Date: c. 1930s
Fabric: Cotton bobbinet, silk satin
This bra is a luxurious and detailed interpretation of the ‘Kestos’ bra style. The base of cotton bobbinet tulle is lavishly embellished with floral and botanical motifs, appliquéd in silk satin. The shoulder straps are crafted from silk satin, and the wraparound underbust strapping uses a knitted buttonhole elastic, attaching to the main bra with delicate mother-of-pearl buttons. The button plackets at the underbust are made from silk-velvet. A channel at the interior centre front of the bra encases a draw string, allowing the wearer to ruche this area according to their preference. The bra is stitched with a mix of machinery and delicate hand work.
A label is stitched to the back left side of the bra, displaying the brand logo ‘Maryvon’ and its location, Paris. The label includes the additional text of ‘M.D.’ and ‘BREVETE SGDG’. ‘M.D.’ is an abbreviation of the phrase ‘Modèle déposé’, meaning registered design. ‘BREVETE SGDG’ is an abbreviation of ‘Breveté Sans Garantie Du Gouvernement’, meaning a patent without government guarantees. Regretfully, no information can be found about the Maryvon brand at this time.
The Kestos bra design 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 original style 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’, and inspired many copies and imitations.
From the collection of Karolina Laskowska