[문화] [캐트야 포어맨] 브래지어: 희망을 주는 이야기
고대 그리스까지 거슬어 올라가며 브라처럼 생긴 속옷들을 모두 살펴본다 해도
최초 브래지어가 발명된 떄가 언제인지 확실히 밀하는 것은 불가능한 일이다.
가장 혁명적이라고 할 수 있었던 브라 중에는 루디 게른라이히가
1964년 선보인 브라도 있었다.
마돈나는 금발머리 야망의 세계 순방 중 콜셋에 내장되어있으면서 장 폴이 디자인한
좀 과장된 브라를 뽐냈었다.
브라 탄생 100주년을 기념하여 로렌 빌런이 제작한 세계에서 가장 큰 브라가 전시됐다.
에바 헤라고지가 등장하는 1990년대의 유명했던 광고.
고대 그리스에서부터 현대에 이르기까지 브래지어는 형태, 기능 및 사회적 맥락에서 많은 변화를 겪어왔다. 카트야 포어맨이 평가를 해 본다.
여성 속옷 계의 여왕 챈틀 토머스가 젊었던 시절 브라를 반대했다는 사실을 생각하는 것은 재미있다. 브라는 수십년 동안에 걸쳐 사회적 맥락과 여자들의 신체에 대한 관점이 변하는 가운데 시시각각 찬성과 반대의 대상인 내의였다. “페미니즘이 1960년 대 등장하면서 우린 브라를 벗었다. 그 당시는 히피 식이었던 기간이었으며 우린 속에 아무 것도 업는채 티셔츠만 입었고 가슴을 다 드러낸채 해변에 가곤 했다. 이젠 더 이상 가슴을 드러낸 채 아무도 해변에 가지 않는다”고 1970년대 패션의 일부로 속웃 개념의 선구자였던
붉은 입술에 까만 단발머리의 우상과 같았던 프랑스 디자이녀는 말한다.
“난 패션쇼가 열리는 주에는 브라를 착용했는데 이것은 우리가 브라를 어떻게 벗었는지를 말해 준다”
그 당시, 가터(스타킹 등이 내려가지 못하게 잡아주는 것)와 발코니 브라(컴 높이가 절반 밖에 안되는 것)와 같은 섹시한 속옷을 구경할 수 있는 유일한 장소는 프랑스 홍등가 피갈 이었는데 ‘찐득찐득 달라붙는 섬유를 입는 것’이었다. 속옷은 기능적인 것으로 여겨졌다고 토머스는 말하는데, 그의 고문서에는 1920년 대와 30년대의 색과 섬유 그리고 자수를 절묘하게 혼합한 섬세하면서도 균일한 모양의 여성적인 시대의 디자인의 특색이 보인다. “그 당시로 되돌아가 보면 여러분은 아름다운 수제품들을 할 수 있었는데 요즘은 브라가 너무 비싸다”며 ‘가슴을 받쳐주고’ 가슴에 브라를 입혀 잘 보이게 함으로써 가슴을 우리가 받은 세습재산의 일부로 만드는 것이 전통이라고 간주하는 디자이너는 한탄한다. “정도의 차이는 있을 지언정, 유럽에선 이런 전통이 중세시대까지 거슬러 올라간다. 가슴을 받쳐주는 것은 확실히 우리 문화의 일부이어왔다”고 토머스는 ‘BBC문화‘프로그램에서 말한다. “내가 아시아의 노브라 문화를 여행할 때 그들이 속옷에 매료되는 것을 보면서 역시 브라는 유럽의 전통이라는 생각만이 떠오를 뿐이었다. 19섹 아시아 여자들은 섬유로 자신의 가슴을 감싸고 있었는데 그들은 브라를 차 본적이 한 번도 없었으며 브라는 그곳에선 완전히 새로운 것이었다”
‘브라’ - 프랑스어 브래지어를 줄인 말이며 말 그대로 ‘드레스의 상체부분 및 어린이의 조끼-는 만들어진 과정이 복잡하다. 초창기 브라 -너무 부피가 크고, 너무 공을들인 복잡한 것이거나 ’협곡을 붙잡아 주는 것‘이었으며 베트미들러의 풍자적인 노래 ’오토 팃슬링(징미유 젖꼭지를 붙잡아 주는 것)라는 말을 인용할 정도 -들은 오늘날의 세련되고 고급기술 및 고탄력 브라들과는 전혀 동떨어진 세계의 것이었다. ‘업맆트;라는 책 내용을 발췌해 보면: 미국의 경우 1930년 대가 대규모의 브라 생산이 시작되던 시기였다. “성숙한 고객들과 가슴이 주렁주렁 매달린 듯한 모든 연령대의 여자들에겐 긴 끈이 달린 브래지어, 위로 올려주는 것, 컵 밑에 튼튼한 줄이 있는 것, 컵 사이에 쐐기 모양의천을 삽입한 것, 넓은 브래지어 끈, 강력한 고무심이 들어간 실과 가벼운 뼈대 등의 것이 제공됐다” 이 두꺼운 책에 따르면, 가슴의 ’크기와 주렁주렁 매달린 정도‘라는 크기의 척도를 A~D(가슴의 규모로서 오늘날엔 무한대로 뻗어나감)라는 앨퍼빗으로 선구자 적으로 분류한 것은 SH캠프와 회사였다. 이렇게 되기 전까지 “회사들은 다른 깊이의 가슴들을 수용할 컵의 확장성에 의지했었다“
“그 브라는, 작은 섬유조각으로 만들어졌고 다른 크기의 컵을 고려하여 아주 많은 치수가 있었다. 그 브라는 매일 빨래가 가능한 의복이었으며 이음새와 구조가 극도로 강할 필요가 있었다. 그 브라는 의류 조각과는 매우 다른 것이었으니: 피부와 직접적으로 접촉하기에 대단히 확실할 필요가 있었다“고 코머스는 설명하면서 1980년대 사업규모가 커졌을 때 라이크러(신축성이 좋은 인조섬유)가 산업에 미쳤던 영향력을 회상했다. ”라이크러는 새로운 편안함과 디자인의 여러 가능성을 가져왔다. 난 언제나 속옷 속에 들어있는 바거스의 그림을 좋아했었는데 제2의 피부처럼 보이는 라이크러가 있었기에 모두 가능한 일이었다.
현대의 오늘날 브라는 흔히 콜셋의 계승자처럼 제시되기도 하는데 이런 생각은 가끔 이의제기를 받는다. 2008년, 오스트리아 성을 파보는 기간 동안 고고학자들은 너덜너덜해진 브라 4개를 발굴했는데 현대의 그것과 거의 비슷한 형태였다는 것은 주목할 만한 일이다. 닭이 먼저냐 달걀이 먼져냐 식의 논쟁이 뒤따랐다.
The bra: An uplifting tale
| 20 February 2015
By Katya Foreman
From Ancient Greece to the modern day, the brassiere has undergone many incarnations in form, function and social context. Katya Foreman sizes it up.
It’s amusing to think that in her youth, lingerie queen Chantal Thomass was anti-bra. It’s an undergarment that over the decades has fallen in and out of favour in line with changing social contexts, fashions and views on the female body. “With the advent of feminism in the 1960s we removed our bras. It was the hippie period and we’d wear T-shirts with nothing underneath, and go topless on the beach. Nobody goes topless on the beach anymore!” says the iconic red-lipped, black-bobbed French designer who in the ‘70s pioneered the concept of lingerie as a fashion accessory. “I put it on the catwalk during fashion week and that’s how it took off.”
At the time, the only place one could find sexy lingerie like garters and balcony bras was in Pigalle, Paris’s red light district, “in tacky fabrics”. Lingerie was considered functional, says Thomass, whose archive features designs from more feminine periods, such as delicate, flat styles from the 1920s and ‘30s in “exquisite colour mixes, fabrics and embroideries”. “Back then you could do beautiful handmade designs, today it’s too expensive,” laments the designer who regards the tradition of “breast support” and dressing or showcasing the breasts as “part of our patrimony”. “In Europe the tradition stretches back to the Middle Ages, though to varying degrees – supporting the breasts, for sure, has always been part of our culture,” Thomass tells BBC Culture. “It only really hits me when I travel to Asia where they have no bra culture, and see how fascinated they are by the undergarment. In the 19th Century in Asia women still [wrapped fabric around] their breasts; they have never worn bras, it’s completely new over there.”
The bra – short for the French word brassiere, literally 'bodice, child's vest' – is complex in fabrication. Early designs – often bulky, elaborate contraptions, or “boulder holders”, to borrow a phrase from Bette Midler’s satirical song Otto Titsling – were worlds away from today’s sophisticated, high-tech, high-stretch bras. An excerpt from the book Uplift: The Bra in America describes the scene back in the 1930s, the decade in which the large-scale production of bras began. “Mature customers and women of all ages with large pendulous breasts were offered long-line brassieres, built-up backs, firm bands under the cup, wedge-shaped inserts of cloth between the cups, wide straps, power Lastex and light boning.” According to the tome, it was SH Camp and Company that pioneered the chart relating the “size and pendulousness” of breasts to letters of the alphabet, A to D (a scale that today stretches to infinity). Prior to that, “companies had relied on stretchable cups to accommodate different depths of breast”.
“It’s a highly technical garment, made of lots of tiny pieces of fabric, with so many sizes to consider for the different cups, etc. It’s a garment you wash every day, so the seams and structure need to be extremely robust. It’s very different from a piece of clothing; it’s in direct contact with the skin, it needs to be super solid,” Thomass explains, who recalls the impact Lycra had on the industry when it became big in the 1980s. “It brought new comfort and design possibilities. I had always loved Vargas’s paintings of pin-ups in underwear as the pieces looked like second skin and we were only able to do that when Lycra came along.”
It’s impossible to pinpoint when the bra was first invented, with early depictions of bra-like garments going back all the way to ancient Greece. The modern-day bra has often been presented as a successor to the corset, though the theory is sometimes challenged. During a dig at an Austrian castle in 2008, archaeologists unearthed four tattered bras remarkably similar to the undergarment’s modern form. A chicken-or-the-egg-style debate ensued.
“Evolution sometimes takes a break,” argued Beatrix Nutz, an archaeologist and researcher at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, in smithsonianmag.com. “The Greek mathematician and geographer Eratosthenes (276 BC–195 BC) knew our planet was a globe and even calculated its circumference, but throughout the Middle Ages people believed it to be a flat disc. Bras are certainly not even remotely as important as the actual shape of the earth, but they were obviously invented, went out of fashion, were forgotten, and supposed to be invented (again) in the late 19th Century.” Nutz also cited two earlier written sources referencing what could be perceived as early versions of the bra. “The French surgeon Henri de Mondeville (1260-1320) reported what women whose breasts were too large did. They ‘insert two bags in their dresses, adjusted to the breasts, fitting tight, and put them into them every morning and fasten them when possible with a matching band,’” she said, adding: “An unknown German poet of the 15th Century wrote in his satirical poem, ‘Many make two breastbags, with them she roams the streets, so that all the young men that look at her, can see her beautiful breasts.”
Storm in a D-cup
According to Colleen Hill, associate curator, accessories, at The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and organiser of the recent exhibition Exposed: A History of Lingerie, Cadolle, one of France’s oldest lingerie houses, was “certainly incredibly influential in introducing the bra as we know it today”. Indeed on its website the brand lays claim to the bra’s invention, attributing it to house founder Herminie Cadolle, “a feminist and revolutionary”. “At the end of the 19th Century, during the Belle Epoque, she chose to liberate women by liberating their bodies of the corset… She came up with this ever so small, tiny thing that today goes by the name of the bra.”
The bra in question, launched in 1889, was essentially a two-piece corset “which would have allowed for a little more freedom,” explains Hill. “As we move into the early 20th Century the bra very much corresponds to the idea of women leading more functional lives; if you’re abandoning your corset for perhaps a more flexible girdle and a separate bra, that’s something that’s not only giving you a more modern silhouette, it’s also certainly allowing you a lot more flexibility and movement and corresponds to a more modern lifestyle.”
Billed as the first sheer bra, the minimalist, unstructured design was a radical departure from the heavy, torpedo-shaped brassieres of the 1950s. While researching her show however, Hill unearthed evidence of an earlier example. “I was going through a trade magazine from the late 1940s that was focused on corsets, bras and lingerie and I found a kind of early version of a bra made from see-through fabric,” she recalls. “And the reason it stood out from the text and all of the illustrations in this fairly dense magazine was that the original owner of the magazine had circled the illustration and drawn a line up to the top of the page and written ‘Disgusting!’.”
“I had researched previously Rudi Gernreich’s ‘no-bra’ bra, and how it was a success and sales for that bra were good, it made quite a big impact and you can see that very well into the 1970s, even today, so obviously people were ready for that style in the 1960s but not so much in the 1940s… It really was about making a statement about the acceptance of women’s bodies.”
Game of cones
Thirty years later, Madonna famously re-appropriated the bra – once rejected by feminists as a symbol of repression – to express her own statement on female sexuality and empowerment. On her Blonde Ambition World Tour, the singer sported corsets with exaggerated in-built conical bras by Jean Paul Gaultier who throughout his career has played on the concept of underwear as outerwear. “It’s provocative but it’s also really sexy and playful,” says Hill. “I loved reading about Gaultier’s interest in corsets and girdles and how that relates back to his childhood when women weren’t really wearing foundation garments like that and when he saw these pieces in his grandmother’s closet, he thought they looked so antiquated and strange. The idea of changing that into an item of fashion is really quite fun.”
Similarly, Wonderbra’s controversial 1994 Hello Boys advertising campaign, photographed by Ellen von Unwerth and starring Eva Herzigova, her cleavage thrust into view with aid from the bra’s padding and underwire construction, played on the idea of women embracing their sexuality. The Czech-born model insisted the campaign was “empowering”, according to a report in the Evening Standard.
Whether anti- or pro-bra, the popular association between feminism and the act of burning bras is a myth, according to Hill. “It relates back to the Miss America protest in 1968. The women who were protesting the Miss America Pageant had what they called a freedom trash can in which they threw a number of things; it wasn’t exclusively bras and girdles – though those made their way in – it was also high heeled shoes and cosmetics and women’s magazines. However there was no actual burning. I think there was one person in all of history who claimed, yes, they burned them but most people say it was more of a symbolic burning; it was throwing all these things into the trash can but, because of fire codes, nothing was actually burned.” Like Thomass, who started out celebrating the freedom of going braless and ended up embracing the undergarment as the symbol of absolute femininity, perceptions continue to shift about this ever-evolving design with multiple personalities and __EXPRESSION__s.
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