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Lingerie Lore: Cadolle

Lingerie Lore: Cadolle

 

Treasure Hunt

 

As told by Dee Salomon
Illustration by Blue logan
Exclusive for oui hours gmt

 

In the early 90’s, I used to go to flea markets and buy amazing things – I had a great eye for vintage Balenciaga, Norell and other fine garments. I was lucky too. I would fly to Paris and sell them to Didier Ludot at the Palais Royale, and that would pay for my trip.

 

I had always coveted Cadolle lingerie and finally one day I found a one-of-a-kind sexy black bra at the Chelsea market; the kind Lauren Bacall would have worn. It was Cadolle, it was perfect, even though it didn’t fit me. The style is particularly special because it’s cut in a way that the support is designed into it, no wires or pads – just pure architecture.

 

It’s been in my lingerie drawer for 30 years and I’ve taken it with me everywhere, from home to home, as a totem to great style and reminder of what I’m looking for. A few years ago, I went to Paris with the love of my life and he took me to the original location of Maison Cadolle on Rue Cambon next to Chanel. After five generations, a great great granddaughter of Hermine Cadolle (said to be the inventor of the bra) had opened a shop that was open to the public. Before then, the atelier had relocated, it was by appointment only and I never could work it in on a quick trip. I was thrilled; finally, the hunt would be over. A woman came to the door and I told her my story. I wanted her to alter it or sell me a new one that would fit me. Instead she said, “I know this bra and we used to have it. In fact, we’ve had a customer in Texas who ordered four a year, but no longer. We can’t find anyone to do the stitching anymore, it’s a lost art.”

 

I looked around and nothing could replace my favorite bra. Rob was charmed by the shop and we agreed that the romance was in the story of my bra’s journey back to Paris. When we got home, I put my favorite bra back in my drawer. I still take it out to try every once in a while and ponder the lost art of brassiere making.

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