The Garment that Made a Fashion Designer

December 2, 2007 • Magazine

The Garment that Made a Fashion Designer

The Garment that Made a Fashion Designer

Sun, 2007-12-02 09:00

Bonnie J Brown

2007, the year of the bra, is coming to a close! Whether you’ve been celebrating it all year, or this is the first you’re hearing about it, it is important to note that 2007 is the 100 year anniversary of the brassiere. While there had been bra styles a-plenty long before the term was bandied about, it was in 1907 when Vogue magazine featured the very first advertisement for the modern day brassiere. Mind you, the term “modern day” is used in only the loosest of forms here; if you have ever found yourself (or someone close to you) struggling to clasp or unclasp the contraption we call a bra, just imagine how difficult it would have been to get out of the “proto-bra” designed by Mortimer Clarke, the multiple straps held everything in place, including your skirt. While the garment has changed drastically over the years (thankfully so) the purpose remains the same…lift and separate. So, in the weeks before the year of the bra is over, what better way to celebrate every woman’s favorite and least favorite garment than to look back at the designer who took the bra from under the blouse and put it on the runway; none other than couture classic…Jean Paul Gaultier.

It was 1990 and Madonna had been on the airwaves for almost 10 years, but instead of being a “Material Girl” with fans draping themselves in an abundance of silks, satins, laces, and faux diamonds Madonna fans were now “Vogue-ing” wearing nothing but a pointed bra and a sport coat – confident and sure that it was the epitome of fashion – wearing the ultimate feminine garment paired with the masculine-cut jacket was the perfect juxtaposition that later came to define the fashions of the early 90’s. It was this combination that Madonna loved and is the reason why she chose French designer, Jean Paul Gaultier, to design the costumes she wore during her Blonde Ambition Tour.

While Gaultier has created a long lasting name for himself in the fashion industry that goes well beyond his basque and bra set of the early 90’s, he expanded into a career as one of the few true couture designers. We still remember Gaultier as the designer to bring the bra into the fashion lime light, and may have even acted as catalyst for the success of the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion shows, which debuted in 1995. And while his fashions currently don’t have the bra as the center of his designs, the undergarment may still influence him today, even if it’s only a little bit. For now, a little bit is more than enough for me; I’m more than happy to keep my bra underneath my top; at least for another year.

A. Mortimer Clarke, 1907

B. Madonna in Gaultier

C. Jean Paul Gaultier

D. & E. Madonna Blond Ambition Tour

See the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40

Leave a Reply