Date: c. 1955
Origin: Great Britain
A white, boned corselette with underwired cups and four elastic suspender straps. The tops of the bra cups are trimmed with lace and the bottom edge has narrow, white ruffle trim. The back closes with a hook-and-eye closure.
Although Kestos was one of the most innovative and distinctive lingerie brands from the late 1920s into the early 1940s, by the 1950s their much-imitated signature style was no longer fashionable and they had to adjust to follow the new dominant fashion trends. Kestos’ simple, unstructured bras and suspender belts had been ideal for the “natural” look and delicate uplift suited to body-skimming, bias-cut styles of the 1930s. Following the Second World War, however, new ideals of fashion and beauty had come to the fore that relied on much more structured undergarments. Following Christian Dior’s 1947 collection that was dubbed the “New Look,” women turned to undergarments that would give them a narrow, cinched waist and an hourglass figure, aided by boned garments like this corselette.
This piece was part of Kestos’ 1955 “Moonlight” collection, which they advertised as “for enchanted evenings” in Harper’s Bazaar’s UK edition. The Kestos lingerie brand had been founded in 1925 in London by Rosamond Lilian Klin. It was best known for the ‘Kestos’ style bra (patented in 1926, and arguably one of the first commercially produced bra with separated cups). Alongside their iconic bra, the Kestos brand produced a full range of lingerie and even swimwear. However, by the late 1950s, the brand had faded from popularity, as other brands came to prominence by better capturing the new look of the moment.
Many thanks to Caroline Elenowitz-Hess for the object description and research.
From the collection of Karolina Laskowska