Date: c. 1950s
Origin: United States
Fabric: Nylon satin
This unsual bra appears to have been a patent prototype rather than a product, although bears a similarity to the Peter Pan ‘Freedom Ring’ bra.
The garment is entirely machine stitched. It is constructed with nylon satin cups, each constructed of a single panel with two darts for shaping and gives a pointed bust shape. The bra band consists of two strips of elastic ending in hooks and eyes. Each cup is circle edged with a wire casing channel. The wire itself appears to be in a ‘∞’ shape: two circles joined at the centre. The wire is not flat, but rather slightly curved around the body. It is difficult to see how the centre of the garment is constructed, as it has been wrapped in a velvet ribbon. It is likely that the unusual wire shape would have been very difficult to successfully insert or stitch into the bra.
The bra label states ‘Patent Pending’ and ‘389-2 36′. The ’36’ likely refers to the size of the overbust measurement.
The garment has clearly had quite some wear, due to the discolouration and wear of the garment fabric, as well as the retrospective addition of velvet ribbon as padding at the centre front. The elastic underband has also greatly stretched out due to wear.
The combination of the very full cup and strapless shape would have made this quite a difficult bra to fit, requiring a very particular bust shape. Coupled with the stitching difficulties, it is perhaps unsurprising that the bra likely never made it to mass manufacturing.
From the collection of Karolina Laskowska