'Retro Dot' Tulle Underwired Bra By Cadolle

'Retro Dot' Tulle Underwired Bra By Cadolle, c. 2010s, France. The Underpinnings Museum. Photography by Tigz Rice

Date: c. 2010-2014

Origin: France

Fabric: Nylon tulle, stretch nylon mesh

Brand: Cadolle


Although created in the 2010s, this Cadolle bra drew on their long history as a lingerie manufacturer. The bra is made of a black, dotted synthetic fabric, with underwires and darted cups with a central horizontal seam. Illustrations in Women’s Wear Daily show a similar shape of bra from Cadolle in 1934, although without the underwire and center gore which appear to have been introduced later.

The retro-styled lingerie look had been growing in popularity in fashion since Vivienne Westwood’s collection “Nostalgia of the Mud” where she showed pointed, brown satin bras on the outside of some of her looks. Building on Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier also drew significant inspiration from the pointed bras of the 1940s and 1950s, which made an impact on popular culture through the Madonna’s controversial “bullet bra”-inspired costumes he designed for her 1990 “Blonde Ambition” tour. By 2010, retro lingerie styling was particularly fashionable for magazine editorials and high fashion runway collections, such as John Galliano’s Autumn/Winter 2009-2010 couture collection for Christian Dior.

The Cadolle design house was founded by Hermine Cadolle in 1878, originally a shop that specialised in made-to-measure undergarments. Hermine is often credited with designing the first modern bra in 1889, although this is often contested.  The brand continues to this day, and is now headed by Poupie Cadolle, the fifth generation of the family to run the eponymous brand.


Many thanks to Caroline Elenowitz-Hess for the object description and research.

From the collection of The Underpinnings Museum

Museum number: UM-2020-005


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