Picture Marilyn Monroe, what do you see? Bleach Blonde Barnett, pouting over a New York City grid with the White William Travilla Cocktail Dress engulfing her in a flowing parade of pleats and soft ivory. Audrey Hepburn? The classic image of sophistication, pioneering the LBD in a contouring shift dress accented by black gloves and an abundance of pearls and diamonds fit for a Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Skip forwards a few decades and there’s Geri Halliwell, performing at the Brits in her infamous teeny-tiny Union Jack dress that effectively defined the nineties era.
A dress holds the ability to become iconic and encompass a generation of style in a single wear. From the movies, to the red carpet, to the stage, a graphic, cut, print or style can create just as much as a statement than a powerful speech or artistic masterpiece.
However the statement presented in our lingerie has the ability to turn heads in an instance, for all the right reasons of course.
Available before World War II the Bullet Bras popularity held off until the early 1950’s when it became the iconic shape for the rest of the decade, backed by onscreen stars like Pattie Page and Diana Dors who boasted the extreme silhouette. The Bullet Bra’s aim was too firmly put breasts centre stage, adding a cup size and directing a conical, pointy shape. Teamed under a tight sweater was the way to style it and Lana Turner became characterized by her acute contouring in the movie ‘They Won’t Forget’ coining her affectionate nickname ‘Sweater Girl’. The Bullet Bra is making a huge comeback with artists like Rihanna and Nicole Scherizinger wearing it as a statement accessory.
Bettie Page was renowned for being one of the first real poster girls to exploit her lingerie, in becoming the most notorious of pin-ups. Her sultry siren vibe opened up a sexual revolution, whilst her exemplary ebony bob, heavy fringe and fifties style continues to inspire the fashion and art packs to this day. Pages most notable lingerie ensemble was that off a bra constructed entirely by telephone dials and wires as an endorsement for ‘Confidential Advertising’. Her confidence and class created a Bettie Page phenomenon that as Hugh Hefner described made her ‘an iconic figure in pop culture who influenced sexuality, taste in fashion, someone who had a tremendous impact on our society.’ Although her work and images are now regarded as beautiful examples of early innovation in view of lingerie and fashion, at the time they were seen to be far too racy and were confiscated by police before Bettie was unfortunately became deeply embroiled for her pin-up photographs.
For 1950’s Playboy Pin-Up try a High-waisted brief and Balconette Bra like the Envy from Panache.
Amidst the swinging sixties and art, music and fashion have all kicked it up a gear with 1967 preaching ‘The Summer of Love’, backed by the timeless soundtrack off The Beatles Sergeant Pepper era and Twiggy at the height of her modelling career, the face of the decade. However, within cinema it was The Graduate that ranked the highest for the entire year and proved the breakthrough role for a very young Dustin Hoffman. The film retains some seriously bold scenes as the plot follows the infamous story-line off Benjamin Braddock a 21 year old college graduate being recklessly seduced by a family friend, Mrs.Robinson. The scene in which Mrs.Robinson fearlessly comes onto Hoffman has stuck out in cinema as a legendary piece of film culture and it can be argued that no way would it off been as powerful aesthetically without the sensual, black lace bra worn by Anne Bancroft as a tool of seduction. The Bra certainly did the trick.
Be seduced by black lace in the sensual style of the Dentelle by Elle Macpherson Intimates.
Fast forward a few generations and the Bullet Bra we previously encountered has been radically reinvented by Jean Paul Gautier for the globally successful ‘Blond Ambition Tour’ hosted by a continuously popular Madonna. Constructed in pink silk, Gautier revisited the cone shape and integrated the structure with a fitted corset to redefine the female form. The Madonna Cone Bra has been regarded as one of the biggest pieces of Pop memorabilia and recently grossed $52,000 at Christies Auction in London. An infamous look that reinforced Madonna’s status as a pop superstar.
The contouring of the Gautier in a day-time appropriate range, The Lois from Fantasie has vertical seaming and a fuller cup for fantastic shape all in a muted tone of pink.
Voted the most iconic image of all time and responsible for causing car crashes and road chaos, The Wonderbra ‘Hello Boys’ advertisement sparked a sensation when it was unveiled on billboards in 1994 and made a star of Eva Herzigova and her enviable cleavage. The classic black and white imagery and the minimal content spoke volumes as the iconic push-up Wonderbra sold by the truck load and influenced an inevitable influx in the return of the padded bra, backed by British Vogue.
Nothing quite compares to the original but the new and improved version from the pioneering lingerie gurus who started it all is a good comparison. The Full Effect Push-up Wonderbra in Lace.
It’s nearly the turn of the century and bubble-gum, cute, pop princess Britney Spears has just stepped out onto the scene in her ‘Baby one more time’ video which can only be explained as a teenage boy’s wildest fantasy. Her school-girl, outfit with exposed bra sent shock-waves through every high school across the world. Her outfit changes throughout the video featured her in a diverse range of school settings, each ensemble focuses around a bright, fun and flirtatious lingerie set. The outdoor dance routine showed Britney in her ‘athletic look’ white Adidas tracksuit bottoms styled with matching hot pink sports bras and boy shorts. It was later revealed that all consumers were bought from the local supermarket and the success wasn't at all expected.
Hot Pink and possibly the best sports bra on the market, The Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra is a practical and modern dupe for Britney’s school yard crop.
In the follow-up to her ‘I Kissed a Girl’ controversy/success Katy Perry made the headlines during her collaboration with Rap superstar Snoop Dog in the candy themed ‘California Gurls’ just when things were getting a little thin on the ground when it came to iconic lingerie and brassiere masterpieces, up pops Katy with the extraordinary ‘Cream Bra’. A fitted Cherry Red PVC number that squirted whipped cream out of a couple of mounted tin canisters. Not really ideal for your standard office job but probably wouldn’t go a miss if you worked at Costa?
Okay, I have no idea what would make an ideal substitute for this bad boy. All i can recommend is hitting up Tesco. Sorry.
Let me know your favorite bras and pop culture references, these are just a few but iconic pieces are forever being reinvented and remastered.