Sometimes a girl just needs a helping hand...and some double-sided tape to make it stay in place!

Sometimes a girl just needs a helping hand...and some double-sided tape to make it stay in place!

Hiya Swimwear and Lingerie friends.

Happy Totally Retro Tuesday! Are you ready for another rollicking good dissection of a vintage lingerie ad?

Me too. Let’s get to it then.

Perm-Lift Girdle Ad

Perm-Lift Girdle Ad

First things first, I don’t want to discuss the fact that the lovely illustrated young lady has the piggy-tales and childish delight of a 4 year old with the unnatural proportions of a modern day barbie doll. ick.

I don’t even want to discuss the fact that the name of the product, Perma-lift Girdles, would seem to imply lasting changes/effects from a temporary piece of clothing. Because we all know that companies and advertisers don’t lie do they? That’s just crazy talk.

Honesty in false advertising? Huh...intriguing.

Honesty in false advertising? Huh...intriguing.

Nope, I think the thing I am most interested in here, is the small pile of fall leaves that have been dumped at the bottom left, behind the box of text, and the apple on the head of the, modestly covered up, nude sculpture.

{Betcha didn’t think I was going to say the leaves were the most interesting thing right?}

Leaves first.

I kinda like this photo... what about you? Notice how the leaf is a deliberate element of the shot and not just there to support a random apple

I kinda like this photo... what about you? Notice how the leaf is a deliberate element of the shot and not just there to support a random apple

Why are there leaves here? Are we to believe that she is outside swinging around a girdle with joy while wearing just a bra and girdle…in the fall? What next…? Is she going to take a flying leap into that pile of leaves? Maybe burn the lawn to prepare it for winter? What’s the thinking here?

Juliana with Creepy Shadow

The background is all yellow, so maybe she isn’t outside but she IS being stalked by some really creepy shadows, both hers and the statue’s.

EEEEEK, Scary association of creepy shadows and lingerie.... Not good!

EEEEEK, Scary association of creepy shadows and lingerie.... Not good!

So, if she isn’t outside… wantonly dancing around in her unmentionables… what the heck are we supposed to think is going on?

Now the partially eaten apple on the sculpture’s head. Apples bring to mind Autumn, which nicely explains the leaves… but they are also a loaded image. They harken back to the age-old, “naughty woman” image from the Garden of Eden story. Which doesn’t seem quite right considering the innocent joy she seems to be taking in waving around her second girdle.

{How much fun does that sound right? Who hasn’t gone dancing around waving their shapewear like a flag in a parade? Any one? …oh okay, I guess she and I are the only ones then…}

How dreamy is this picture? My favourite kind of apple is a Honey Crisp...{personal fact}

How dreamy is this picture? My favourite kind of apple is a Honey Crisp...{personal fact}

Could a wanton temptress really be hiding beneath that naive surface? Nahhhhh, after all that would imply that their customers and target market were fallen women needing to be contained and covered up… oh wait.

So, since the naughtiness has already happened, everyone needs to cover up, hence the ridiculously modest manner of blocking off the tabboo bits of the sculpture with the girdle, the symbol of shame and covering.

The partially eaten apple would imply that the disobedience and breaking of the ‘rules’ has already begun. With me so far? No? That’s okay… It might be a reach… but then again. Why the heck is the apple there and half eaten?

But let’s be realistic, that couldn’t possibly be what the company was thinking about when they developed this ad right? In fact, we could make a nice little case for the apple as a symbol of the William Tell fable. We have the trusting dupe ready to be fired at by the slick professionals as they prove their power and skill.

Always trust the powerful ad-type Mad Men... they couldn't possibly have a patriarchical agenda could they?

Always trust the powerful ad-type Mad Men... they couldn't possibly have a patriarchical agenda could they?

Wait…maybe that isn’t any better…

Cheers,

Maggie