Sunday, February 17, 2008

Olga history

I'm looking to find more history on the Olga lingerie company, and here's what I've found so far. Please let me know if you see anything amiss or want to add more information!

  • Olga Erteszek, founder
  • The company was one of the pioneers in designing comfortable, supportive undergarments and bras for fashionable women
  • Olga, as she was known professionally, is credited with several design innovations, including the seamless bra and the nightgown with a built-in bra. The nightgown evolved from a hospital stay for a slipped disk, she explained in an interview in The New York Times in 1966. She tested it during her convalescence, found it satisfactory and made it part of her line. It was an immediate success. ''This is comfort, security,'' she said at the time. ''This is hospital tested. I know.''
  • After years of "support" of woman's breasts, with sad irony, Olga succumbed to Breast cancer in 1989 at the age of 73.
  • The designer had immigrated to California from her native Krakow, Poland, in 1941 with her husband, Jan Erteszek, a lawyer. Shortly after arriving, they started a business with $10 and a rented sewing machine. Their first product was a lacy garter belt she had learned to make from her mother. Bullocks-Wilshire bought all the samples and the young couple were in business.
  • Between 1950 and 1973, Olga secured twenty-three patents for girdles, brassieres, and lingerie combinations, initially testing the designs on herself.
  • Many Olga styles have been in production for over 15 years
  • Sold in 1984 to Warnaco for $28 million
  • Style names: French Secret bras and girdles (1955-1960), Polonaise girdle (1950), Olga Sweet Flattery full figure & padded bras, Lure of Lace by Olga, The Perfectionist, Flowering Lace, Simply Perfect Olga, The Best of Everything, Simply Classic Olga, Body Tapestry, Sheer Tapestry, Secret Shapers, Invisible Shapers, What a Body, Shimmerlace, Sensuous Solutions Bodysilk, Reflections, Bodysilk Classics, Suddenly Smooth, Secret Hug *patented scoop design panties*, Body Contour
  • "Behind every Olga there really is an Olga" advertising campaign ran from 1964-1978
  • Olga appeared in advertisements for her own company as early as 1952