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Herminie Cadolle

Herminie Cadolle (1845-1926)

Inventor of the modern bra and founder of the Cadolle lingerie house.

Herminie was a close friend of the French Insurrectionist Louise Michel[?], and it was this connection that lead her to leave for the saftey of Buenos Aires. Here, in 1887 Herminie opened a shop selling made to measure underware.

Returning to Paris in 1889, she opened a similar lingerie workshop on the street Chaussée d'Antin[?], where she invented a two-piece undergarment called le bien-être (the wellbeing). The lower part was a corset for the waist, the upper supporting the breasts by means of shoulder straps. She exhibited at the Great Exposition[?] in 1900, and by 1905 the upper half was being sold separately as a soutien-gorge (breast support), the name by which bras are still known in France.

Herminie became a fitter of bras to queens, princesses, dancers and actresses. Mata Hari was among her customers. She was also first to use cloth incorporating rubber (elastic) thread.

The Cadolle business is still going strong - see http://www.cadolle.com/

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