A brassiere is a woman’s undergarment that supports her breasts. It is commonly referred to as a bra. The tradition of wearing bikini-like garments, for female athletes, dates back to Minoan civilisation which flourished on the island of Crete up until approximately 1450 BC. Though there is evidence of the existence of bras at various times down through the centuries it was not until the late 19th century that the first modern bra was designed.
French native Herminie Cadolle opened a lingerie boutique in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her business grew rapidly and became popular with the wealthy and fashionable women of Buenos Aires. Industrial exhibitions were popular at the time and in 1889 the Exposition Universelle was held in Paris. The Eiffel Tower had been built specially for the occasion. Cadolle attended and exhibited her latest designs which included her new invention, the bra, which she initially called the ‘corselet gorge’.
Since that time countless other designs have emerged. However large scale commercial production did not take place until the 1930’s. Today bras of every imaginable type from fashion to sport are produced in what has become a huge industry dominated by large multinational corporations. Poupie Cadolle, the fifth generation of the CADOLLE family still runs the business on the Rue Cambon in Paris.
Herminie Cadolle was granted a patent for the brassiere in the year 1889 On This Day.