Date: c. 1900s
Brand: 100.000 Corsets
Inside this catalogue for the brand ‘Aux 100,000 Corsets,’ founded circa 1890, are twelve corset models exemplifying the height of fashion during the early twentieth century. Unlike most nineteenth-century corsets, none of these models encompass the bust, focusing their structural support at the waist and hips while providing jarretelles (suspenders or garters) for stockings. This silhouette is described underneath model No. 7076 as ‘new shape, maintaining the hips and leaving the bust all its flexibility.’
The picturesque cover of this catalogue for 100,000 Corsets was illustrated by Henri Gerbault. It depicts a woman of fashion undressing by a pond while glancing coyly at the viewer. Another illustration within the catalogue, by another artist (signature indiscernible), shows the interior of a 100,000 Corsets location as prospective buyers admire the corsets styled on mannequins with other lingerie.
The front page of the catalogue lists the brand’s nine maisons: eight of which were in located in the city of Paris and one in Versailles. A labeled map is also included within the catalogue, with the reassurance that ‘whatever district of Paris you live in, you are close to 100,000 Corsets.’ Provincial clients were reminded that they could order corsets by supplying a number of measurements, including busk height and the circumference of the waist, bust, and hips.
Copy within the catalogue insists the brand was famous for its motto: ‘Bon Marché, Elégance, Solidité’ (‘Inexpensive, Elegance, Solidity’). It is possibly this ‘undeniable notoriety’ which led a different company to use the brand name in the city of Nice, resulting in a lawsuit during the early 1920s.
Many thanks to Summer Lee for the object description and research.
From the collection of Karolina Laskowska