Throughout history the ubiquitous female breast has been exposed, exploited and envied. From the under dressed native women in the Polynesian islands to actress Jane Russell, for whom Howard Hughes is said to have designed a bra, the breast is a subject of interest. Those who do’t have them, want them. Those who have them, want them bigger.
Olivia de Haviland, star of “Gone With the Wind”, while living in France for a time, wrote a humorous book, “Every Frenchman Has One”. I read her book with interest because a cousin now lives in the house de Haviand resided in during the filming of “Gone With the Wind”.
Apparently the difference between the French and the American view of the bosom can be summed up this way: the American philosophy is of the Bosom Rampant, while the French subscribe to the principle “The Bust Trussed.”
This attitude became clear to her, expressed in the world of couture. She was faithful to the House of Dior as it went through a series of three head designers. She found it a question as to which one tried the hardest to flatten her bosom. Not permanently, just under a dress.
She wrote “The whole thing started at my first fitting on my first Dior dress. There I was standing in the fitting room, half undressed, in merely my stockings, my slip and my bust, and the next moment I was fully clothed and bustless. At first I couldn’t think where I’d gone to. Then I was struck rigid by the idea that some sort of instantaneous and lasting transformation had occurred and that I’d suddenly lost forever what is every girl’s pride. Springing out of my paralysis and into action, I looked frantically down m,y decollete to see what had happened to me. Fortunately I was still there, both of me. But bound and gagged. By a framework of net and bone. The dress’s basic foundation.
“You mustn’t think, here, that I have one of those overexuberant superstructures that really needs lashing to the decks to keep it from going overboard. No, no not at all. It is, rather the sort that you might call appropriate, quite becoming, so it’s been said. Neat but not gaudy. But try as I may, I have never been able to convince the French that the American way is better, and they have always won the War of Containment.
“Of course, I know just as well as you do, that back home in the States, if a girl’s got a delicate, elfin 32, she has no chance but to commit suicide. If she has a tender, swelling 34, she can however, enter a nunnery. If hers is a warm and promising 36, there’s hope. On the other hand, with a cummbersome 40, Hollywood is bound to find her. And with anything over 42, national adulation is assured.”
“But I must say I do look darn well dressed. And I’m beginning to accept the French notion that a girl’s bust is really more important when she’s got her clothes off tan when she’s got them on.’