Diana Dors, Britain's answer to Marily Monroe. Sexy, sultry and with a pneumatic figure to die for. The animated character Jessica Rabbit is based on Diana Dors in So Long as They're Happy. Some snaps have been included because it REALLY annoys me when folk say Jessica Rabbit was based on Marilyn Monroe.
What is noticeable about this production is the red lame dress with the ever so pointy bust cups. The start of this trend can be traced back to a post world war Britain, where everything was in short supply- including fabric for undergarments.
There was however a surplus of wood from propellers, hummm, what to do? These were used to create thousands of shoe trees, but when demand dropped a clever but largely forgotten inventor came up with the idea of the Excup. This cunning device acted as the Wonderbra of the day. Two inverted shoe trees formed the basis of the system, on which the bust was supported. These jutted straight out at a 90 degree angle- hence the torpedo shape, just like a shoe tree.
The client was firstly measured up- a chart with bust size/foot ratio then gave the correct fitting. The shoe trees or Excups as they became known were then attached to a foundation garment which had a series of adjustable straps. These could be raised or lowered depending on the occasion. High for a dance, middling for a country walk and low for a funeral. Strict social codes were adopted- rather like Victorian mourning codes. To create a slightly exaggerated bounce, and inch of spring was left on the shoe tree.
The Excup was not without its problems, chiefly the unreliable and complex system of webbing, which had a nasty habit of self tightening, usually on one side only. This in turn meant that the opposite side would slacken off. The result? Some very nasty accidents- some of which ended in tragedy.
The Excup eventually gave way to the Whirl Pool Brassiere- a much safer option it seems. Though many who lived through the era remember the pleasures of being trussed up in an Excup!