When this ad ran in January 1910, corsets were the quintessential undergarment for fashionable women. Redfern touted their whalebone corsets were “practically indestructible” and “the most advanced in style and accurate in design.” (The Theatre: Illustrated Monthly Magazine of Dramatic and Musical Art, Vol. V, 1905) Redfern kept three storefronts in New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago, but made most sales by sending expert fitters, such as Miss McCauley mentioned in this ad, to fine retailers, such as L.S. Ayres & Co., across the country.
According to the trademark dilution case John Wanamaker Philadelphia v. Warner Bros Co., 29 F.2d 872 (Court of Appeals District of Columbia 1928), Warner Brothers (no, not Bugs Bunny’s Warner Bros.) used the word “Redfern” as a mark for their corsets since June 1, 1894. According to lore, some publications refused to print images of the Redfern Corset girl because they were “too erotic.” (Fields, Jill, An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality, page 181 (2007)) The Warner Brothers Company existed as a textile and apparel company until October 2012, when it was purchased by PVH, another American apparel company, for almost $3 billion in cash and stock. That’s quite a few corsets!!
Another fun fact? Redfern Corsets were advertised as the only corset at the Palais du Costum at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Fancy that!