Floral Printed Rayon Kestos Style Bra

Floral Printed Rayon Kestos Style Bra, c. 1930s, USA. The Underpinnings Museum. Photography by Tigz Rice

Date: c. 1930s

Origin: USA

Fabric: Rayon

Brand: Unknown

 

A soft cup style bra based on the ‘Kestos’ bra of the late 1920s. The original design was patented in 1926 and the bra was arguably one of the first commercially produced bras with seperated cups. It marked the shift in ideal body aesthetic from the flattened bust of the 1920s to the more voluptuous ideal of the 1930s.

The Kestos bra is based on two, lightly darted triangle cups, overlapping at the centre front. Elasticated straps cross at the centre back, fastening around the front with buttons underneath the bust point. The bra was designed by Rosamond Lilian Klin in London, England. The Kestos bra remained popular through the 1930s and 1940s. Although the Kestos brand produced many different styles, this bra shape became generically known as ‘The Kestos’.

This particular bra is not an authentic branded Kestos, but was most likely a copy by a competing brand. It is not a particularly luxurious rendition of the style, and is crafted from a floral printed woven rayon. The underbust straps are partially made of cord elastic, which is adjustable with celluloid components. The original Kestos design was not adjustable, and relied purely on the stretch of the elastic for its fit. The shoulder straps are not adjustable, and are created from strips of the woven rayon fabric.

 

From the collection of Karolina Laskowska

Museum number: KL-2020-028

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