Journal Article

Streamlining Breasts: The Exaltation of Form and Disguise of Function in 1930s’ Ideals

Adrienne Berney

in Journal of Design History

Published on behalf of Design History Society

Volume 14, issue 4, pages 327-342
Published in print January 2001 | ISSN: 0952-4649
Published online January 2001 | e-ISSN: 1741-7279 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jdh/14.4.327
Streamlining Breasts: The Exaltation of Form and Disguise of Function in 1930s’ Ideals

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Ideals surrounding the breast at the turn of the twenteith century shifted in ways that epitomized the goal of industrial efficiency and reflected the essence of streamlining—the primacy of form and the disguise of function Although design historians have long acknowledged the influence of organic matter on the streamlined style, cultural historians have just begun to explore the interplay between technology and the presentation and perception of the human body Exploring the ways in which experts attempted to conceal both mechanical and bodily function through streamlining illuminates the cultural values this style represented.

While the machine served as the ideal for bodily function, popular culture applied the philosophy behind the design mode of streamlining to brests Prescriptive literature presented lactating brests as technology that could be manipulated into better performance or replaced by perfectible mass-manufactured products By the 1920s, medicine, new technology and fashion encouraged a singular ideal of youthful, or neutered, femminity During the ‘streamline decade’, undergarments coaxed breasts to conform to the fashion for ‘pointed roundness’ popularized by streamlined technology Ultimately, the ideal breast's aesthetics surmounted the significance of its potential nutritive function.

Keywords: advertising; breasts; fashion; history of technology; streamlining; women's history

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: History of Art ; Art Forms ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; Art Styles

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