Date: c. 1950s
Origin: United Kingdom
A pair of high-leg knickers with built in suspenders, rising to the natural waist. There are numerous unusual features to this garment which suggest that these were not intended for everyday wear, but were potentially used by a performer.
The main fabric is a heavy-weight, floral-patterned, jacquard woven viscose, not entirely dissimilar to the fabrics used in corsets or girdles of the era. There is no stretch or give to this fabric whatsoever. At the front of the knickers there is a V-shaped panel with decorative quilting, lined on the interior with herringbone weave cotton. The gusset is lined with more of the floral-patterned viscose.
There is a centre back seam, covered with viscose bias tape. Panels of heavy-weight elastic are placed in the side seams, allowing a small amount of adjustability to the otherwise unforgiving fit of these knickers. The left side of the knickers has a row of 4 hooks and eyes, stitched into cotton tape. The side seams and waist edge of the garment are folded in and taped over with cotton bias tape. The legline has a layer of pleated sheer nylon overlock stitched, folded in and topstitched.
The brand label contains the logo ‘Mondaine’, size 27 (which the original knicker waist measurement would have been equivalent to in inches). They also state ‘Made In England’.
The knickers have been customised. One side panel of elastic has been folded in at an angle and zigzagged over, to take in the waist of the garment to fit. The suspender straps have all been hand-stitched at the waist line and legline. These are comprised of a top part of plush-backed, crown edged, satin tape which is then zigzag stitched to a piece of elastic. This elastic has a metal adjuster stamped with ‘Sphene’, with a suspender grip that is backed onto fabric with a rubber tab. A cotton label has been hand-stitched into the centre back of the knickers, with hand written text that appears to say ‘ROCKLAND KJ975’.
From the collection of Karolina Laskowska