore off-the-peg. (I'll bet you knew/predicted this!). You know I'll be calling! You're the greatest!" Charlie (8/14/99)
  • "I was fit for my corset in September of 1996. I chose a black floral brocade BR Creations basic Victorian corset with extra stays that would provide about a 4-inch waist reduction. The hardest part was the waiting; it takes about 12 weeks, but my corset was completed right on time, 2 weeks before Christmas. Unpacking it with great excitement, I was not disappointed; it is LOVELY!"Judy (writing in 1998)
  • "Wow! Am so excited, this morning when I got up the postman knocked on our door delivering your parcel. I ripped it open immediately and nearly fainted when I tried on my new BR corset! It looks so gorgeous! Can't wait to wear it out. Am running around in it already the whole day..." Susanne, Melbourne, Australia (10/26/98)
  • "It's been a week now and I am VERY happy with my BR Corset. While I have been trying to follow your directions, a custom made corset is so wonderful that I find myself wanting to go too fast. I am VERY happy with my figure and the way I look now. Thanks!" Jasmine (8/99)
BR Creations-Ruth Johnson
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