“Don’t dream it…Live it.”
Frederick’s of Hollywood motto
Before the baby boomer sexual revolution, there was the risque revolution.
In 1947, Frederick’s brought “naughty” European frilly black panties to staid white cotton American women. It debuted the padded bra—dubbed “Rising Star,” then introduced the first push-up model and created a pointed, cone-stitched wonder called “Missiles.”
The advertising shattered taboos and became soft-core classics. Provocative, curvaceous women in skimpy teddies, exotic cat suits, harem costumes, and see-through lingerie popped up everywhere—strutting a fine line between sexy lady and streetwalker. Both were customers.
With looks based on male fantasies, Frederick’s also pitched men’s publications, especially at Christmas. “You get my ties and socks, honey, why can’t I pick your panties and pumps?”
Hollywood starlets gobbled up the products. Mae West and Marilyn Monroe showcasing Frederick’s fashions sold a lot of negligees. Baby boomers were coming-of-age. The best promotion was a gift by feminists who burned bras in front of the gaudy pink and purple Frederick’s Hollywood headquarters, attracting media attention and spiking sales, which were beginning to lag.
Guess who brought the bold French bikini to the New World and introduced American women to the scandalous Brazilian thong? Fredericks also launched the front-hook (easy to open) bra, shoulder pad bras, and an array of never-before-imagined body shapers. Feel short even with 6 inch pumps? Combine with a “head pad” and scrape the clouds.
With all its profitable adventure, the company had a sense of history, establishing a Celebrity Lingerie Hall of Fame. Some sizzling items (the tip of the bustier):
♀ A fur trimmed negligee and bra worn by Cybil Shepard in “Moonlighting”
♀ Peg Bundy’s “Married With Children” D-cup model
♀ A pair of Zsa Zsa Gabor’s black lace panties and two Cher bras (size 32B) from their private collections
♀ A black and gold tassel bustier that adorned Madonna in the “Who’s That Girl?” Tour
♀ Phyllis Diller’s “training bra” marked “This Side Up!”
♀ ♂ And to even out the presentation: undies from female and male cast members of “Beverly Hills 90210,” Tom Hanks’ “Forrest Gump” boxer shorts, a Milton Berle bra donned during his famous transvestite performances on television, and the support strapped around drop-dead- gorgeous-either- way Tony Curtis for his cross-dressing role in “Some Like It Hot.”
A bankruptcy, a re-organization, a merger and Frederick’s is still going strong with 124 locations and a formidable online presence.
The Hollywood Museum was looted during urban disturbances in 1999. The one-of-kind treasures lost included an historic Madonna tassel bra. When a $1000 no-questions-asked reward went unheeded, the diva generously provided a new one in return for a $10,000 donation to clinics offering free mammograms to the poor.
The company unveiled two new styles in 1998—Hollywood Kiss using all-around wishbone construction to create a “kissing cleavage” and the unique Water Bra featuring push-up padding filled with a rosewater/oil mixture.