Spirella Catalogues 1970's

 

The following images are taken from the last two catalogues ever to be produced by Spirella. For the the following years, until Spirella was sold to Spencer in 1988, the corsetieres had to rely on these catalogues and examples from older catalogues. Poorly photocopied notices, mainly announcing discontinued designs were all the poor corsetieres received to help them sell their wares.

The catalogues from which these scans were made are undated, however, the style is very much late 1970's. They may have been issued as late as 1981, however, the photographs and models are definitely from a few years before. One of the catalogues that belonged to an ex-corsetiere is covered in annotations such as "not available", "discontinued" or "not available in black". The world of corsets as a fashionable garment had ended. Indeed, the very mention of the word 'corset' is abandoned in favour of 'laced foundation'.

I hope this electronic catalogue will help researchers who have been confused by Spirella's numbering system. Over the years, there were many more garments of which a good selection are to be found on the pages devoted to specific foundations.

Made-to-Measure

The made-to-measure foundations (left) comprised brassieres (called bandeaus by Spirella until 19**), corsets, girdles and corselettes. Each of these generic garments has a page with descriptions in far more detail. 

 Title page and back cover

  Corsets

  Corsets

  Girdles

  Brassieres

Coppelia

In the late 1960's, Spirella could see that made-to-measure placed an unacceptable financial burden on many women. A cheaper alternative (adopted by many foundation houses) was to stock a large variation and combination of sizes, thus assuring optimal fit for Mrs. 'Not-too-far-from-average', and hopefully her daughter.

 

 

Spirelettes

The daughters, however, were not impressed and the Spirelettes were developed to appeal (on a best fit basis) to a younger clientele. This was successful as long as Mummy or Daddy paid the bills, but the High Street stores marketed merchandise almost as good as Spirella and far cheaper.