Origin: United States
Fabric: Silk crepe and embroidered tulle outer. Coutil, elastic and steel boned interior.
Brand: Redfern, possibly produced for Warner’s
This garment has a deceiving appearance: the exterior is built as a lightweight silk crepe slip, incorporating a fitted bust and flared godets at the skirt of elaborate Schiffli embroidered tulle. The darted bustline offers gentle lift, moving towards the fashionable bust silhouette of the 1930s and away from the flattened bandeau styles of the 1920s. It is cut with a low back, and rayon satin suspender straps are finished with small strips of elastic for rare fit flexibility (indeed, stretch shoulder straps didn’t become a standard feature of lingerie until the late 1950s). A fine cotton lace trims the neckline and hem of the slip. However, the side hook and eye fastening and visible elastic panels betray the heavyily structured interior.
An integrated girdle is constructed out of firm cotton coutil, heavy elastic ‘lastex’ panelling and steel bones, streamlining and shaping the body invisibly, with the exterior silk slip concealing the lines of the heavy foundationwear. Originally the girdle incorporated a detachable gusset to further anchor the girdle to the body (unfortunately long lost from this garment). 4 suspender straps are incorporated into the girdle, made of luxuriously frilled and patterned elastic, with decorative adjusters and satin ribbon flashes covering the suspender grips.
The Redfern corsetry brand is not to be confused with the luxury clothing company of the same name, which operated during the same time period. Redfern produced foundationwear from approximately the turn of the 20th century through to approximately the 1940s. It is difficult to determine whether the brand was a division of foundationwear manufacturer Warner’s, or that they simply licensed their products for sale through the brand. Surviving advertising material shows Redfern products sold through Warner’s and a number of other retailers.
From the collection of Karolina Laskowska