Check out the jaw-dropping structure built into this 50s-era gown from Charles James featured at Worn Through:
“The thing that intrigued me the most about looking inside the gown was its understructure and discovering the overlapping layers of 4-5” wide horsehair braid (used in millinery) used to create the stiffness required to maintain the shape of the understructure. So many different types of stiffening materials were used to create the armature upon which James draped his satins, velvets and taffetas, including the braid, boning, horsehair canvas and non-woven interfacing.”
It looks more like an exoskeleton than a piece of clothing. Amazing, but I can’t imagine what it felt like to wear.