Date: estimated to be 1940s
A sturdy satin bra with quilted paneling at the centre front, offering lift through this additional layer of structure. This stitch detail also offers aesthetic appeal with its Art-Deco-esque graphic patterning. Two very deep darts give a pointed shape to the bust, indicating the shift towards the dramatically pointed busts of the 1950s era and away from the more natural shapes of the 1930s.
This bra is sturdily constructed, with a single layer of heavy-weight satin throughout. The bottom hem is folded up and taped over with cotton bias tape, with the neck edge trimmed with bias cut satin. The bra is pattern cut from two pieces of fabric, joined with a centre seam and taped over with satin ribbon. This bra has a relatively rigid fit: only a small piece of wide elastic at the centre back closure offers any flexibility. The elastic is woven with a zigzag pattern with a crown frilled edge. The bra closes with a single, pale pink, plastic button stitched onto the elastic, with a cotton rouleaux loop stitched to the other side of the centre back.
This object was acquired with its original shop labels and packaging. The original cellophane wrapping was illustrated with an idealised female figure, emerging from an egg, in the brand’s products alongside the ‘Liberation’ logo. The egg motif is a little puzzling in this context, but the original brand advertising was accompanied by the phrase ‘La gaine qui nait’, translated approximately as ‘the girdle that’s being born’. It is possible that this alludes to ‘new beginnings’ after World War Two.
Both the interior garment label and outer paper sticker mark this bra as a size ‘100’, with an additional number ‘3706’ on the paper sticker that potentially refers to the style.
From the collection of Karolina Laskowska