A detail of Horst P. Horst‘s famous (and fantastic) photo for Mainbocher

Let’s us all take a moment to give thanks for Lycra.

According to the Lycra website, before the miracle stretch fiber was invented (by “a team of scientists” at DuPont), “consumers endured saggy, baggy, stretched and bunched clothes.”

They forgot to include “pain” and “disfigurement” in that list.

I recently stumbled across these haunting x-ray images from a 1908 book called “Le Corset” (thank you TheHairpin.com andDangerousMinds.net for the tip!).

Although beautiful–in a macabre sort of way, the images show how far turn-of-the-century women were willing to go for fashion. Can’t say I’d do the same now. And fortunately, thanks to those DuPont scientists, I don’t have to.

Lycra fun fact: When Lycra was invented, it was given the code name K.

Lycra business fact (impress your friends at parties): In 2004, Koch Industries Inc. acquired Lycra when it bought the DuPont’s Invista division.

And now, the x-rays…


Published on Feb. 25, 2011 at