The story of an exceptional French Maison
Corsetry Swimwear Couture since 1884
INSPIRED BY WOMEN
The history of lingerie is fascinating as it lies right at the heart of changes in society, morals and fashion. Throughout its 130-year history, designs created by Maison Lejaby and its illustrious predecessors Rasurel and Lejaby have been there for women in their quest for freedom. Today, this exceptional brand expresses the ultimate in beauty and well-being; the very incarnation of 'The spirit of French couture'.
2012... Rebirth with Maison Lejaby
Conscious of the history of Lejaby and Rasurel, with their unfailing spirit of innovation and design, the former head of La Perla Alain Prost took over the company and renamed it Maison Lejaby. The brand launched three collections: Elixir, Main Collection and Couture. Maison Lejaby Couture was the first luxury collection to be hand-made in France.
The ambition of this enthusiastic, dedicated man arose from the new 'The spirit of French couture' tagline: "To establish Maison Lejaby as the leading French luxury lingerie brand, redesign corsetry and swimwear as a true art and embody the ultimate in beauty and well-being for women." Building on its strong identity, Maison Lejaby breathes its Couture Spirit into the world's biggest fashion capitals from Paris to Shanghai, not forgetting London, Milan and Moscow.
2000 - 2010... Globalisation and delocalisation
With the launch of increasingly innovative and no doubt overly technical corsetry patents, the brand hit difficult times. Globalisation was to blame, as well as the fact that Lejaby and Rasurel had been bought out by American names Warnaco followed by Palmers. Both entities were soon to merge. The brand lost the very heart of its existence: innovation and expertise! Management focused on financial performance and profit, to the detriment of creativity. Customers began to snub the brand.
1990... Exceptional growth
Extreme sophistication was followed by a new minimalism for lingerie, pioneered by Lejaby with its seamfree microfibre underwear known as 'invisibles'.
The exceptional success of the Nuage range, with 15 million sold, was to become its swansong. Maurice Bugnon died and the managers found themselves alone at the helm.
1980... A crescendo of growth
The trend was for glitz and glamour, but Lejaby's choice of red for the Jubilee lace range was daring. Now more sophisticated, lingerie became a powerful symbol of femininity with details such as guipure lace, another Lejaby innovation, which looked fabulous on rounded cleavages. With Isabelle Adjani as the face of Lejaby, Rasurel reached a new record in the history of swimwear: 1,500,000 items sold in one year!
1970... Rasurel and Lejaby join forces
The pair also bought the Rasurel brand, retaining the swimwear division only. Rasurel and Lejaby shared the same factory at Rillieux-la-Pape, near Lyon. But bad times lay ahead for corsetry. Rasurel employed the great Italian stylist Popy Moreni, who was to raise the profile of the brand to the dizzy heights of the most renowned names in French ready-to-wear. Lejaby helped liberate women by offering a triangle-shaped bra in zesty colours, which it named Liberty. A revolution!
The 1960s... Freedom, creativity and international success!
Women were liberated. Brigitte Bardot inspired a sexier style and became the icon for a generation. Marcel Blanchard died in 1960. Maurice and Charles Bugnon, two brothers with a background in the cosmetics industry, bought Lejaby and quickly extended distribution internationally. Their stroke of genius was to negotiate the exclusive use of Lycra in France. Created in 1965, the Miss Top bra heralded the rise of stretch fabrics. Over 3 million were sold.
The 1950s... The rise of Lejaby
New fabrics (polyester, polyamide, acrylic, etc.) brought ready-to-wear to the fore and gave underwear a more feminine feel. Shortly after Gaby's death, Marcel Blanchard opened a design salon in Paris. It was to produce voluptuous négligées and various basques, briefs and suspenders. The staunch feminist and illustrator Gruau was already behind the brand's advertising campaigns, and now it had a hard-hitting slogan: Lejaby, une ligne du tonnerre (Lejaby, a sensational range). It was a huge success! Lejaby took off both in France and abroad.
1930... The myth of the femme fatale and the birth of Lejaby
Whilst the 1930s saw a return to classicism, it was also the era of the femme fatale. Marlène Dietrich captivated audiences when she appeared in stockings and suspenders in the film The Blue Angel. Among her admirers were Marcel and Marguerite Blanchard, owners of a small cinema in the French département of Ain, along with Marguerite's sister Gabrielle who was known as 'Gaby'.
Swept away by this glamour, she began to sew lingerie and bras that her brother-in-law had made. 'Bras by La Gaby' were renowned in the area. The brand was named after her in 1930 and Lejaby was born.
1927 - 1930, the first major successes for Rasurel
In 1927, he created the very first brand of swimwear, which proved to be a phenomenal success due to sensational advertising campaigns, magazine coverage and adverts painted on the fronts of houses along holiday routes.
1920... The roaring twenties
All-in-ones, dresses, corsets and mini-briefs became popular with elegant women in the twenties, this period also saw the first bra innovations arrive in France.
Next to join the company was Félicie's eldest son Pierre Neyron, a feminist. His aim, and achievement, was to revolutionise the brand. With the development of new materials such as 'rayon' and 'tergal', he launched into sports clothing.
1884… Origins with Rasurel
First came the discovery of a natural insulating material, hailed by the tireless inventor Louis Neyron as being antiseptic. He designed a range of underwear and joined forces with his friend Doctor Rasurel who was to lend his name to the original Lejaby brand. Breeches, slippers and knee pads were a big hit with millions of Frenchmen. After Louis's death in 1917, his wife Félicie de Champollon launched Tanagra, the first range of women's lingerie by Rasurel.