Date: c. 1950s
Origin: United States
Brand: Odette Barsa
A fitted black nylon half slip, intricately embellished with machine sewn red nylon scrolling appliqué and motifs of corded lace.
Odette Barsa was born in Damascus, Syria, and emigrated to the USA. Following the stock market crash of 1929 and financial difficulties, she began a lingerie manufacturing business in the 1930s. The business had small beginnings, with Odette herself originally designing, cutting and even fit modelling the products. The brand was a success, with actresses such as Rita Hayworth wearing the designs, and features in magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue.
Odette used many luxurious imported fabrics in her designs, such as European laces and embroideries. She is also credited with popularizing the ‘ballerina’ length skirt. She continued to design for the brand into the 1960s and passed away in 1975. The brand continued to be run for a while under her two sons. An interview with Odette’s daughter Nadia Barsa Bardwil Gerrity can be read here.
From the collection of Karolina Laskowska