A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Bra

A to Z of Innovations at Expos: Bra

As well as the many cutting-edge technologies introduced at Expos over the years, some more ordinary – but not less important – items of daily wear have also made their début, including the bra.

At the end of the 19th century, in the middle of La Belle Epoque, Herminie Cadolle was a young seamstress, with feminist and revolutionary ideals. She took issue with the widespread use of corsets by women, which often led to deformation of ribs and misalignment of the spine. This led Cadolle to cut the corset in half, freeing the body by protecting and supporting the breasts without pressing them: the corselet-gorge. It was comprised of two boned gussets tied at the front and supported by shoulder straps.

Cadolle first presented her creation in Paris at the time of World Expo 1889, obtained a French patent in 1898 and officially entered the bra into competition at World Expo 1900 Paris. The garment - named the bien-être (well-being) model for its revolutionary comfort - received a bronze medal, gaining recognition and contributing to a sustained boost in popularity that has never reversed.

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