Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hanky Panky launches online store

released: October 28, 2009 12:40 PM
Lingerie firm knits a better online strategy: Lida Orzeck's and Gale Epstein's Hanky Panky hopes to reinforce business with its new e-commerce site.

interview with the founders

Interesting tidbits reported about Hanky Panky:

"Founded in 1977, Manhattan-based Hanky Panky was the brainchild of longtime friends Lida Orzeck and Gale Epstein, who were inspired by a pair of handmade panties one had given the other as a gift. The duo launched Hanky Panky—with some financial help from their families—to give comfortable cotton underthings a place in the wider world of lingerie.

“At the time, it was a nylon world,” says Ms. Epstein.

Hanky Panky's big break came decades later, in June 2004, when The Wall Street Journal ran a front-page article on the company's signature lace thong."

On facebook

"The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has selected Hanky Panky’s original HANKY LINGERIE underwear and thongs for its permanent costume collection." (multiple sources)--although a search of the MOMA site does not turn up this item. Searching with google is not turning up much either, the only picture I could find of this item is on the company website.

Name Game: "In the 70’s,Hanky Panky emerged, creating intimate apparel constructed of fine embroidered cotton handkerchiefs – hence the company name." (source)

How-to make a handkerchief camisole (circa 1912)

SALES TRENDS: "Women's underwear sales, which include bras, panties and other undergarments, are expected to fall to $13.6 billion year this year from $14 billion in 2008, according to consumer research firm Mintel. Though the sector will recover eventually—sales are expected to top $14 billion again by 2012—retailers are pushing value over luxury."


Panty Raids at OSU
One e-mail was from a man whom Bryans said he thinks could have been a student during the panty raids of the 1950s and 1960s.
The panty raids were part of a period of time when the university had a lot of restrictions on students such as dress codes, curfews and behavioral manners.

“As people began to question the regulations, one of the things that was quite popular among campuses was for male students, usually with cooperation of female students, to raid their rooms and take a pair of panties as a sign of defiance that they were not abiding by the administration wishes,” Bryans said.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nipple Enhancers

Bodyperks nipple enhancers are designed as "the latest fashion accessory for your breasts. What are bodyperks?
They are lightweight, natural colored, silicone nipples that you insert into your bra and place directly on your own nipple. You can create your own look and wear them with tight t-shirts, sexy halters, dresses, twin sets, swimsuits and more."

I have also seen this item sold with vintage & retro-styled bullet bras.

Chantal Thomass & Random Finds (HOTmilk, historical tidbits)

Chantal Thomass' company page. It does play music.

Parisian Chic? try Chantal Thomass - "Before there was Madonna, there was Chantal Thomass. Chantal Thomass is credited for the trend “Dessous Dessus” (innerwear as outerwear) and is famous for cutting-edge, haute couture lingerie. Creative fabrics, bright colors, and fabulous trim (tulle, lace, ribbons, flounces) are her trademarks." (The source also promotes La Perla, Rien of France, and, for french panties on a budget, Monoprix, the ubiquitous French department store that is comparable to a Super Target.)

Brand name : Rien
Company : Rien que pour Elle Sarl
Nationality : Française
Address : 14, rue Gorge de Loup 69009 Lyon France
Phone : +33 (0)4 72 01 83 83
Fax : +33 (0)4 72 01 83 89
E-mail :
Website :

<a href="">Lingerie history</a>

French designer

Born: Chantal Genty in Malakoff, Seine, France, 4 September 1947. Family: Married Bruce Thomass, 1967; children: Louise, Robin. Career: Freelance designer selling to Dorothée Bis, 1966-71; partner, Ter et Bantine boutique, Paris, 1967, renamed Chantal Thomass, 1975; introduced lingerie and hosiery collections, 1975, maternity wear, 1981, children's clothing line, from circa 1982; signed partnership with World Co. for distribution, licensing, and boutiques in Japan, 1985; opened second boutique for clothing and household accessories, Paris, 1991; fired from namesake label, owned by World Co. of Japan, 1995; original label went into bankruptcy, 1996; acted as consultant to companies such as Victoria's Secret and Wolford, 1995-98; repurchased rights to her name from World Co. and relaunched label with backing from Sara Lee's Dim division, 1999; first U.S. trunk show, at Saks Fifth Avenue, 2001. Exhibitions: Chantal Thomass: 30 ans de Créations, Musée de la Mode, Marseille, 2001. Awards: Named Chevalier des Arts et Lettres. Address: 346 rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris, France.

Read more:


HOTmilk video advertising

S Lingerie is a site presenting lingerie web stores, brands, and news. They call themselves "The lingerie and swimwear portal" and present information in various languages--most recently, Polish.

Crazy Facts Corner
  • The amount of material it took to fully clothe a woman dropped by 80% between 1911 and 1922
  • A hoop skirt was believed to be "the *only* article of clothing which stands a chance of saving you from quicksand."
  • In Iowa it used to be illegal for a woman not to wear a corset.
  • Bra-wearers are getting younger. Twenty years ago, 12 and 13 year olds were bought teen bras, now eight and nine year olds are taking the plunge.
  • Today the biggest selling colour is white, while ivory and cream come a close second. Tea rose was a hot favourite from the Twenties right through to the Fifties.
  • In 1971 skin tones were bestsellers and were second favourites until about 5 years ago.
  • About 20% of sales are on fashion colours
I can't vouch for accuracy of these fun facts, but they seem valid enough, fitting in with other research done on this project.

Ancient History:

Greece: "Greek women were corseted. Under the Greek Chiton a leather band style corset was worn and this gave definition to the hips and bust. From birth, girls were swaddled. For six months their arms and legs were bound in swaddling cloths restricting their movement and keeping limbs straight. Adolescent Greek girls were forced to keep trim. Their Greek mothers used woollen bands to keep the developing body slim." (source, retrieved 25 Oct 2009)

Italy: "In 1935, Guia la Bruna’s grandfather founded a lingerie factory in Turin. The Guia la Bruna brand upholds the tradition till today, producing high quality intimate wear." In the 1954 "in Italy, a woman named Ada Masotti, a started making corsets for wealthy women, which led to the establishment of the La Perla company" (source, retrieved 25 Oct 2009)

Saturday, October 17, 2009


The Berlei company was a founding mother of Australian underwear for women.


Cinema clips from 1920-1950 taken from the Australian Film and Sound Archive.

"The National Film and Sound Archive holds around 90 Berlei cinema and television advertisements from the 1920s through to the 1990s. These advertisements include examples of silent and tinted film (like Berlei Camp-Berlei Foundation Garments: Physiological Support) as well as advertisements produced in the 1950s and 1960s for Berlei by Artransa Park Film Studios – a Sydney radio production house which went into television production in 1956.

Berlei’s cinema and television advertisements for its products over the course of the last century until today provide an important record of the development of women’s undergarments and corsetry over that time.

The common thread through all these advertisements is Berlei’s commitment to tasteful and comfortable lingerie and corsetry.


Tennis star Anna Kournikova was a celebrity model for Berlei in 2005. gallery

Company History

"Berlei foundation garments have a history dating back 1912 when Fred Burley founded Unique Corsets Limited with his brother Arthur. Berlei grew from a small store in Market Street Sydney where it offered ‘made to order’ corsets for discerning clientele. In 1919, Berlei Limited was born and since then the company expanded its product line into the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Today Berlei remains one of the most recognisable names in the manufacture and design of lingerie and underwear in Australia." (source)

From the Berlei corporate history page: "Burley conducted an anthropometrical survey of Australian women, the aim was to identify basic figure types so that ready made corsets might be designed to fit as if made-to-order."

From Wikipedia: "The brand originated in Australia in 1917. Berlei undergarments are now sold in Australia by Pacific Brands and in the United Kingdom by Courtaulds Textiles.

The name came from that of the firm's founder, Frederick R. Burley, who felt that his name as normally spelled was not appropriate to his products.--{side note:" [It is said that this name was chosen as a "French" version of the family name. The original form was not acceptable in refined circles, as in Australia burley is a slang term meaning to attract fish by scattering offal on the water around the fishing boat.]"}

Berlei Limited was one of the first Australian companies to expand outside Australia. Berlei (New Zealand) Limited was incorporated in 1923 and Berlei (U.K.) Limited was organised in 1930."

source "1926-27, Burley commissioned Sydney University to conduct the world's first large-scale systematic anthropometrical survey of the shape of women's bodies. This showed that women's figures could be grouped into five basic types, and led to the design of the Berlei Figure Type Indicator -- an inexpensive circular slide rule which could be used to quickly determine the correct fitting for any woman."

Undercover by Roadshow Home Entertainment. This Australian film actually tells the story of Berlei, one of Australia’s best known lingerie brands. The film was written by Miranda Downes and directed by David Stevens. Released on 11-Jul-2005.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


To distract myself from the empty house yesterday afternoon I slid a DVD of the James Bond vehicle Diamonds are Forever into the player. A treat of sexy lingerie immediately presented itself—Jill St John in sheer bikini panties did the trick. Before long the colorful bikinis and sheer fabrics started me wondering, “what is hidden around the internet to preserve lingerie fashion from 1971?”

In the picture above Jill St John portrays Bond Girl Tiffany Case.


  • Caprice Valerie Bourret (born October 24, 1971). Gallery.
  • Brooke Burke (born September 8, 1971). Gallery.

  • Luscious Lingerie and Swim Wear, by Ruth Mouzon (1971, Hardcover)
  • Author: Ruth Mouzon Publisher: Strode Pub Publication Date: 1971-06-01 Language: English Format: Hardcover ISBN-10: 0873970152 ISBN-13: 9780873970150


  • Dress and lingerie designer John Kloss (John Klosowski) was born in Detroit, Michigan 13 June 1937. Died: 25 March 1987
  • "Kloss used vivid colors like lemon yellows, greens, amethyst, and ruby in abstract shapes reminiscent of abstract expressionist paintings. Sophisticated, simple, clean designs were detailed with top stitching, tiny rows of buttons, simple edge trims, or tie closures. These nonstructured designs were adapted for lingerie and loungewear marketed by Lily of France and CIRA. Included were designs for nightgowns and bras, both seamless and underwired, again without superfluous lace trimmings. The most revolutionary of Kloss' designs came about as a reaction to the "ban the bra" movement in the 1970s. He designed a bra that appeared not to exist in 1974 for Lily of France, called the "glossie," which was made from stretchy, sheer, glittery material. The design was seamless, unconstructed, but underwired, so it provided support for those women who needed it, yet wanted the braless look. The "glossie" came in solid colors such as amethyst, indigo, ruby, and mocha. Kloss received two Coty awards, one in 1971 and another in 1974, for his lingerie designs."
    This original 1971 print ad for Bestform plays with the "no-bra" theme. It measures approximately 11" x 8" overall.

    gallery of patterns Joh Kloss created for Butterick in the 1970s and 80s. A gallery of John Kloss creations presented by Posh Vintage.
  • Josie Cruz Natori was born in Manila, Philippines, 9 May 1947.
  • “The stunning growth of Natori's empire is due to her vision. In the 1980s, she realized her lingerie was increasingly exposed by the women who purchased it, so she created publicly wearable garments inspired by her lingerie. The resulting neologist crossover category "innerwear-as-outerwear" was never her corporate slogan, though it might serve.” (cite)

film still from an ad for Dim lingerie directed by William Klein in 1971. Photo: Agence Publicis, 1971.
Advertising from a more modern era: Here is an article found while mashing up this post. It is about historical reactions to sexy bra advertising campaigns in the UK.
Reprinted historical article: Lingerie And The History Of Underwear (Originally published November 1933 )