Sunday, 10 May 2009

Illustrated Book Of The Week -Frederick's of Hollywood Catalogue (1968)

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Before Heidi Klum strutted down the catwalk in 7 foot wings and a g-string for Victoria's Secret, before Kate Moss posed as a burlesque dancer for Agent Provocateur - there was only one place to buy sexy lingerie - Frederick's of Hollywood.

Founded in 1946 by the inventor of the push-up bra, Frederick Mellinger, Frederick's was the saucy little secret under many a housewife's daywear. Glamourised by its celebrity clientele, it offered underwear that was racy, seductive and unapologetically naughty, allowing women to get in touch with their inner Bettie Page (and forget their outer Doris Day). At its peak, Frederick's distributed more than 50 milllion catalogues per year.

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This fine example is from 1968. '68 was a turbulent time in America: the Vietnam war was in full swing, the civil rights movement was causing riots in the streets, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated and Nixon was elected. The Beatles produced the White Album, and Hair hit Broadway.

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Apparently Frederick's  was profoundly unaffected by the revolutions going on around them - Woodstock was less than a year away, and they were showing us opera length gloves and up-dos. Twiggy was a superstar, but they offered seven different ways of padding one's derriere to achieve a womanly curve - for example:

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Despite seeming anachronistic, even for its own time. The style of the catalogues and charm of their products still holds true. After all, who doesn't love a lilac transparent peignoir with a maribou trim?

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1 comment:

  1. AGREE.!! Frederick's of Hollywood is really one of the best places to buy sexy lingerie. Love the vintage catalog.

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