Herminie Cadolle

1845 - 1926

Herminie Cadolle was a French inventor of the modern bra and founder of the Cadolle Lingerie House. Cadolle was born, raised, and lived much of her early life in France. She was a close friend of the insurrectionist Louise Michel, who participated in the Paris Commune of 1871. Fearing state repression after the murderous defeat of the Commune uprising, Cadolle and her family fled for safety to Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1887, Cadolle opened a shop selling made-to-measure underwear. In 1889, Cadolle returned to Paris where she opened a similar lingerie workshop. There, she invented a two-piece undergarment. The lower part was a hybrid-corset for the waist and the upper supported the breasts by means of shoulder straps. Cadolle exhibited her invention at the Great Exposition of 1900 and by 1905 the upper half was being sold separately as modern-day bras.
Corsets had been briefly unpopular during the French Revolution of 1789, when they were associated with the aristocracy, but soon they returned to prominence as the political mood settled again. From the middle of the 19th century, gradually, the corset came under more and more criticism.
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