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Early 19th century

Early 19th century

In the mid-18th century we hear a first mention of female lingerie as we know it today, for which companies like FELINA with a history of more than 120 years also take credit.
Corsets, crinolines and bustles are terms every woman was familiar with from 1810 to 1870. Fashion-conscious women favoured the “wasp waist” which they achieved with tight lacing and “mechanical corsets”. Around 1870 the artificially padded silhouette shifted to the back with the basket-like bustle creating the coveted “cul de Paris”, which is considered highly erotic.
In the last third of the 19th century lingerie became increasingly luxurious. Fine Dutch linen or batiste, embroidery and lace, heart-shaped openings and crochet trimmings. Creativity seemed boundless. The art of “whitework embroidery” was born.
The corset, which had hitherto served exclusively to shape the figure, soon received an added stylish accent in suspenders to hold up stockings, which are still popular today.

 

Late 19th century

Late 19th century

The typical silhouette of the year 1900 showed a woman with a completely flat stomach – or better with a concave stomach but emphasised bust and protruding rear. As of 1910 the lower body was gradually constrained into a straight line.
An excursion into the history of industrialisation shows that until the 1840s corsets were manually sewn by corset-makers out of pre-cut pieces of fabric. Serial production only started then, coupled with weaving the corsets on a handloom. As of 1850 the sewing machine became popular in Germany.
The French were the pioneers of industrial corset-making. The first corset factories in Germany emerged only a short while later, around the mid-19th century. And one of them was a factory in Bad Rappenau, which was founded in 1885 and later became known as FELINA.
The first precursor of the brassiere was the French callimaste – fashioned out of elastic bandeaux and designed to be worn under a corset.
After World War I came the rise of the new – necessarily independent and working - woman. Women suddenly want to look like boys. Cami-knickers were the typical garment of the day. Busts were flattened by the first “brassieres”. The corset was partly replaced by the girdle.

 

Early 20th century

Early 20th century

The 1920s see the birth of the vamp – featuring a well-proportioned body with slim hips. As a basis this required round-shaped enhancing bras, the elastic panty girdle and figure-controlling corset. The girdle was an indispensable item, serving simultaneously to hold up stockings until the invention of tights.
World War II led to rationing and inventiveness. Foreign yarns like nylon and perlon entered the German market. Now the basics every women needed were a “brassiere” and girdle.

 

1960 until today

1960 until today

In the early 1960s the west German lingerie industry experienced a major boom. It employed 25,000 people – including 2,000 at FELINA alone. Lycra, the “miracle fibre”, the first tights and miniskirt were crucial inventions of the fashion industry.
The days when women preferred to purchase lingerie and especially corsetry anonymously and with a feeling of embarrassment, are thankfully long gone. In the past ten years corsetry and lingerie have increasingly  become fashion items. This is firstly due to our enlightened times and secondly to increasing body awareness.
The development of fashion towards designs that emphasise the body and und lower necklines have definitely contributed significantly to this trend. In addition, nowadays many full-busted young women are no longer shy to draw attention to their assets. Apart from fashion aspects  - from casual to lavishly embellished styles – customers increasingly want bras with a perfect fit. But apart from the desired function they reject any notion of frumpiness or yesteryear’s corsets.
Especially women with large cup sizes are well-informed about fashion and attach the utmost importance to comfort of wear. Of course, this does not rule out that they want bras that look stylish and meet high quality standards. Lingerie should not be constricting but pleasant to wear and create a feeling of well-being.