This week, we’re going to look at Conturelle: an exciting brand that includes some beautiful, high-quality bras and panties with thoughtful attention to detail and focus on comfort and practicality. What better way to understand Conturelle as a brand; their design philosophy and stringent focus on quality; than to take a look at the history of Conturelle? Take a look at its humble origins and the stellar success of this company to truly understand who Conturelle is today, and why it should be one of your favorite bra companies.
The Origin of Conturelle
Conturelle was started by Eugen J. Herbst and his wife in their home in 1885. As we learned in the History of the Bra series we ran, bras as we know them today didn’t even exist in 1885! Instead, Herbst and Conturelle made corsets; the lingerie in high demand by fashionable women of their time. Conturelle began in Herbst’s home in what is today the spa town of Rappenau, Germany.
Within five years, Conturelle had grown so rapidly that Eugen Herbst was no longer able run the operation out of his home. He moved into a new facility in Mannheim, Germany – where Conturelle is still based today!
Last year, Conturelle celebrated 125 years in business. And it all comes from the humble beginnings in Eugen J. Herbst’s home – before bras even existed – and the reputation Conturelle has built for creating high-quality lingerie.
In the early 1900s, corsets and tournures were beginning to become unpopular in some circles because they restricted the female figure, and were extremely uncomfortable for women to wear. The new corset style – the S-bend corset – emerged to force the tummy back and the bust forward. This was followed by the elastic girdle, which grew in popularity between 1910 and 1930. By 1928, Conturelle had grown dramatically as a company, and it employed 660 seamstresses at that point.
Between 1930 and 1950, the first uniform size system was introduced for bra cups. The bra finally became the prominent women’s undergarment in 1947, ousting the bodice for good. In spite of the economic turbulence surrounding the war periods, Conturelle managed to double its profits.
By 1950-1970, Conturelle already had a production line of 250 different styles for its German customers! Conturelle had also gone international; with collections for numerous international markets in over 50 countries. Throughout the decades, Conturelle continued to keep pace with demand, innovate based on current fashions and expand as a company.
Today, Conturelle is a worldwide family. All of Conturelle’s bras and panties are manufactured in factories that they own in Hungary and Poland. They own all the equipment, they own the buildings, they employ the seamstresses. Conturelle’s production isn’t outsourced to “inexpensive” providers to produce cost savings. Instead, the focus on quality has produced a successful bra and lingerie company that has 17 subsidiaries worldwide; employs over 1,100 people around the world; and has markets around the globe, including Australia, South Africa, the Middle East, and of course Europe, the United States and Canada.
In short, Conturelle has evolved from its humble beginnings in Eugen Herbst’s home into a global success story that provides women with beautiful, high-quality bras and panties. Are you excited about learning more about Conturelle this week? You’d better be, because we’ve got some compelling and informative details to share!